In early 2014, several news media outlets in Texas reported on the findings by criminologists and statisticians with regard to violent crimes in the United States. Several big cities, including Houston, showed reduced violence during the previous year. However, law enforcement officers and prosecutors remain very vigilant in this regard.
Which Crimes Are Considered Violent in Texas?
Violent offenses in Texas range from threats to endangerment and from assaults to homicides. There are many crimes and offenses that may be labeled as being violent, including:
In many cases, violence functions as an enhancement in a crime. For example, a woman arrested for marijuana possession who becomes belligerent and ends up striking a police officer could see her drug charges enhanced by allegations of battery, a situation that could worsen the outcome of her case.
Violent Crimes against People or Property
It is important to remember that defendants do not have to gravely injure someone or cause severe damage to property in order to be charged with violence. Slight bodily harm, a spoken threat, the presence of a gun or even a little bit of blood could be construed as violence.
Houston Punishments for Violent Offenses
Texas is known as a particularly tough jurisdiction with regard to handling cases of violence. Most offenses that involve guns or other weapons as well as bodily harm are likely to call for lengthy prison sentences or even the death penalty. Other punishments may include court-ordered restitution, probation and fines.
Even when a defendant avoids jail time for alleged violence, there is a potential for stigmatization due to marked criminal backgrounds. People whose court records show a history of violence may experience difficulty in finding a job.
Defending Those Accused of Violence
The prosecution’s burden of proof in violent cases is considerably high. Criminal defense attorneys can also introduce mitigating circumstances to improve the defendant’s legal outlook, particularly when there is no prior criminal history or when another person may have been responsible for exerting control over the accused. Other strategies include suppression of evidence and clarifying intent.