A person who threatens, causes, or recklessly places another at risk of serious bodily injury can face charges of aggravated assault or deadly conduct, which both carry felony penalties and the possibility of prison time.
Aggravated assault in Texas consists of:
Serious bodily injury means injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ. Broken bones or permanent scarring would be considered a serious bodily injury.
Deadly weapons can be any object that's capable of causing death or serious bodily injury and used in such a manner. Examples include a firearm, hunting knife, rope, or even a baseball bat.
Recklessness involves an act committed, not necessarily with intent to harm another, but without regard for the outcome. For example, pushing someone out of the way in a crowd so that you can get through, without intending to injure the person, is reckless because it is likely that the person could fall and suffer an injury.
(Tex. Penal Code §§ 1.07, 22.01, 22.02 (2020).)
The offense of deadly conduct in Texas consists of:
Some forms of road rage could constitute deadly misconduct. For example, if a driver tries to cut off another driver or maneuvers his vehicle to potentially run another vehicle off the road—especially on a highway or road with a high speed limit—he places the other driver in danger of serious bodily injury because his actions could cause a motor vehicle accident or collision.
(Tex. Penal Code §§ 6.03, 22.05 (2020).)
A conviction for aggravated assault carries first- or second-degree felony penalties. Someone convicted of deadly misconduct faces a Class A misdemeanor or a third-degree felony.
Aggravated assault is a second-degree felony but can be elevated to a first-degree felony in the following circumstances:
A person convicted of a second-degree felony faces two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. For a first-degree felony, a conviction carries five to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
(Tex. Penal Code §§ 12.33, 12.32, 22.02 (2020).)
The offense of deadly misconduct is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine. The penalty increases to a third-degree felony if it involves discharging a firearm. A third-degree felony conviction carries two to ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
(Tex. Penal Code §§ 12.21, 12.34, 22.05 (2020).)
A person convicted of aggravated assault or deadly misconduct in Texas can be required to pay restitution to a victim. Restitution involves reimbursing the victim for any expenses resulting from the crime, such as the cost of medical treatment, counseling, or repairs to damaged property.
As an alternative to jail or prison, a judge may authorize community supervision (probation) for offenders who are sentenced for misdemeanors or felonies with less than 10 years of incarceration. Community supervision is not an option, though, if the offender used or displayed a deadly weapon in the offense.
Repeat felony and misdemeanor offenders can face enhanced sentences, such as an increased felony level (third-degree moves up to second-degree) or mandatory minimums (a minimum of 90 days in jail or 15 years' prison time).
(Tex. C.C.P. arts. 42A.051, 42A.102; Tex. Penal Code §§ 12.42, 12.43 (2020).)
A conviction for aggravated assault or deadly misconduct becomes part of your permanent criminal record. If you are convicted later of another crime, the court can consider your prior conviction and impose a harsher sentence in the new case. A conviction for a violent crime—even a misdemeanor—can hurt you when you are looking for a job or applying to rent a house or apartment. A convicted felon loses the right to vote and carry firearms and can lose certain professional licenses.