Assault is always a serious charge under Texas law. Assault on a significant other or family member, however, could lead to enhanced penalties. Domestic violence charges carry not only serious consequences, but also a negative social stigma. The majority of employers aren’t keen on hiring people with violent crime convictions, especially domestic violence. Relationships between family members and significant others can be complicated. Law enforcement and the district attorney may be only getting one side of the story. To effectively defend yourself, it’s recommended you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney today.
Attorney for Domestic Assault in Houston, Texas
A domestic violence conviction on your criminal record could create a lasting impact on your life. It might lead to expensive fines and jail or prison time. In addition, a domestic violence charge can look menacing on your public record. Employers, educational institutions and licensing agencies will be able to pull up your criminal charges with a simple background check. Call today at (713) 224-5529 to schedule a free consultation. Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. defends people throughout the greater Harris County area including Bellaire, Tomball, West University Place and Houston. Overview of Domestic Violence in Texas
- Domestic Violence under Texas Law
- What is Domestic Assault in Texas?
- Texas Penalties for Domestic Assault
- Additional Resources
Domestic Violence Defined Under Texas Law
Domestic violence is unique because it’s solely for crimes between family, household members or dating relationships. A domestic violence crime is any violent offense committed against another family member, household member or significant other. The law states you’re committing an act of domestic violence if you do one of the following:
- Attempt to harm another by way of assault, sexual assault, or causes bodily injury to another family member, household member or significant other; OR
- Threaten a family member, household member or significant other with imminent assault, sexual assault or bodily injury
Texas has specific definitions for what’s considered family and dating violence, household member and dating relationship. The following are defined under Texas Family Code § 71.004.
- Household Member –Multiple people sharing the same residence but aren’t related by blood or marriage. Anyone who has moved out of the household could still be considered a member of the household by law.
- Family Violence – Violent acts between relatives of affinity (marriage) or relatives of consanguinity (blood relatives) is considered family violence. Assaultive acts between parents of the same child, foster parents or foster children are also family violence.
- Dating Relationships – This is considered a continuing romantic or intimate relationship. The court will determine if it’s a dating relationship by its length, the nature of the relationship, how often you two saw each other and types of interactions.
- Dating Violence – Assaultive acts against a person you share a dating relationship is called dating violence. It can also include applicants of protective orders served against you.
Some examples of a family or household member include:
- Aunts or uncles;
- Spouses and ex-spouses;
- Foster children or siblings; and
- Foster parents
What is Domestic Assault in Texas?
Domestic assault is essentially an assault charge against another family member, household member or significant other. You could be charged with the crime if you intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly do any of the following:
- Inflict bodily harm against a family member, household member or significant other;
- Threaten to inflict bodily harm against a family member, household member or significant other; or
- Cause physical contact with a family member, household member or significant other with the knowledge that the contact will be seen as offensive or provocative.
Texas defines bodily injury as any physical pain, illness or impairment of a physical condition. It’s important to note you can be charged with domestic assault without laying a finger on anyone. You could be charged for threatening someone in the heat of the moment.
What are the Penalties for Domestic Assault in Texas?
The penalties for domestic assault depend on your criminal history and if you harmed the alleged victim. A threat of physical violence against a household or family member will result in a class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by a $500 fine. Causing bodily injury against your family member or household member could result in a class A misdemeanor. The penalties for a class A misdemeanor include:
- Up to 12 months in county jail; and
- A possible fine of up to $4,000
A previous domestic assault conviction can enhance your penalties even further. If you have been previously convicted of domestic violence, then you could face a third-degree felony, which is punishable by:
- Up to 10 years in prison; and
- A possible fine of up to $10,000
Intentionally impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of a family member or household member is also considered assault. Strangling a family member or household member is a second-degree felony, which is punishable by:
- Up to 20 years in prison; and
- A possible fine of up to $10,000
Domestic Assault Laws in Texas – Visit the official website of the Texas Penal Code to learn more about assault and violent crimes. Access the site to learn more about domestic assault, the penalties, and other domestic violence crimes. Domestic Violence Services – Visit the official website for the Houston Bar Association to gain access to their domestic violence services. Learn more about their domestic service hotline, shelters for domestic violence victims and other resources.
Domestic Violence Lawyer in Harris County, Texas
Have you recently been charged with domestic assault against a family member or significant other? It’s imperative you gain legal representation as soon as possible. A skilled attorney can assess your charges to find the best possible option for you. Call Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. today for quality legal counsel. Our criminal defense attorneys have years of knowledge from defending people accused of domestic violence. We will collect the evidence and chart out a strong defense plan for you. Contact us by phone at (713) 224-5529 to schedule a free consultation. Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. accepts clients throughout the Houston area including Tomball, Bellaire, Pasadena and West University Place.
This article was last updated on March 7th, 2019.