A crime of violence typically involves the actual use of force or a threat of using force upon the victim. In some cases, the object of the crime is the violent act. In other cases, violence is used as a means to an end. Some but not all violent crimes are committed with a weapon or firearm. A violent crime can result in no injury to the victim, bodily injury, serious bodily injury, or death.
The penalties for violent crimes depend on a host of factors. The most severe penalties apply to cases in which a weapon was used, or the victim was seriously injured.
Attorney for Crimes of Violence in San Antonio, TX
If you were charged with a crime of violence, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in San Antonio, TX. Don Flanary and the attorneys at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC represent clients charged with both misdemeanor and felony offenses. Don Flanary represents clients on a variety of crimes involving allegations of violence from simple assault to murder. We can help you fight the charges for an outright dismissal.
Crimes of violence can involve the use or possession of a firearm. Many of these cases involve allegations of domestic violence. No matter your circumstances, having an experienced and aggressive attorney at your side can make all the difference. With offices conveniently located in San Antonio, Don Flanary provides an aggressive defense to his clients at every stage of the case.
Call us to discuss the charges pending against you, ways to avoid the typical penalties, and important defenses that can be used to fight the charges. Don Flanary is also experienced in self-defense cases in San Antonio, TX. Call (210) 738-8383 today.
Types of Violent Crimes in Texas
Texas law provides for several different types of violent offenses in Texas including:
- Criminal Homicide
- Capital Murder
- Criminally Negligent Homicide
- Robbery and Aggravated Robbery
- Unlawful Restraint
- Aggravated Kidnapping
- Unlawful Transport
- Assault and Aggravated Assault
- Sexual Assault
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Organized Crime or Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity
- Injury to a Child
- Injury to an Elderly Individual or Disabled Individual
- Abandoning or Endangering a Child
- Terroristic Threat
- Aiding Suicide
- Tampering with Consumer Product
- Leaving a Child in a Vehicle
- Deadly Conduct
Raising Self-Defense in a Prosecution for a Violent Crime
One of the most common defenses raised during the prosecution of a violent crime is self-defense. As a general rule, a person is justified in using force against another when and to the degree, the defendant reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect the defendant against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful force.
Section 9.02 of the Texas Penal Code refers to self-defense as a “justification” that is a “defense to prosecution.” In some circumstances, the defendant’s belief that the force was immediately necessary is presumed to be reasonable. Those circumstances include the following:
- The defendant knew or had reason to believe that the person against whom the force was used:
- unlawfully and with force entered, or was attempting to enter unlawfully and with force, the actor’s occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment;
- unlawfully and with force removed, or was attempting to remove unlawfully and with force, the actor from the actor’s habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment; or
- was committing or attempting to commit aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery;
- did not provoke the person against whom the force was used; and
- was not otherwise engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic at the time the force was used.
When the Use of Force is Not Justified in Texas
Texas law provides that the use of force against another is not justified under the following circumstances:
- in response to verbal provocation alone;
- to resist an arrest or search that the defendant knows is being made by a peace officer, or by a person acting in a peace officer’s presence and at his direction, even though the arrest or search is unlawful unless the resistance is justified under Subsection (c);
- if the defendant consented to the exact force used or attempted by the other;
- if the defendant provoked the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful force, unless:
- the defendant abandons the encounter, or clearly communicates to the other his intent to do so reasonably believing he cannot safely abandon the encounter; and
- the other nevertheless continues or attempts to use unlawful force against the defendant; or
The use of force against another is also not justified if the defendant sought an explanation from or discussion with the other person concerning the defendant’s differences with the other person while the defendant was:
- carrying a weapon in violation of Section 46.02; or
- possessing or transporting a weapon in violation of Section 46.05.
Circumstances that Justify the Use of Force in Texas
The use of force to resist an arrest or search is justified under the following circumstances:
- if, before the defendant offers any resistance, the law enforcement officer (or person acting at his direction) uses or attempts to use greater force than necessary to make the arrest or search; and
- when and to the degree the defendant reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect himself against the law enforcement officer’s (or other person’s) use or attempted use of greater force than necessary;
- the use of deadly force is not justified under this subchapter except as provided in Sections 9.32, 9.33, and 9.34;
- a person who has a right to be present at the location where the force is used, who has not provoked the person against whom the force is used, and who is not engaged in criminal activity at the time the force is used is not required to retreat before using force as described by this section.
- for purposes of Subsection (a), in determining whether a defendant described by Subsection (e) reasonably believed that the use of force was necessary, a finder of fact may not consider whether the defendant failed to retreat.
Asserting a self-defense claim is difficult. If you believe your case involves a self-defense claim, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney who can explain this important defense that can be raised in cases involving the use of force.
Statistics for Violent Crimes
For statistical purposes, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program classifies the following offenses as violent crimes:
- murder and non-negligent manslaughter;
- forcible rape;
- robbery; and
- aggravated assault.
According to a recent study released by the FBI for the calendar year of 2011, aggravated assaults accounted for the highest number of violent crimes reported to law enforcement at 62.4 percent. Robbery comprised 29.4 percent of violent crimes, forcible rape accounted for 6.9 percent, and murder accounted for 1.2 percent of estimated violent crimes.
These studies also show that domestic violence accounts for about one-fifth of all violent victimizations each year.
Penalties for the Most Serious Violent Crimes in Texas
Under Texas law, the most serious crimes of violence include murder, manslaughter, and felony deadly conduct. The punishment range for murder, a first-degree felony, is confinement for life or for any term of not more than 99 years or less than 5 years and a fine not to exceed $10,000. TEX. PENAL CODE §§ 12.32 establishes the punishment range for a first-degree felony, while 19.02(c) establishes murder as a first-degree felony.
The punishment range for manslaughter, a second-degree felony, is confinement for not more than 20 years or less than 2 years and a fine not to exceed $10,000. Id. §§ 12.33 establishes the punishment range for second-degree felony, while 19.04(b) establishes manslaughter as second-degree felony.
The punishment range for felony deadly conduct, a third-degree felony, is confinement for not more than 10 years or less than 2 years and a fine not to exceed $10,000. Id. §§ 12.34 establishes the punishment range for a third-degree felony while 22.05(e) establishes felony deadly conduct as third-degree felony.
Uniform Crime Report for Violent Crimes by Year – Visit the website of the City of San Antonio to find the Uniform Crime Reports published by the San Antonio Police Department. The UCR is organized by year and crime classification. The classifications in the report include violent crimes such as homicide, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Uniform Crime Reports must be reported to the Texas Department of Public Safety and Federal Bureau of Investigations.
San Antonio Police Department Property Crimes Unit Forms – Find the Criminal Complaint Forms used to initiate an investigation into property crimes committed within the city limits in San Antonio. The packet can be submitted to the substation that covers the area where the property crime occurred during normal working hours on Monday through Friday from 7:45 a.m.-5:00 p.m. After the packet is returned, a Property Crimes Detective will review the form and contact the alleged victim for additional information. The forms may be examined by the Bexar County Grand Jury and the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office during a criminal investigation.
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Donald H. Flanary III
“I see our duty as more than just counselors and advocates, but as warriors.”