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Parnham & Associates

440 Louisiana St. Suite 200
(The Lyric Centre)
Houston, TX 770021
Phone: 713.224.3967
Fax: 713.224.2815


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Mental Health Issues in the Criminal Justice System


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Solicitation of Capital Murder

Homicide Legal Defense

Criminal homicide can be summarized as the act of unlawfully killing another person. Conviction will dramatically and negatively alter your life and the life of your family. These cases are often very complex and require the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney.

  • What is Homicide?

Homicide is the killing of one human by another. The killing of another, homicide, is not a crime unless the circumstances of a particular homicide fall within outlawed behavior. If a homicide is justified or excused, it is not a crime. One of the most recognized justifications is self defense, which provides, in part, that in certain circumstances a person is justified in killing another to protect his own life from a deadly attack.

Battery involves actual physical contact with the victim and is defined as conduct producing a bodily injury or an offensive contact.

Assault does not necessarily include physical contact with the victim and may be an attempt at battery, an intentional frightening of another person, or the intentional creation of a dangerous situation.

In a case of Assault or Assault and Battery the court generally considers three crucial elements:

A defendant's conduct encompasses the physical acts performed in the crime. Assault may be committed either by directly touching a person, by indirectly applying force to him or her, or by intentionally creating a dangerous situation in which someone is consequentially injured.

Mental State:
A defendant is held to be culpable in a Battery charge if they act with either an intent to injure or with criminal negligence. In the case of negligence most jurisdictions require actions that create an unreasonable and high risk of harm to others.

Harm to the Victim:
A final element considered in a case of Battery is the harmful result to the victim. This includes virtually any type of bodily injury, physical or mental.

Additional elements considered by the court include whether the victim is an officer of the law, or if the offense is a hate crime.

  • What is Aggravated Assault?

Aggravated Assault is a felony committed with intent to do serious harm or murder, or including the use of a dangerous weapon. A weapon is considered dangerous whenever the purpose for using it is to cause death or serious harm. State statutes define aggravated assault in various ways, such as assault with deadly intent or intent to kill. Under such statutes, assault means both battery and assault.

  • Self Defense:

In the USA there are various laws which allow a person to use reasonable force in defense of themselves, the defense of others, or the defense of property.
Legal definitions and statutes vary from state to state, however there is a general distinction between the use of deadly and non-deadly force. A person may use non-deadly force to prevent imminent injury, however a person may not use deadly force unless that person is in reasonable fear of serious injury or death.
Some states also include a duty to retreat provision, when deadly force may only be used if the person is unable to safely retreat. A person is generally not obligated to retreat if in one's own home.
According to section 9.31 of the State of Texas Penal Code, a person is generally justified in using force against another "...when and to the degree he reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful force."
The use of force is not justified in response to verbal provocation alone, when resisting an arrest or search made by a recognized peace officer, or if the defendant consented to the force used by the other party.

  • What are the penalties for Assault in Texas?

Class A Assault:
Class A Assault is an offense whereby it is alleged that the defendant intentionally, knowingly or recklessly caused "bodily injury" to the complainant. Texas law of assault defines bodily injury as "pain". The prosecutor is not required to prove the existence of physical injury. That is, "It hurt".
Common examples of Class A assaults in Texas are allegations that the defendant slapped or pushed the complainant. The punishment range for a misdemeanor class A assault includes a jail sentence of up to one year in the county jail and up to a $4,000.00 fine.

Aggravated Assault (Serious Bodily Injury):
Aggravated Assault with the allegation of Serious Bodily Injury is a 2nd degree felony offense, punishable by up to 20 years in Texas state prison and up to a $10,000.00 fine. Serious Bodily Injury means bodily injury that creates 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.

Aggravated Assault (Deadly Weapon):
Aggravated Assault with a deadly weapon is also a 2nd degree felony offense, punishable by up to 20 years in Texas state prison and up to a $10,000.00 fine. The law states that a deadly weapon is anything that is manifestly designed, made or adapted for the purpose of inflicting death or serious bodily injury; or anything that in the manner of its use or intended use is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury.

A conviction for assault or battery can have serious consequences, negatively affecting your life far into the future. Each case is unique and requires a specific defense plan.
If you have been charged with assault you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Contact Parnham & Associates today at (713) 224-3967 or click here for our convenient online submission form.
We will work tirelessly to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

This is for general informational purpose only. This information: • DOES NOT represent a legal advice or opinion, • DOES NOT create an attorney-client relationship, • DOES NOT account for community-supervision eligibility, special punishment issues, mandatory minimum confinement, enhancements, and “Exceptional Sentences” under Chapter 12 Subchapter D of the Texas Penal Code, • DOES NOT apply Corporations & Associations. • DOES NOT represent the unique circumstances of your case.