Deadly Conduct: Texas Penal Code §22.05

Texas Criminal Law

The Deadly Conduct law in the state of Texas gives police the right to arrest you if they believe you discharged a firearm in the direction of a (1) person or even (2) at a vehicle or building if they think you were reckless about whether people could be inside the vehicle or building.

This crime is most often prosecuted when the state believes you recklessly discharged a firearm, but the state may also prosecute you for Deadly Conduct if they believe you recklessly put others in imminent danger of serious bodily injury even if no firearm was involved. See the section below for the most current law.

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The law classifies this offense as either a misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances alleged by the state. Learn more detailed information about the Deadly Conduct offense below.

Deadly Conduct is classified in the Texas Penal Code under Title 5 “Offenses Against The Person,” Chapter 22 “Assaultive Offenses.” Through the 88th Texas legislative session, this law had not been altered since 1994.

What is the current Texas law about Deadly Conduct?

There are two ways to violate this law, one is described in subsection (a), and the other in subsection (b):[1]

(a) A person commits an offense if he recklessly engages in conduct that places another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury.

(b) A person commits an offense if he knowingly discharges a firearm at or in the direction of:

(1) one or more individuals; or

(2) a habitation, building, or vehicle and is reckless as to whether the habitation, building, or vehicle is occupied.

Under the law, recklessness and danger are presumed if the you knowingly pointed a firearm at or in the direction of another whether or not the actor believed the firearm to be loaded.[2]

How can I be charged with Deadly Conduct?

You can be charged with Deadly Conduct if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 22.05(a) or 22.05(b), as described in the section above, have been met according to the accusation or complaint.

What is the punishment for Deadly Conduct?

An offense under subsection (a) – the “imminent danger of serious bodily injury” offense – is classified as a Class A misdemeanor,[3] with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $4,000 and jail time of up to one year. Learn about the differences between grades of felonies and misdemeanors

The law classifies offenses under subsection (b) – the discharge toward individuals, habitations, or vehicles offense – as felonies of the third degree,[4] with a maximum possible fine under Texas state law of up to $10,000 and prison time of up to 20 years.

How to beat a Deadly Conduct charge in Texas?

A Deadly Conduct conviction (or even a deferred adjudication plea) can send you to jail or prison, cost you thousands of dollars in fines and fees, and possibly affect your gun rights. The best way to beat this charge is to fight back by attacking the facts that the state alleges and to challenge them every step of the way. We highly recommend that you hire the best attorney that you can. If you have been accused of this charge, please make sure to book a consultation to discuss your options.

What is the statute of limitations for a Deadly Conduct case?

The state must formally charge you for this offense within two years if they are prosecuting it as a misdemeanor. If the state prosecutes it as a felony, the limitations period is three years.

Can you get probation if you are convicted or plead guilty?

Yes, a judge or a jury may grant you probation or community supervision if you are convicted of or plead guilty to Deadly Conduct.

^1. Texas Penal Code §22.05^2. Texas Penal Code §22.05(6)^3. Texas Penal Code §22.05(e)^4. Texas Penal Code §22.05(e)

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