Violent crimes involve confrontations between two or more people. Because they endanger the safety and lives of others, the state takes these criminal offenses very seriously. Typically, a violent crime accusation will result in a felony-level charge. Considered the most severe crimes, felonies are punishable by years to decades in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. The ramifications of a conviction can upend your life and make it difficult for you to re-enter society even after you have completed your sentence. With the high stakes, waste no time getting started on your defense.
For legal representation you can trust, contact Joseph R. Veith Law. Our violent crimes attorney, Joseph R. Veith, handles every criminal case with integrity and professionalism in El Paso. When you hire our law firm, we will provide a straightforward evaluation of your violent crimes case and have an honest discussion about your legal options. Our El Paso criminal defense attorney has served as a felony prosecutor and knows how the other side prepares for cases. With this insight, we can determine the avenues to pursue and develop an aggressive defense strategy on your behalf.
What is a Violent Crime?
A violent crime is a criminal act that involves the intentional use or threat of force against another individual. It typically entails actions that cause physical harm, injury or pose a significant risk to the well-being and safety of a person. The main characteristic of a violent crime is the presence of violence or the potential for violence in committing the offense.
Common Types of Violent Crimes in Texas
Generally, violent crimes are those committed against other people. Various offenses fall under this definition.
In Texas, violent crimes include:
- Murder (Texas Penal Code § 19.02): This offense involves the intentional killing of another person. Charges may also arise when an individual intends to cause serious bodily injury to someone else but ends up causing that person's death or when a person takes another's life while committing a separate felony.
- Rape (Texas Penal Code § 22.011): Referred to as sexual assault in Texas, this crime occurs when a person, without the other individual's consent, penetrates another's sexual organ or anus in any way, penetrates the other person's mouth with the actor's sexual organ or causes contact between any person's sexual organs and another individual's mouth, anus, or sexual organ.
- Robbery (Texas Penal Code § 29.02): A person may be accused of this offense if they are alleged to have unlawfully taken another individual's property and did so by causing bodily injury or threatening to cause bodily injury or death.
- Aggravated assault (Texas Penal Code § 22.02): Charges for this offense may arise when someone causes serious bodily injury to another person, or they use or displays a deadly weapon while causing injury, threatening to cause injury, or touching another individual offensively or provocatively.
Because of the stigma attached to a violent crime accusation, it's often difficult to remember that a criminal charge is not a conviction. At Joseph R. Veith Law, we recognize the presumption of innocence and work relentlessly to protect our client's rights. Regardless of the criminal offense you have been accused of when you hire us, you will have an ally on your side pursuing an optimal outcome on your behalf.
What are the Penalties for Violent Crimes in Texas?
The exact punishments a person could face if found guilty of a violent crime will vary depending on the facts of the criminal case and the degree of the charge. Generally, second- and first-degree felonies are punishable as follows:
- Between 2 and 20 years in prison and/or
- Up to $10,000 in fines
- Between 5 and 99 years in prison and/or
- Up to $10,000 in fines
Our El Paso violent crimes attorney, genuinely cares about safeguarding the futures of the people we serve. That is why we fight vigorously to seek optimal outcomes, such as reduced criminal charges, case dismissals, or decreases in penalties. We are prepared to do everything in our legal power to help you.
Start your defense with our El Paso violent crimes lawyer today!
Are Violent Crimes Felonies in Texas?
For the most part, violent crimes are felonies. Typically, they are charged as first- or second-degree felonies – two of the most severe degrees. Rape, robbery, and aggravated assault are generally second-degree felonies. However, they may be elevated to first-degree felonies if certain factors are present.
- Rape is a first-degree felony when the offense is committed against someone the actor was prohibited from marrying or engaging in sexual conduct.
- Aggravated assault is a first-degree felony when:
- The actor used a deadly weapon and caused severe injury to a family or household member,
- The offense was committed against certain individuals performing their official duties, or
- The actor shot a gun from a car and caused serious bodily injury to another person.
- Robbery is a first-degree felony when:
- The actor causes serious bodily injury,
- The actor used or displayed a deadly weapon, or
- The actor caused bodily injury to a disabled person or a person 65 or older.
Murder, one of the most serious violent felonies, is usually a first-degree felony. However, if the defendant can prove by a preponderance of the evidence that they acted out of sudden passion after being provoked, then the offense is a second-degree felony.
Common Violent Crime Defense Strategies
When defending against charges related to violent crimes, lawyers may employ several common defense strategies. It's important to note that the suitability and effectiveness of these strategies can vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case. Here are some common defense strategies used in violent crime cases:
- Self-Defense: This strategy asserts that the defendant acted in self-defense, meaning they reasonably believed their actions were necessary to protect themselves from imminent harm or danger.
- Lack of Intent: The defense may argue that the accused did not have the intention or premeditation to commit a violent crime, emphasizing a lack of evidence showing a deliberate and purposeful act.
- Alibi: A strong alibi can provide evidence that the defendant was not present at the crime scene when it occurred, challenging the prosecution's case and raising reasonable doubt.
- Insanity or Diminished Capacity: The defense may argue that the defendant had a mental illness, disorder, or diminished mental capacity at the time of the crime, which affected their ability to understand the consequences of their actions.
- Misidentification: If there are issues with witness identification, the defense can challenge the accuracy or credibility of witness testimonies, suggesting mistaken identity or unreliable identification procedures.
- Fourth Amendment Violations: If evidence was obtained unlawfully or through a violation of the defendant's constitutional rights, the defense may seek to have that evidence suppressed or excluded from the trial.
- Procedural Errors: The defense can challenge the integrity of the investigation, collection, or handling of evidence, raising concerns about errors or misconduct that may have compromised the case.
- Coercion or Duress: If the accused was forced or coerced into committing the violent act under the threat of harm, the defense might argue that their actions resulted from duress, negating their culpability.
- Lack of Evidence: The defense may argue that the prosecution has not presented sufficient evidence to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, highlighting gaps or inconsistencies in the case.
- Constitutional Violations: The defense may challenge the constitutionality of laws or procedures related to the case, arguing that the defendant's rights were violated.
It's important to consult with a qualified El Paso violent crimes lawyer who can assess the case's specific circumstances and determine the most appropriate defense strategy based on available evidence and applicable laws.
Building a defense against severe criminal charges requires thorough preparation. Our El Paso violent crimes lawyer knows what it takes to fight criminal allegations and expends the time and effort necessary to defend our clients. We are ready to stand up for you.
Contact Joseph R. Veith Law today to schedule a FREE consultation with our violent crimes lawyer in El Paso!
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