Benge v. State

In Benge v. State, 94 S.W.3d 31, 35 (Tex. App.--Houston 14th Dist. 2002, pet. ref'd), Benge was charged with aggravated assault with a motor vehicle, and the jury found Benge guilty of the lesser-included offense of deadly conduct. Benge, 94 S.W.3d at 33. Benge complained on appeal that the trial court's refusal to submit an instruction on reckless driving constituted reversible error. Id. After finding that reckless driving was a lesser-included offense of aggravated assault, the court held that there was some harm because the jury was not given the option to find Benge guilty of reckless driving, an offense with a less severe penalty than the one imposed for deadly conduct, but with a similar mental state-recklessness. Id. at 36-38. Thus, in Benge, the jury found the defendant guilty of deadly conduct, a reckless finding. Id. at 33. By not providing a charge on reckless driving, the jury was prevented from choosing between two recklessness crimes. Id. at 37-38. Because this choice was not provided, the jury was not able to choose a recklessness crime that carried a less severe penalty. Id. at 38.