What Does It Mean to Serve Aggravated Time in Texas?

Did you know that in Texas, you can be charged and convicted of assault without even touching someone, or even just slightly touching them?

If you tell someone you are going to beat them up, and they have a reasonable fear you’re going to do it, or if you simply poke them in the chest with your finger after a heated discussion, you can be charged with assault.

Texas criminal law says:

“If you intentionally or knowingly threaten someone else, including your spouse, with imminent bodily injury,” or “intentionally or knowingly cause physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative,” you can be convicted of assault.

A simple assault, like either of the above situations can result in a Class A misdemeanor. That could land you in county jail for up to a year and get you a fine up to $4,000.

Prison Time and Fines Increase Dramatically When You Commit “Aggravated Assault”

If you are found guilty of aggravated assault, you will be guilty of a first or possibly a second degree felony in Texas.

A second-degree felony puts you in prison 2-20 years and hits you with a fine up to $10,000. A first-degree felony gives you 5-99 years and also has up to a $10,000 fine.

To be guilty of aggravated assault, one of two things must be true:

• You caused “serious bodily injury” to the person you assaulted

• You used a “deadly weapon” as you committed the assault

Aggravated Assault is a “3g” offense. “3g” refers to the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 42.12, subsection 3g.

That section of the criminal code enhances punishments for certain crimes. For assaults, including aggravated sexual assault, aggravated kidnapping, and aggravated robbery (as well as many other serious crimes), you can experience the following additional consequences:

• You cannot get regular probation from the judge as part of a plea bargain

• You must also serve half of your sentence, or 30 years, whichever is less

• You also cannot be eligible for parole in less than 2 years

• Good conduct time cannot be factored in – you must serve the lesser of half your sentence or 30 years

Compare this to the sentence you can get when you are convicted of a non-3G or non-aggravated offense:

• You are potentially eligible for parole when your time served plus good conduct equals 1/4 of your sentence

Keeping It Simple: An “Aggravated Crime” Is More Serious and Has Stiffer Penalties

If you hear the word “aggravated” being used, know that your situation is serious. You could spend decades, perhaps the rest of your life, in prison.

If you face these charges, don’t talk with police – and get in touch with a skilled criminal defense attorney immediately.