Deadly Conduct Lawyer in Travis County
If a law enforcement officer thinks you used a weapon in a dangerous, threatening, or reckless manner, you can be charged with deadly conduct. This is true even if you didn't discharge your weapon or injure anyone. The penalties are still steep, with possible fines, prison time, and restitution.
You might think that a charge is as good as a conviction, but that's far from the case. The burden of proof is on the prosecution, and you have the right to defend yourself. Our Travis County deadly conduct lawyer has worked on both sides of the courtroom, first as a prosecutor and now as a defense attorney. Thus, he understands how prosecutors work and can negotiate with them outside of the courtroom. Additionally, he is prepared to defend you at a trial if needed. Contact our firm today to have a free one-on-one consultation with an attorney.
Deadly Conduct Penalties
The potential penalties depend on the deadly conduct charge. You can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor or third-degree felony. You can face up to:
- $4,000 in fines (misdemeanor)
- One year in jail (misdemeanor)
- $10,000 (felony)
- 10 years in prison (felony)
Criteria For Deadly Conduct Cases
Texas is the only state with a deadly conduct charge on the books. Because of that, it can be confusing to understand what constitutes deadly conduct. Essentially, police officers can charge people if the situation meets one of two criteria. Someone must engage in reckless conduct that puts another person at imminent risk of suffering a serious bodily injury, or knowingly and purposely discharging a firearm toward or at a person, car, or building without knowing if the property is occupied.
It's easy to understand what it means to recklessly discharge a weapon but putting someone at risk of bodily injury is a bit more confusing. This means that you can face charges if you purposely point a weapon at someone. It doesn't matter if you don't think the gun is loaded if your behavior is reckless.
Proving And Defending Deadly Conduct
Texas law makes deadly conduct sound simple, but these cases are quite involved. First, the prosecutor must show evidence to prove your state of mind at the time of the incident in question. The evidence needs to show that you had a reckless state of mind and the intention to ignore safety when brandishing a weapon. However, the prosecutor doesn't have to prove that you intended to hurt anyone.
Your Travis County deadly conduct lawyer can also show evidence to illustrate your state of mind. Additionally, your lawyer can use other methods to build a defense, such as showing evidence that the other party consented to the action or that you didn't threaten or endanger the alleged victim. First, though, your lawyer needs to review your case to determine the right defense strategy, so call for your free one-on-one consultation today.
Misdemeanor Vs. Felony Charges
You can be charged with a Class A misdemeanor or a third-degree felony for deadly conduct. Typically, people receive a misdemeanor charge if they pointed but did not discharge a weapon. The charge is typically upgraded to a felony if a weapon was discharged during the incident. A Travis County deadly conduct lawyer can defend you against a misdemeanor or felony charge. As a former prosecutor, Jason English understands how the other side builds and presents cases, which helps during all aspects of the defense. For example, his prosecutorial experience can help him develop the right strategy when negotiating to dismiss or reduce charges and create the right plan for court.
Will You Have To Pay Restitution?
If you are convicted of deadly conduct, the judge might order you to pay restitution to the victims if they experienced losses due to the incident. This can include compensation for property damage, medical treatment, and even counseling. Of course, you won't have to pay restitution if you're found not guilty of the crime. Additionally, your Travis County deadly conduct lawyer can work with the prosecutor to reduce or eliminate restitution if possible. Finally, your case might not even involve financial losses. If you're unsure of restitution and other penalties, contact our firm today. You'll consult directly with an attorney, who can explain the charges and possible penalties.