Is assault on a family member in Texas a felony? Courts are tough on charges for assault on a family member in Texas, and while first time offenders occasionally get off with a Class A misdemeanor, repeat offenders will certainly be given felonies that come with heavy jail time, fines, and other domestic violence specific restrictions upon conviction.
In the interest of protecting everyone involved, arrests are often made before law enforcement has all of the facts. If you have been falsely accused of assault and battery you need an attorney who will listen to your side, who isn’t afraid to go to trial, who will bring to light the facts. Mark Thiessen of Thiessen Law Firm is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, and has experience giving aggressive defense to individuals in sensitive situations.
What is an assault charge in Texas?
The difference between assault and aggravated assault usually lies in the severity of the damage sustained, although there are a number of aggravating factors that can upgrade a charge.
Assault occurs when:
- Injury is caused to another party intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly
- Another party is threatened with injury, intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly
- Unwanted or offensive contact is initiated with another party intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly
Assault becomes aggravated when:
- Serious bodily injuries are incurred
- The behavior in question exhibits extreme recklessness
- A deadly weapon is used
Assault on a family member (domestic violence) is a distinct type of assault charge.
What is assault on a family member?
Texas Family Code § 71.001-.0021 defines assault on a family member in Texas as:
- Any act of violence is committed against an individual with whom a person has or has had a dating relationship.
- An assault act is committed against any person of the same household, of blood relation, or within a romantic relationship.
- A child in the household is abused by a member of the household.
These all include making someone fear that physical harm or sexual assault is imminent, but do not include measures taken by an individual to protect themselves.
The household is defined as any of the following relationships:
- Past and current spouses
- Parents of a child not in a relationship or household
- Foster child and parent
- Past and current co-residents
- Relatives (either by blood, marriage, or adoption)
- Past and current romantic partners
If an individual has committed two or more assault crimes within 12 months they may be charged with continuous violence against the family, which is a third-degree felony at minimum (if no aggravating factors are present). Courts are tough on assault, even if you are facing first-time assault and battery charges, you need a lawyer who will give your side of the story a chance, a lawyer who will defend your freedom.
Penalties for domestic violence
If you are arrested for assault on a family member in Texas there is no guarantee that you will only be facing one charge, as assault charges are often compounding in nature. Penalties for:
- Assault on a family member first offenses, with no aggravating factors present, are class A misdemeanors that carry up to a year in jail. Repeat offenses of assault family violence (AFV) are charged as felonies.
- Aggravated assault on a family member is charged as a first-degree felony.
- Continuous violence against the family is charged as a third-degree felony, and is added to assault charges as a compounding charge.
As is the case for all felony charges in Texas, the true cost of being convicted of these crimes is not fully illustrated in the serious jail time and fines. Domestic violence charges will land you on probation and in treatment centers, custody of children is often taken away, and families are severed by lawfully enforced protective orders.
Beating an assault charge in Texas
If you are wondering how to beat an assault charge in Texas, know that it is difficult — not impossible. There are a few possible defenses:
- Your attorney can attempt to prove that the allegations are false. In the event of a custody battle or bitter divorce, they can look for motivation or leverage to be gained by falsely accusing you.
- Your attorney can attempt to prove that you were not the aggressor, which can be difficult without witnesses, which is why you need the best Domestic violence attorney Houston has to offer.
- Your attorney can attempt to prove that you were acting in self defense.
Can assault charges be dropped in Texas? Yes, assault charges can be dropped by the prosecutor. But, If the charges are not dropped, or the case is not dismissed, assault charges are not eligible to be sealed in Texas. Meaning they will follow you around for the rest of your life. We won’t sugar coat it: getting charges dropped in family violence cases is uniquely difficult, you’ll need a hell of a lawyer to do a hell of a lot of work — even if you were falsely accused.
Accused of assault on a family member in Texas? Call Thiessen Law Firm to defend your name
Is assault on a family member in Texas a felony? Very often it is, but even when it isn’t, it’s a serious crime with serious consequences that can ruin your life. It takes a compassionate and driven lawyer to take on sensitive cases and get down to the truth. Mark Thiessen has a history of doing the hard thing and doing the right thing.
Do the right thing and call Thiessen Law Firm today at 713-864-9000 or contact us online for a free consultation.
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