Charges Upgraded to Aggravated Assault in Deep Ellum Case
The Dallas Police upgraded criminal charges against Austin Shuffield to Aggravated Assault. Under Texas law a person can commit Aggravated Assault by using or exhibiting a deadly weapon during an a assault.
Shuffield was originally arrested on three misdemeanor charges and quickly bonded out of jail. A video taken by a cell phone showed Shuffield arguing with a female and then knocking her phone out of her hand. She responds by hitting Shuffield and he then struck her with his fist numerous times.
Prior to the physical altercation Shuffield could be seen on the video with a gun in his hand. He then appeared to put the gun in his pants and the assault occurred soon after. The key to the felony charge is the language “use or exhibits“. Most Aggravated Assault cases involving gun involve the suspect pointing a gun at the victim or firing the gun at the victim. But the law doesn’t require the gun to be pointed directly at the victim to meet the requirements of the law.
If the evidence shows that the gun was used or exhibited in a way that constituted a threat then the offense of Aggravated Assault may have been committed. What was said by the suspect and whether the gun was used to frighten or intimidate the victim will be important factors in this case.
The fact that this case has become a media sensation and already the subject of community organizers will make it difficult for the defense attorney to obtain a No Bill at the grand jury.