Deadly conduct in Texas is an assaultive offensive clearly defined in Texas state law. Deadly conduct means engaging in behavior that puts someone else at risk of death. However, loss of life isn’t necessarily required for a person to be charged with this offense. If they do something that causes serious bodily injury or could potentially lead to that result, they are committing an offense under the law. It can be charged as a misdemeanor offense or a felony, but it depends on the circumstances surrounding the crime.


There are four distinctions between deadly conduct crimes in Texas. The categories are danger of harm, serious bodily injury, state of mind or intent, and weapons discharge or brandishing. A deadly conduct crime associated with danger of harm involves an act that the offender knows has the potential of putting someone at risk of serious bodily injury. That said, a bodily injury-related deadly conduct crime involves an act that has the capacity for substantial risk of death or that can cause death, permanent disfigurement, or prolonged/extensive loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ. A deadly conduct crime involving state of mind/intent occurs as a result of an accident during which there is a generalized understanding that the conduct is dangerous, but during which the offender does not consider the risk of harm and/or the safety of others. And such a crime connected to the discharge or brandishing of a weapon is when an offender uses a gun or other weapon in a dangerous, threatening, or reckless manner (e.g., pointed at a person(s), vehicle, or building/structure that could be occupied).


Texas penalties for deadly conduct convictions are severe. They can include jail or prison time, fines, and/or probation. Jail time for Class A misdemeanors for deadly conduct typically carries a penalty of up to 12 months in jail, while third-degree felonies for the crime carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison. Fines for Class A misdemeanors can be charged up to $4,000; and for third-degree felonies, they can be charged up to $10,000. As for probation for deadly conduct convictions, some offenders may receive it in lieu of jail time or in combination with some jail time. The penalties are all dependent upon the overall circumstances of each individual case.


See Texas State Penal Code 22.05 for details.

Deadly conduct in Texas is a very serious charge and can be difficult to overcome successfully. Having a lawyer with experience and success in dealing with such cases is important to fight deadly conduct charges. If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with deadly conduct in Texas, consider contacting a caring and capable attorney like Austin, Texas-based Brian Erskine of Erskine Law. As a board-certified legal professional, Mr. Erskine will be able to explain the details of the charges against you, so you will better understand them, and he can advise you on what your next steps should be to reach the best possible outcome in your case. If you find yourself in need of the services of an experienced and skilled criminal defense attorney in Austin or the surrounding area, reach out to the counsel at Erskine Law; contact Attorney Brian Erskine any time online or by calling 512-359-3030 to discuss the details of your case during a free consultation.