What Constitutes Assault against a Family Member?
Under Texas law, assaulting a family member is a criminal offense. This happens when a person knowingly, or recklessly causes harm to a family member.
Any physical contact that is deemed “offensive or provocative” can be considered assault, as well as threatening to physically harm someone.
Research conducted in 2011 at the University of Texas in Austin revealed a shocking statistic. 32% of Texans had experienced violence from a partner in a close relationship.
Who are considered Family Members?
Family violence encompasses domestic abuse and dating violence. In order for family violence to occur, the parties involved must have a specific type of relationship. Additionally, the different kinds of relationships are provided in Section 71.004 of the Texas Family Code.
It includes family members, household members, and those in a dating relationship. The definition of these terms is broad. It includes current or former dating or romantic partners, married individuals, people living in the same household, and foster parents. It also encompasses children in the household, including foster children.
Penalty to Each Act Committed
Domestic assault is a class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $500. The penalty for an offense increases to a class A misdemeanor if a victim suffers bodily injury. This can result in a penalty of up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
A third-degree felony is an assault that causes injury. This applies if the defendant has had prior domestic assault convictions or if the offense involved strangulation or suffocation. Therefore, a third-degree felony conviction subjects the offender to 2 to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Specifically, these acts are classified into three types of crime:
- Domestic assault includes making threats of physical harm, causing bodily injury, or touching someone in an offensive or provocative way.
- Aggravated assault occurs when a deadly weapon is used or when the victim suffers severe physical injury. The severity of the offense depends on if the victim experiences serious bodily injury. If so, it is classified as a first-degree felony.
This carries a prison sentence of 5 to 99 years, or life, and a $10,000 fine. Otherwise, it will be considered a second-degree felony, if the offense involves choking or suffocation.
- A perpetrator may face additional charges for continuous violence against their family. Therefore, this is classified as a third-degree felony.
If someone commits two domestic assaults within a year, they may be charged with this offense. Assaults do not always lead to arrest or conviction. They can involve different victims or households.
What are your Defenses against Family Violence Charges?
Assault Against Family Member cases often lack witnesses, leaving it up to one person’s word against another’s. The police will arrest the person who caused visible injuries, and men may be arrested if there are conflicting stories. Additionally, attorneys will investigate possible motives for false accusations and assess the accuser’s credibility.
Police inspect injuries to identify the principal aggressor. However, if it is uncertain or self-defense was involved, the court examines previous threats and violence history. Police are under pressure to make arrests in domestic violence cases.
Arrested? Don’t Plea, Call Me!
It is essential to seek assistance from a competent lawyer when dealing with assault charges. This will help to avoid the risk of a false conviction.
Going up against skilled prosecution attorneys can be challenging. Every word you say in court could be used against you. Even seemingly harmless phrases can be misconstrued as confessions.
Therefore, our Criminal Defense Lawyers are knowledgeable about what is appropriate to say and what should not be said. In conclusion, this will make sure that your rights are protected, and your case is viewed favorably.