The consequences of being charged with a crime involving a deadly weapon can be severe, and it is crucial to have an experienced San Antonio criminal defense lawyer on your side to navigate the legal system. In this article, we will explore the definition of a deadly weapon, how it is determined, and the impact it can have on sentencing and parole.
What is the Definition of a Deadly Weapon?
The Texas Penal Code defines a deadly weapon as any firearm or anything that, in the manner of its use or intended use, is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury. This can include a variety of objects, such as knives, clubs, brass knuckles, and even a person's own body if used in a certain way.
Firearms are the only item that is always considered a deadly weapon. It only needs to be exhibited during the crime for it to be considered a deadly weapon and there is no requirement that it be used. Other objects, have to be used in a manner that is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.
Under the Texas Penal Code, serious bodily injury is defined as an injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes serious permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ. This can include injuries such as broken bones, severe burns, internal injuries, or injuries that require surgery or hospitalization.
How is a Deadly Weapon Finding Alleged and Who Determines if it is True?
In cases where a deadly weapon is involved, the prosecutor must allege in the charging instrument or by giving proper notice to the defense prior to trial that a deadly weapon was used or exhibited during the commission of the crime. When the case goes to trial, this question will be presented to the jury along with the questions of guilt. If the prosecutor is successful in proving this allegation beyond a reasonable doubt, the court will make a finding of fact that a deadly weapon was, in fact, used or exhibited my making a finding of true.
Effect of a Deadly Weapon Finding on Sentence and Parole:
A finding that a deadly weapon was used or exhibited during the commission of a crime can have a significant impact on sentencing and parole. If a deadly weapon was used or exhibited during the commission of a crime, it is considered a "deadly weapon enhancement.” If you are charged with a State Jail Felony, then the punishment range will increase from 180 days to 2 years in the State Jail to that of a Third Degree felony, which is punishable by between 2 and 10 years in prison.
In addition, if a deadly weapon enhancement is alleged and found true by the judge or jury, a defendant must serve at least half of their sentence before becoming eligible for parole. This is in contrast to other offenses where a defendant may be eligible for parole after serving a quarter of their sentence.
San Antonio Criminal Lawyer Brad Thornton
If you have been charged with a crime involving a deadly weapon, it is important to have an experienced San Antonio criminal defense attorney on your side. Understanding the definition of a deadly weapon, how it is determined, and the potential impact it can have on your case is crucial. Contact the Law Offices of Brad Thornton for a free consultation to discuss your case and legal options. As a Board-Certified Criminal Defense Attorney, Brad Thornton has the experience and knowledge necessary to defend your rights and protect your future. Call us today at 210-439-5627.