What's Considered a Deadly Weapon in Texas?

You might have read or heard about someone in Texas being charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. If you didn't know the specifics of the offense, you might assume that the alleged offender used a firearm. Although using a gun during the commission of an assaultive offense is one way someone may be charged with this crime, using nearly any object that can cause harm may lead to accusations.

What Is a Deadly Weapon?

A deadly weapon isn't just one that can be used to take another person's life.

Texas law defines a deadly weapon in two ways:

  1. A firearm or any instrument that can cause death or serious bodily injury; or
  2. Anything that can be used to cause death or serious bodily injury

According to Texas Penal Code 1.07, serious bodily injury is that which can cause 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."

Various objects can be considered deadly weapons, including, but not limited to:

  • Knives
  • Clubs
  • Rocks
  • Chairs
  • Tire irons

What's Assault with a Deadly Weapon?

Let's take two different scenarios. In the first, Margaret gets in an altercation with an acquaintance. During the fight, she pulls out her gun and points it at the acquaintance. In this instance, Margaret can be charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

In the second scenario, Margaret is again in an altercation with an acquaintance. This time, instead of exhibiting a gun, she runs to her car, grabs a bat, and starts swinging it at the acquaintance. Her actions are once against chargeable under Texas's aggravated assault law.

Notice in the examples given above that Margaret did not actually fire the gun or hit her acquaintance with the bat, yet she still may be charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. That's because Texas Penal Code 22.02 provides that a person commits the crime if they "use or exhibit a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault."

Thus, if a person merely takes out an object or instrument that can cause harm during an assault, they can face serious consequences even if they never used it. Generally, assault with a deadly weapon is a second-degree felony. It's punishable by between 2 and 20 years of imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

In some circumstances, such as when it's committed against a family or household member, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon is a first-degree felony. Then, the conviction penalties include a person term between 5 and 99 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

If you've been accused of a crime in San Antonio, contact our experienced attorneys at LaHood Norton Law Group for the effective counsel you need. We can be reached by phone at (210) 801-9400 or online.