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What is Aggravated Assault in Lubbock, Texas?

Aggravated Assault

In Lubbock, Texas, assault occurs when a person intentionally and consciously threatens or causes bodily harm. Aggravated assault takes assault further and occurs when a person displays or uses a deadly weapon on another during an altercation, causing severe bodily harm to the person. A severe physical injury usually results in disfigurement, disability, impairment, or death.

Generally, aggravated assault is a felony of second-degree. Aggravated assault can quickly become a felony of the first degree if the offender uses a deadly weapon or causes bodily harm against the following persons:

  • A family or household member.
  • A public officer commits the assault under the guise of carrying out their duty as a public officer commits assaults.
  • A public officer dutifully going about their official duty.
  • An informant, witness in protection, or witness to a crime as retribution for reporting what they saw during an illegal act.
  • The defendant assaults a processor server delivering legal documents.
  • A security officer in the course of their duty and the defendant knows is a security officer.

In addition, it is a first-degree felony if the defendant while in a motor vehicle.

  • Intentionally discharges a firearm in the direction of another car or a residence.
  • The discharged firearm causes bodily injuries to any person.

Aggravated assault is a grave crime in Lubbock punishable by jail time, fines, or both. A first-degree felony gets life imprisonment or 5 to 99 years jail time; a second-degree and first-degree felony conviction may lead to incarceration for 2 to 20 years and 2 to 10 years. The court may also levy a fine not exceeding $10,000 for all classes of a felony.

The FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) provides reliable crime statistics data for the city. In 2020, the City of Lubbock recorded 2,244 assault cases and 1909 incidents in 2019. Between 2016 and 2018, the city recorded 2,189, 2,149, and 1,918 cases of assaults. Over five years, the rate of assault increased by 2.5%.

What is Sexual Assault in Lubbock?

Lubbock City describes sexual assault as a deliberate and conscious act of having  non-consensual sexual relations with a person under the following instances:

  • The defendant causes the penetration of the sexual organ or mouth, anus of an individual
  • The defendant penetrates the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of an individual
  • Any sexual relations with a person under 17 years.
  • Using force or violence to compel someone to participate in sex
  • Compelling someone to have sexual relations while threatening violence on another.
  • Having sexual relations with an unconscious person not capable of giving consent at the time
  • Sexual relations with a mentally ill person not capable of accessing the situation nor granting consent
  • The offender administers any substance making it impossible for the other party to assess or resist
  • A health care facility worker exploiting the emotions of a patient or former patient into engaging in sexual activities
  • A Cleric who exploits the emotional dependency of a person and causes that person to participate or submit to a sexual activity
  • A health care service provider performing an assisted reproduction procedure uses a donor's human reproductive material knowing the person did agree to the use of the reproductive material from the donor.
  • A coach, tutor, or person in authority using their position to exploit a person's reliance on them to make the person participate in sexual relations
  • A caregiver exploiting a person's dependence on them for their daily activities causes them to participate in sexual activities.

Sexual assault is a grievous crime capable of causing shame and stigma on an accused person. An accusation of sexual assault crime can threaten a person's life, career, reputation, and if convicted, such person has to register as a sex offender. 

Sexual assault in Lubbock is a second-degree felony with 2 to 20 years of jail time and a fine of up to $10,000. If the defendant commits a sex crime against a family member, the defendant engages in bigamy, making it a first-degree felony. It is punishable by life imprisonment or a sentence of 5 to 99 years.

Texas Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program collates and provides a reliable statewide database of crime statistics obtained from law enforcement agencies in the state. In 2016 Lubbock City recorded 198 rape cases. Between 2017 to 2020, rape reported in the city were 171, 295, 292, and 250. Over the five years, rape cases increased by 26.3%.

What Happens When You Press Charges on Someone for Assault in Lubbock?

An official criminal charge is filed by the state againt the defendant in court. Prior to that, the defendant may have been arrested and held in police custody, or out on bail until they are scheduled for trial. Immediately upon arrest, it is advisable to engage the services of a criminal defense attorney with a history of defending similar cases. A lawyer specialized in defending assault charges can present legally applicable arguments and defenses on behalf of the defendant. Generally, the defense lawyer can argue:

  • Mistake of law: The defense lawyer can argue, depending on the facts of the case, that the defendant committed the assault because they relied on a written statement of law made by an agency government officer responsible for interpreting the law. Lack of knowledge about the law is not a defense, but it can help reduce the defendant's sentence.
  • Intoxication:  if the defense can prove temporary insanity caused by intoxication, the court may be persuaded to reduce the defendant's penalty. 
  • Duress: The defense lawyer can prove that the defendant only committed the crime under duress, for fear of imminent bodily harm or death or that of another person. This defense does not hold if the defendant knowingly put themselves in a situation where they could be compelled.
  • Entrapment: It is a defense to prosecution if the defendant committed the assault directly due to being induced by a law enforcement officer.
  • Age: The defense can argue that the defendant is a minor under the Texas Penal Code if they were younger than 15. 

Additionally, the defense can argue affirmative defense in which the lawyer states that the defendant committed the assault, but under circumstances considered legally acceptable or justified:

  • Self Defense: The law allows the use of force to protect oneself from impending danger or harm from another. The defense can state that the use of force was necessary and acceptable to protect the defendant from unlawful force by the other party.
  • Insanity: The defendant had a mental illness or defect and had no knowledge of what they were doing.
  • Defense of Third Person: The defense lawyer can submit that the defendant required the use of force to protect the third party from unlawful interference such as theft to tangible or movable property.
  • Protection of Property: The law permits the defendant to use justifiable force to prevent unlawful encroaching or trespassing on their property. Also, if a person is unlawfully disposed of their assets, the law permits the owner to use necessary force to re-enter or recover the property. However, the force must be equal to the perceived danger. 
  • Necessity: It is an affirmative defense if the defense lawyer can prove that the defendant's actions were necessary to avoid impending impairment, and the importance or need to prevent the harm outweighs the damage done to the complainant.

Can a Minor Be Charged with Assault in Lubbock?

A minor in the City of Lubbock is a person below the age of 21. In Texas, a criminal offense committed by persons aged 10 but under 17 is charged in a juvenile court. At 17, the person is considered an adult and would be charged by an adult court. A minor can be charged with assault in Texas if the child engages in a criminal activity that would result in incarceration if committed by an adult. The court treats a juvenile who engages in delinquent conduct the same way an adult charged with the same crime. In some instances, the youth can be certified as an adult, and the minor will no longer be in the juvenile system but an adult criminal court system. 

The following is the outcome of a minor adjudicated for delinquent conduct:

  • The court places the minor on probation
  • For felony cases, an indeterminate sentence at the Texas Juvenile Justice Department
  • The court sends the minor to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department with a determinate sentence for certain offenses.

A juvenile under probation must be discharged by their 18th birthday, and the Texas Juvenile Justice Department releases a youth with an indeterminate sentence by their 19th birthday. Lastly, a minor with a determinate sentence depending on the charged offense can be transferred to an adult prison by their 16th birthday.

A determinate sentence for a minor charged with a first-degree felony for an aggravated assault or an aggravated sexual assault can get jail time up to 40 years. A second-degree felony gets a jail term of up to 20 years, and a third-degree receives a jail sentence of up to 10 years.

Section 53.045 of the Family Code lists the criminal offenses a minor can receive a determinate sentence. The Offenses include:

  • Sexual assaults
  • Aggravated assaults
  • Aggravated sexual assaults
  • Murder
  • Capital murder
  • Aggravated kidnapping
  • Injury to a child, elderly, or disabled individual
  • Felony deadly conduct by discharging a firearm
  • Indecency with a child.

A minor transferred to an adult court is treated as an adult criminal, and if convicted, will get the same sentence an adult who commits such a crime will get. However, the punishment excludes life imprisonment and the death penalty. Also, the Sex Offender Registration program may require a minor adjudicated for sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault to register as a sex offender.

How Long Can You Go to Jail for Assault in Lubbock?

The penalties for assault-related offenses vary based on the type of assault and the class of crime they fall under - felony or misdemeanor. The penalties for the various assault charges include:

  • Assaults: An assault offender faces one-year imprisonment, fines of up to $4,000, or both.
  • Aggravated assaults: Aggravated assaults may result in a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 20 years imprisonment sentence. However, If the crime is committed using a deadly weapon, it becomes punishable with a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 99 or a life sentence. The judge can also impose a fine not exceeding $10,000.
  • Indecent assaults:  Indecent assaults attracted a jail term of one year or less, and the judge may impose a fine of an amount not exceeding $4,000, or both
  • Sexual assaults: A person convicted of sexual assaults may go to jail for a minimum of two years, a maximum of 20 years, and a fine not exceeding $10,000. A bigamy charge gets the offender 5 to 99 years imprisonment and a fine, not more than $10,000.
  • Aggravated sexual assault attracts a prison sentence of 5 to 99 years or life imprisonment. In addition, the judge may include a fine of up to $10,000. If a minor is involved, the minimum years of incarceration increase to 25 years.
  • Deadly conduct: If the defendant's actions put another in danger, the penalty is a jail term of less than one year and a $4,000 fine. If the defendant purposely pointed or discharged a firearm on another, the crime becomes punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine not exceeding $10,000.
  • Harassment of public servants or by persons in certain facilities: Harassing a public servant in the course of their duty attracts a prison sentence of 2-10 years, and the defendant may pay a fine not more than $10,000. 
  • Injury to a disabled or elderly individual or a child: An intentional assault on an older person or a child is punishable with a jail term of 5 to 99 years or a life sentence. If the defendant was reckless, the offense is punishable by 2 to 20 years imprisonment. However, if an employee in a licensed health facility knowingly commits the offense, the crime is punishable by incarceration in a state jail for six months to two years. A fine not exceeding $10,000 applies.
  • Terroristic threat: The degree of the terrorist attack determines the penalty, and it can be less than six months in jail and a fine, not more than $2,000, confinement in a state jail for a period greater than six months but less than two years, or 2-10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
  • Aiding suicide: This is punishable by a fine not more than $500 or six months to two years incarceration and a fine not exceeding $10,000.

Simple Assault vs. Aggravated Assault in Lubbock

A simple assault in Lubbock city is when the party claiming the assault experiences minor body injuries or becomes afraid due to another person's deliberate or negligent act. A simple assault can be an injury or a threat to cause harm to a person or touch a person in a way that can be offensive. Simple assaults are misdemeanor charges punishable by a maximum jail time of one year or a fine up to $4,000.

Aggravated assault occurs when an individual causes serious bodily harm to another person. It is also when an individual uses a weapon or threatens with a deadly weapon during an altercation. It results in serious bodily injury that can lead to another person's impairment, disfiguring, or death.