LEGISLATIVE BUDGET BOARD
Austin, Texas
 
CRIMINAL JUSTICE IMPACT STATEMENT
 
80TH LEGISLATIVE REGULAR SESSION
 
March 22, 2007

TO:
Honorable Aaron Pena, Chair, House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence
 
FROM:
John S. O'Brien, Director, Legislative Budget Board
 
IN RE:
HB1812 by Talton (Relating to the punishment of the offense of aggravated assault.), As Introduced

The bill would amend the Penal Code to allow aggravated assault to be punishable as a felony of the first degree if the defendant used a deadly weapon and caused serious bodily injury to another person regardless of the defendantís relationship to that person.  Currently, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and serious bodily injury is punishable as a felony of the second degree unless the victim-offender relationship is family, household, or dating, or unless the offense is against or by a public servant while performing their duty, against a witness or informant, or against a security officer while performing their duty. 

 

A second degree felony is punishable by imprisonment in the institutional division for any term of not more than 20 years or less than 2 years, or, in addition to confinement, a fine not to exceed $10,000.

 

A first degree felony is punishable by imprisonment in the institutional division for life or for any term of not more than 99 years or less than 5 years, or in addition to imprisonment, a fine not to exceed $10,000.

 

In fiscal year 2006 there were 2,722 offenders placed on community supervision for second-degree felony aggravated assault and 2,319 offenders admitted to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) for second-degree felony aggravated assault.  Increasing the penalty for any criminal offense is expected to result in increased demands upon the correctional resources of counties or of the State due to longer terms of probation, or longer terms of confinement in prison.  An examination of fiscal year 2006 aggravated assault TDCJ admissions indicated that the average sentence length for second-degree felony admissions was 5.7 years and 17.3 years for first-degree felony admissions.  Also according to TDCJ fiscal year 2006 data, offenders released from prison for first-degree felony aggravated assault served approximately 84 percent of their sentence, while second-degree felony aggravated assault releases served approximately 86 percent of their sentence. 

 

Assuming the same number of offenders in future years, the additional impact to criminal justice populations from the bill would vary greatly depending on the number of times a deadly weapon and serious bodily injury occurred.  A check of Texas Department of Criminal Justice records, Department of Public Safety records, Office of Court Administration records, and Jail Standards Commission records did not reveal any information that would help in an accurate assumption regarding aggravated assault and the occurrence of a deadly weapon along with serious bodily injury; therefore the probable impact of implementing the bill cannot be determined. 



Source Agencies:
LBB Staff:
JOB, GG