There is no exact statute or law concerning family member assault, also called domestic violence. Rather, the laws for such incidents fall under the general guidelines of assault. It is deemed “domestic” if the victim is a family member or extended family member, a former spouse, or has a romantic relationship with the perpetrator.
The technical definition of assault according to Texas Penal Code §22.01 is:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse
- Intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person’s spouse
- Intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative
Penalties for Assault of a Family Member in Texas
If you have not had any prior convictions involving domestic violence, then assaulting a family member is a Class A misdemeanor. If you do, then it is a felony of the third degree, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. In this case, a “conviction” includes a case in which you were found guilty, pleaded nolo contendere, regardless if there was a deferral or probation.
If the crime is deemed an aggravated assault against a family member, then the severity increases to a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Furthermore, if a weapon was used and caused substantial injury, the charge may be considered a felony of the first degree, punishable by up to life in prison.
Depending on the details of the case, lesser penalties like probation or community supervision may be given. In addition, the accused may be required to pay for a domestic violence shelter for the victim. Also, as part of probation, a judge can mandate counseling for the accused and/or the victim, at the perpetrator’s expense. To ensure that you don’t suffer any unnecessary consequences, speak with a Houston assault of a family member lawyer like James Alston.
If you are found guilty of assaulting a family member, you may be ineligible to have a firearm for up to five years after the end of your sentence. And after that, you still may only be permitted to have a gun within the bounds of your house. The charge may also come with a protective order, e.g. a restraining order, which prohibits you from going near the victim for up to two years. Lastly, you may be responsible for covering the legal fees incurred by the victim.
Call an Assault of a Family Member Lawyer
If you are facing domestic violence charges, you will not necessarily be convicted. For instance, charges often rest on accusations by one person without other witnesses or evidence. With the help of an experienced and thorough family assault attorney, you can ensure that the details of the case are brought to the surface and justice is served.
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