Criminal ''Injury to a Child'' Elements In Texas

A person commits injury to a child under penal code section 22.04 if he intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly, by act or omission, causes serious bodily injury to a child. TEX. PEN. CODE ANN. 22.04(a)(1) (Vernon Supp. 2000). An omission that causes serious bodily injury is conduct constituting an offense if the actor has assumed care, custody, or control of a child. TEX. PEN. CODE ANN. 22.04(b)(2) (Vernon Supp. 2000). A person commits an aggravated assault under penal code section 22.02(a)(1) if he intentionally or knowingly causes serious bodily injury to another. TEX. PEN. CODE ANN. 22.02(a)(1) (Vernon 1994). Proof of a culpable mental state almost invariably depends upon circumstantial evidence. Morales v. State, 828 S.W.2d 261, 263 (Tex. App. - Amarillo 1992), aff'd, 853 S.W.2d 583 (Tex. Cr. App. 1993). Ordinarily, the culpable mental state must be inferred from the acts of the accused or the surrounding circumstances, which include not only acts, but words and conduct. Ledesma v. State, 677 S.W.2d 529, 531 (Tex. Cr. App. 1984); Morales, 828 S.W.2d at 263. Both injury to a child and aggravated assault are result-oriented offenses. Alvarado v. State, 704 S.W.2d 36, 39 (Tex. Cr. App. 1985) (injury to a child); Sneed v. State, 803 S.W.2d 833, 836 (Tex. App. - Dallas 1991, pet. ref'd) (aggravated assault). In a result oriented offense, it is not enough for the State to prove that the defendant engaged in conduct with the requisite criminal intent. The State must also prove that the defendant caused the result with the requisite criminal intent. Cook v. State, 884 S.W.2d 485, 490 (Tex. Cr. App. 1994). Where the evidence is sufficient to show intentional and knowing conduct, it is sufficient to show the lesser culpable mental state of recklessness. TEX. PEN. CODE ANN. 6.02(e) (Vernon Supp. 2000); Bell v. State, 693 S.W.2d 434, 438 (Tex. Cr. App. 1985).