Under Texas law, the offense of injury to a child, elderly, or disabled person is a felony that can be classified in several different ways. Depending on the circumstances of the offense an injury case can be a first degree, second degree, third degree, or a state jail felony. Depending on the level of the felony charge a person could be facing up to life in prison and up to a $10,000.00 fine.
A person commits the offense if, through act or omission of an act, he intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence causes a child, elderly individual, or a disabled individual serious bodily injury, serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury, or bodily injury. A child in Texas is anyone under the age of 14. An elderly person is anyone 65 or older, and a disabled individual is also very specifically defined. The punishment for injury cases can vary greatly based on the level of the injury. Charges and convictions can carry harsh consequences.
The allegations brought can have a huge impact your defense needs.
The type of injuries alleged can affect the level of the charges you could be facing. In Texas, bodily injury can be as simple as causing someone pain. It doesn’t require blood, bruising or anything more than “physical pain, illness, or impairment.” A charge of serious bodily injury is one where the injury creates a substantial risk of death, actually causes death or disfigurement or loss of the functions of a part of the body. Usually the injuries in a serious bodily injury case involve such severe injuries the prosecutor will have a doctor or other expert testify. In this type of case it is imperative your attorney be up to date on the latest court rulings, forensic sciences, and techniques in defending against these types of charges.
Unlike many offenses requiring someone to do something before criminal charges are brought, injury cases are unique because you could be charged for failing to do something. In these omission-type charges, the prosecutor must prove the citizen had a duty to act and failed to follow that duty. It is important for you to get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible so you can protect your rights and start building a strong defense. The attorneys at Goheen & O’Toole understand you are innocent until proven guilty. Let us get to work for you.
Injury cases can be charged with four different mental states: intentional, knowing, reckless, or criminally negligent. Intentional and knowing mental states are typical in criminal charges, but reckless and criminally negligent are less frequently used. A reckless charge, simply put, means the person charged knew better than to do something and did it regardless of that knowledge. Criminal negligence means you are supposed to be aware of unjustifiably risky situations and take care to avoid them, and the failure to take that care would be very obvious and a deviation from society’s norms.