Texas law defines deadly conduct as occurring when an individual recklessly engages in conduct that that places another person in imminent danger of serious bodily injury. Any type of physical injury that creates a substantial risk of death or results in death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ constitutes serious bodily injury.
Due to the broad definition of deadly conduct under Texas law, it also encompasses the discharge of a firearm in the direction of people or toward a home or vehicle with reckless disregard as to whether the home or vehicle is occupied by others. Even though it doesn’t technically involve a weapon, deadly conduct also may be charged in conjunction with DWI, based on the theory that the driver’s behavior was so reckless that it placed the public in imminent danger of serious bodily injury.
As a general rule, deadly conduct is a Class A misdemeanor, but it can be charged as a third degree felony if it involves recklessly discharging a firearm. For the purposes of deadly conduct, Texas law always treats firearms as if they loaded, no matter whether you know that they were loaded or not.
A Class A misdemeanor can result in up to one year in jail, along with a fine of up to $4,000. If charged as a third degree felony, however, a conviction can result in a prison sentence of up to ten years, with a minimum sentence of two years. You also may face a fine of up to $10,000. It is likely that a deadly conduct conviction also will result in a period of probation of at least one year. Probation will require you to meet certain conditions set by the court, such as mandatory searches of your home and vehicle to ensure that you do not possess any weapons.
At Peek & Toland, we are dedicated to protecting your rights and defending you from any potential criminal charges. We are here to investigate the facts surrounding your case, consider your options, and help you develop the strategy that is best designed to achieve a successful outcome in your case. Do not waste time attempting to handle legal matters on your own; contact our office as soon as you are charged with a criminal offense so that we can provide you with the help that we need.