Under Tex. Pen. Code § 22.05, the crime of deadly conduct occurs when individuals recklessly engage in behavior that places others in imminent danger of severe bodily injury. Individuals also may face this charge when they purposely discharge a firearm toward one or more other persons or a home, building, or vehicle with reckless disregard as to whether others occupy it. Furthermore, under this section, it is assumed that recklessness and danger exist where individuals intentionally point firearms toward others, even if they believe the firearms are not loaded at the time.
Any act that constitutes general deadly conduct is a Class A misdemeanor offense under Texas law. If the crime involves discharging a firearm, however, the offense is enhanced to a third-degree felony. A conviction for a Class A misdemeanor can result in up to one year in prison and a maximum $4,000 fine. A third-degree felony conviction, however, can cause a prison sentence ranging from two to ten years, plus a fine of up to $10,000.
In some cases, you might think you are defending yourself if you discharge a gun to protect your family or others. However, if your conduct goes too far, you easily could face deadly conduct charges. Even if your motives were good, creating a reckless risk of severe physical harm to others can lead to these criminal charges.
As the penalties for deadly conduct are not insignificant, you should be sure to get the legal advice that you need in this situation. By attempting to explain your behavior to authorities, you may inadvertently incriminate yourself and create a high probability of criminal charges being filed against you. As a result, you should always consult an attorney before speaking with police about incidents involving the discharge of firearms or other potentially dangerous behaviors that put others at risk.
If you or a family member is facing criminal charges, we may be able to help. As experienced Texas criminal defense attorneys, we have the knowledge needed to help you navigate through often-complex criminal proceedings. Call us today at (512) 474-4445 and schedule an appointment with one of our criminal defense lawyers and learn how we can assist you.