Picture of the author

What is Aggravated Assault in Corpus Christi, Texas?

Aggravated Assault

Aggravated assault in the City of Corpus Christi occurs when an individual causes serious bodily harm to another. It also includes situations where an offender displayed or used a deadly weapon during an assault. An aggravated assault of this nature is classified as a second-degree felony. However, it may be escalated to a first-degree felony if any of the following is involved:

  • The offender used a deadly weapon against a family member during an assault resulting in serious bodily injury.
  • The offender knowingly assaulted a security officer in the course of their duty.
  • The offender, while driving, discharges a weapon towards a building or vehicle and causes serious bodily injury to anyone.

In compliance with the Texas Penal Code, Corpus Christi, Texas, classifies aggravated assaults as a first-degree felony if the crime is committed using a deadly weapon that causes severe physical harm leaving the injured party impaired, disfigured, or dead.  It is charged as a second-degree felony if the victim suffered serious bodily injury. The crime is charged as third-degree if the offense is committed against a Texas Civil Commitment officer on duty.

The punishment for aggravated assaults depends on the degree of the assault. First-degree felonies may be punished with a jail term of 5 to 99 years or life imprisonment; a second-degree felony charge is punishable by imprisonment of 2 to 20 years. A person convicted of a third-degree felony may get up to 2 to 10 years in prison. The court may also charge a fine not exceeding $10,000 for all classes of the felony.

The FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) provides reliable crime statistics data for the city. In 2019, the City of Corpus Christi recorded 1,823 cases of aggravated assaults, the highest number of cases reported within five years. 1,399 incidents were recorded in 2016, the lowest within five years. Over the five years, aggravated assault cases increased by 30.3% in the city.

What is Sexual Assault in Corpus Christi City, Texas?

Section 22.011 of the Texas Penal Code defines sexual assault as when an individual consciously or purposely has non-consensual sexual relations with another person. Corpus Christi sexual assaults go beyond penetration of sexual organs and include:

  • Penetrating an individual in the mouth, anus, or sexual organ
  • Penetrating a person's sexual organ with an object
  • Any form of sexual activity involving an individual below 17 years
  • Forcing or intimidating a person into participating in sexual activity
  • Sexual intercourse with an unconscious person or someone not capable of resisting
  • Sexual intercourse with a mentally ill individual
  • Sexual activity with an individual who cannot give consent because they are impaired by a controlled substance administered by the offender.

Sexual assault convictions are grievous crimes involving the offender's incarceration, fines, and mandatory registering as a sex offender in the state. It is classified as a second-degree felony with 2 to 20 years of jail time and a fine of up to $10,000. The charge would become a first-degree felony punishable by life imprisonment or a sentence of 5 to 99 years if the defendant committed the sexual crime against a family member of the offender engages in bigamy.

In 2019, Corpus Christi recorded 266 sexual assault cases. In 2016, the number of sexual assaults was 282. Over the five years, sexual assault cases decreased by 5.7%.

What Happens When You Press Charges Against Someone for Assault in Corpus Christi City, Texas?

Depending on the charges brought against them,  the defendant may be remanded in custody or asked to appear in court. Therefore a person accused of assaults in Corpus Christi has the right to defend themselves and establish their innocence. Hiring a qualified criminal defense lawyer to fight the allegations and protect the accused’s fundamental rights under legal provisions may be crucial. The defense attorney may rely on multiple defenses including:

  • Duress:  If the defense lawyer can show that the defendant was compelled to commit the crime because the defendant was afraid of severe bodily harm or death to themselves or another person. However, if the defendant knowingly put themselves in a situation where they could be compelled, the defense will not hold in court.  
  • Entrapment: It is a defense if the lawyer can provide evidence to show that the defendant committed the assault because a law enforcement officer or anyone acting on behalf of a law enforcement officer convinced them to carry on the act.
  • Intoxication: Intentionally getting intoxicated is not a defense under the law; however, if the defense can prove a brief period of insanity caused by insobriety,  they may be able to convince the court to reduce the punishment for the crime.
  • Mistake of the Law: Ignorance cannot be claimed as a defense in court. However, an experienced defense lawyer can present a case that the defendant’s act was based on a written statement of law made by an agency or public officer responsible for interpreting the law in question. A mistake of the law is a defense but does not absolve the defendant of the crime committed. Based on the belief, the defendant may be convicted for a lesser offense they would have been guilty of. 
  • Necessity: A defense lawyer can argue the defendant's actions were necessary to avoid impending impairment, and the urgency or need to prevent the harm outweighs the damage done to the complainant.
  • Insanity: Here, the defense lawyer claims that the defendant has a mental disease or defect and, at the time of the assault, had no comprehension of what they were doing.
  • Self Defense: The law allows the use of justified force to protect oneself against danger. The defense can assert that the defendant used force to defend themselves because they believed it was necessary to protect themselves from the other party's use of unlawful force. A self-defense claim is not permissible if the perceived threat is verbal or if the defendant provoked or consented to the force.
  • Age: The defense can rely on the age of the defendant as a defense if, at the time of the assault, the defendant was too young to be tried as an adult.
  • Defense of Third Person: Depending on the assault charge, the defense lawyer can submit that the use of force was mandatory to protect the third party from unlawful interference such as theft to tangible or movable property.
  • Protection of Property: Property owners have the right to use force to protect their property. The law allows 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 allows the owner to use necessary force to re-enter or recover the property.

Can a Minor Be Charged with Assault in Corpus Christi?

The Texas Juvenile Justice Department specifies that a juvenile court is in charge of offenses committed by a person aged 10 but below 17. If the crime is committed by a minor, from the age of  17 upward, it is tried in an adult court.

The state of Texas can charge a minor with assault if the child takes part in criminal activities an adult would typically go to jail for. A juvenile who engages in delinquent conduct can be taken to a juvenile court that decides the type of punishment considering the crime committed. Depending on the magnitude of the assault, the city can choose to charge the minor as an adult; the juvenile is transferred and tried in an adult court.

A juvenile court tries status offenses and delinquent conduct. When a minor engages in conduct not restricted for an adult is a status offense; however, delinquent conduct involves serious violation by the minor where the youth commits a felony offense or a jail-able misdemeanor. 

A court can place a child adjudicated for delinquent conduct on different levels of probation depending on the extent of the crime committed. Such as:

  • Placing the minor on probation
  • The court commits the minor to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department for an indeterminate sentence.
  • For severe felony cases, a determinate sentence at the Texas Juvenile Justice Department.

A minor placed under probation must be released on or before their 18th birthday. A youth with an indeterminate sentence placed with the Texas Juvenile Justice Department is released 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.

The Family Code lists the crimes that can lead to a determinate sentence, including aggravated assaults.

A child between 14 and 17 can be transferred to an adult criminal court and be prosecuted as an adult. Certification is typically done for crimes a minor commits against a person. For a youth to be certified as an adult, the court takes into consideration the following:

  • The maturity of the child
  • Previous records of the minor
  • If the child poses a sustained threat to the public
  • The resources available to rehabilitate the child.

If convicted, the minor gets the same sentence an adult who commits such a crime receives. However, the punishment excludes life imprisonment and the death penalty. Also, the minor may register with the Sex Offender Registration program if adjudicated for sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault. 

How Long Can You go to Jail for Assault in Corpus Christi City, Texas?

The punishment or sentence for assault-related offenses varies according to the type of assault and the class of crime they fall under - felony or misdemeanor. The penalties for the various assault charges include:

  • Assaults: A year in jail and a fine of $4,000, or both.
  • Aggravated assaults: Incarceration for a minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 20 years. However, when a deadly weapon is used to commit aggravated assault, the jail sentence becomes 5 to 99 years in prison or a life sentence. A fine not exceeding $10,000 may be imposed.
  • Sexual assaults: A person who commits sexual assault will get a jail sentence of 2 - 20 years plus a fine of up to $10,000. If bigamy is charged, it is punishable by 5 to 99 years imprisonment and a fine not exceeding $10,000.
  • Aggravated sexual assault attracts a prison sentence of 5 to 99 years or life imprisonment. In addition, a fine of up to $10,000 may be imposed. The minimum years of incarceration increase to 25 years if a minor is involved.
  • Indecent assaults: Indecent assaults conviction attracts imprisonment for at least one year and a fine not exceeding $4,000.
  • Deadly conduct: When a person’s action puts another in danger, the penalty is incarceration for less than one year and a $4,000 fine. However, if the defendant knowingly pointed or used a firearm and discharged it on a person, habitation or vehicle, the punishment becomes 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine not exceeding $10,000.
  • Aiding suicide: The penalty for aiding suicide is a fine not more than $500 or six months to two years imprisonment and a fine not exceeding $10,000.
  • Terroristic threat: It depends on the magnitude of the attack. Terroristic threats can be punishable by less than six months in jail and a fine, not more than $2,000, confinement in a state jail for six months to two years, or 2-10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
  • Injury to a disabled or elderly individual or a child: An intentional assault that causes injury to a child, disabled or elderly, is punishable by a jail term of 5 to 99 years or a life sentence. Where the offense was due to recklessness, it attracts 2 to 20 years imprisonment. However, If an employee of a licensed health facility knowingly commits this offense, the offender is incarcerated in a state jail for six months to two years, with a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Tampering with consumer products: Jail time of  5-99 years or life imprisonment, a sentence of between, 2-10 years in prison, or 2-20 years in prison depending on the nature of the offense. A fine not exceeding $10,000 may be imposed.
  • A child left in a vehicle unattended:  This assaultive charge is punishable by incarceration of not more than six months, a fine not exceeding $2,000, or both.
  • Harassment of public servants or by persons in certain facilities: Attracts jail time of 2 -10 years, and the defendant may pay a fine not more than $10,000. 

Simple Assault vs. Aggravated Assault in Corpus Christi City, Texas

A simple assault in Corpus Christi is the charge for intentionally or carelessly perpetrating an act that instills fear, with or without physical contact between the parties. The offense often consists of one of the following:

  • Threatening to inflict bodily injury on a person
  • Causing an injury to a person
  • Offensive physical contact, even if it doesn’t lead to violence.

Simple assaults are misdemeanors offenses punishable with up to a one-year jail term or a fine up to $4,000.

Aggravated assault occurs when a person wields a deadly weapon capable of causing significant bodily harm during an assault or, in fact, actually causes bodily injury to the victim. Significant body injury can lead to disability, impairment, disfigurement, or even the victim's death.