Deadly Conduct Charge In Texas

Deadly Conduct Discharge Firearm

People who use a weapon for self-defense or for a purpose that they feel is legal should be careful not to use the weapon threateningly or carelessly, because they may be charged with deadly conduct.  For example, if you run after home burglars and shoot at them indiscriminately, you are putting the lives of people walking by or living nearby at risk. This is enough for you to face a deadly conduct charge even if you felt justified to shoot at the criminals.

The deadly conduct charge can either be a misdemeanor or felony.  You need to hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to fight for your best interests if you face a deadly conduct charge in Texas.

Elements Of Deadly Conduct Charge

What Is Deadly Conduct In TX

Deadly Conduct TexasConcerning deadly conduct Texas Penal Code Section 22.05 says:

(a) A person commits an offense if he recklessly engages in conduct that places another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury.

(b) A person commits an offense if he knowingly discharges a firearm at or in the direction of:

(1) one or more individuals; or

(2) a habitation, building, or vehicle and is reckless as to whether the habitation, building, or vehicle is occupied.

(c) Recklessness and danger are presumed if the actor knowingly pointed a firearm at or in the direction of another whether or not the actor believed the firearm to be loaded.

Just pointing a firearm at other people even if the weapon is not loaded is enough to face a deadly conduct charge. This kind of conduct is considered reckless by the law regardless of other circumstances.  But the prosecution charging you for deadly conduct can only succeed if they prove all the elements of the crime.

This is very difficult to do, which is why you need a skilled criminal defense lawyer to poke holes in every argument the prosecution presents.

Definition Of Terms

Deadly Conduct Texas Penal Code

During your deadly conduct case, you will come into contact with new terms such as:

  • Danger of harm: This term means that people know or should know that their actions could place other people at risk of suffering or bodily injury.
  • Serious bodily injury: This type of injury can place someone at risk of death or can lead to death. Serious bodily injury can also cause permanent disfigurement or loss of function of a body part or organ.
  • State of mind: The two main states of mind are recklessness and intent. Recklessness is when someone is aware their actions may cause injury but do those actions anyway. Reckless actions often deviate from actions normal people would do in a particular situation. Intent is when someone uses a weapon without considering the safety of others.
  • Discharging firearm: Brandishing or firing a firearm is committing deadly conduct.  This includes discharging a firearm towards a home, building, car, or any structure without considering that they could be occupied.
  • Vehicles and structures: Discharging your firearm towards any structure is committing a deadly conduct offense.  Structures are buildings and dwellings where people live or work. They include restaurants, homes, or office spaces. Vehicles are things used for the transportation of persons or items. They include cars, trucks, or boats.

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