The severity of charges that are brought for the crime of assault depends on many factors. If a weapon is used in an assault, the type of weapon used can aggravate simple assault charges, possibly resulting in a serious felony conviction and significant jail time for an offender. The Texas Court of Appeals recently released a decision in which they affirmed the defendant’s conviction and subsequent sentence for aggravated assault for an attack involving a pair of children’s scissors.
According to the facts discussed in the appellate opinion, the defendant was a long-term romantic partner of the victim and allegedly attacked her with scissors during an argument, cutting her on the arm and causing her to seek medical attention. Based on the injuries sustained in the fight, as well as threats and other abuse mentioned by the victim, the defendant was charged with aggravated assault. The charge was aggravated based on the relationship between the defendant and the victim, as well as the use of a deadly weapon, namely, the scissors.
The victim did not testify at trial, and the defense argued that the children’s scissors could not be considered a deadly weapon to aggravate the charges against him. The prosecution called witnesses who testified that the scissors could cause serious bodily injury if used with significant strength. It was up to the jury to decide if the scissors were to be considered a deadly weapon. Additionally, the prosecution admitted statements by the victim that the defendant repeatedly threatened to seriously hurt her if she ever reported the abuse to authorities. The jury found the defendant guilty of the aggravated assault charge, and he was sentenced to 40 years in Texas State Prison.
The defendant appealed his conviction, arguing that the scissors could not be a deadly weapon as a matter of law, and the jury should not have been given the choice to convict him on that charge. The appellate court noted that the evidence at trial suggested the defendant used great force in the assault and that such force could be considered deadly, as to fulfill the statutory requirements for the defendant’s conviction. Based on the appellate ruling, the defendant will be serving his sentence.
The Importance of Effective Trial Advocacy in Criminal Law
Criminal appeals can be an uphill battle, as the appellate court gives great deference to the judgments made by the trial judge and jury. Effective arguments must generally be brought up at trial to be eligible for appeal, so effective trial advocacy is extremely important in a criminal case. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges in Texas, the experienced trial attorneys with Guest and Gray want to help. Our dedicated Texas criminal defense lawyers will work our hardest to get the results you desire at trial, or earlier. If you’ve been accused of a crime, give us a call to talk about your situation. Contact our offices at 972-564-4644 and schedule a free consultation today.