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Deadly Conduct Law in Texas

Posted on May 2, 2023 in

If you or a loved one has been charged with deadly conduct in Texas, you should immediately contact our Houston criminal defense attorney to represent you against this broad charge. Hiring a criminal defense attorney with experience, knowledge, and understanding of deadly contact offenses is the best way to protect your rights and ensure that this charge does not alter the course of your life.

Defining Deadly Conduct

The deadly conduct law in Texas is described as a specific type of assault incorporating particular elements. This conduct endangers someone else, putting them in jeopardy of suffering significant injuries. This behavior might include shooting in the direction of a person or people or towards a home, business, vehicle, or other building without prior knowledge of who, if anyone, might be inside.

It is best described as a weapon’s reckless, threatening, careless, or dangerous use. This charge might be applied to nearly any weapon, but it is typically used when firearms are the culprit. There are several types or degrees of deadly conduct that can be applied to discharging a firearm or using a deadly weapon recklessly.

The Danger of Harm

When weapons are pointed at others, or if guns are shot without considering where they will end up, someone could be hurt or killed. If someone shoots a gun or uses a weapon in a way that could end in someone else sustaining a physical injury or death, they are committing a deadly conduct offense and can be arrested.

Intention Counts

Not only does the danger of harming another person come into play, but the intent is also a component of a deadly conduct conviction. The intention does not have to be to commit murder or physical harm. It just means that you were waving around or brandishing your weapon as a form of intimidation.

Substantial Injuries

For the offense to be deadly conduct, the behavior must put someone else at risk of bodily harm or serious bodily injury. This means the person is at significant risk of the following:

  • Loss of life
  • Loss of function of a body part
  • Loss of a body part
  • Permanent disability
  • Permanent disfigurement

The other party does not have to sustain the injuries listed above but must have been in jeopardy of suffering them. If injuries or death did occur, the charges would be more stringent.

Penalties for a Deadly Conduct Charge

If convicted of a deadly conduct charge, the penalties can be steep. They will depend on the specifics of the incident, if injuries occurred, and the criminal history of the person charged. Deadly conduct charges can be very serious and charged as a third-degree felony or a misdemeanor.

Time in Jail or Prison

Convictions for deadly conduct charges considered Class A misdemeanors can mean the defendant may spend up to a year in jail. While more significant sentences apply to third-degree felonies. For a felony offense, the defendant will serve at least two years in prison but with the potential to serve up to ten years behind bars.

Financial Penalties

Aside from time in jail or prison, if convicted of a deadly conduct charge, you can also assume you will receive a hefty fine. Fines typically start at $4,000 but can increase to $10,000 if the crime is severe enough to warrant it. Sometimes, the conviction does not carry a prison sentence, only a fine.

Time on Probation

There is a chance that a deadly conduct charge can see the defendant spending 12 months or more on probation. When placed on probation, there are strict regulations the court expects the probationer to abide by. Some of these conditions are listed below:

  • Assignment of a probation officer
  • Home or car can be searched on-demand
  • Not allowed to possess firearms

By breaching these or other court-assigned rules, the probationer could be convicted of committing more crimes and breaking their probation terms, resulting in jail time.

Seek Legal Assistance Today

If you’re facing a deadly conduct offense, it’s in your best interest to have experienced legal representation beside you throughout the process. Understanding your rights and options can mean the difference between time behind bars, hefty fines, and restrictive probationary periods. Contact the Law Office of David A. Breston today to begin mounting your best defense.