Spending time with your family or a loved one should be peaceful and not a place of stress and worry. Unfortunately, disputes sometimes happen. In the state of Texas, domestic violence or assault family violence is a crime. Depending on the intensity of the allegation and prior criminal history, assault of a family member can be a misdemeanor or charged up to a first-degree felony and get you up to 99 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.
Types of Assault
There are several major types of assault when it comes to a family member. Some of the most common charges are as follows:
- Assault with the injury of a family member. This is a class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a third-degree felony for a second offense.
- Assault with injury and impediment breath or strangulation. This is a third-degree felony.
- Continuous violence against the family. This is when there are two or more acts of family violence within 12 months and is a third-degree felony.
- Aggravated assault. This is an assault where the victim incurs serious bodily injury or a deadly weapon is exhibited during the commission of an assault. This can be a first or second-degree felony depending on the circumstances and relationship to the victim.
- Indecent Assault and Sexual Assault. Indecent assault is a class A misdemeanor and Sexual assaults are varying degrees of felonies depending on the conduct and age of the victim.
For all of these, family is defined as more than just the people you are directly related to. Texas includes family members to be:
- A current or former spouse
- A child of a current or former spouse
- A person the defendant has dated or been in a romantic relationship with
- A person the offender has had a child or children with
- A foster child
- A foster parent
- A family member by blood, marriage, or adoption
- Someone the offender lives with
Family Violence and Domestic Assault
Family Violence in Texas is defined as any act of assault against a family member. This can include:
- causing bodily injury to another person either intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly
- threatening another person with imminent bodily injury either intentionally or knowingly
- physical contact with a person the offender either intentionally or knowingly
A first time Assault with Injury Family Violence charge is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail or probation. If it is a second offense then the punishment is much more severe typically charged as a third-degree felony with a punishment range of two to ten years in prison. However, certain criminal conduct or criminal history could make the punishment range more severe.
If there is physical contact with a victim, but no injury it is a significantly less serious charge. This is called an offensive touching charge and it is a Class C misdemeanor. This can be punished by fine only (No jail time).
Aggravated Assault of a Family Member
Aggravated assault of a family member is a more serious form of domestic assault. The biggest differences between assault family violence and aggravated assault are that the person is alleged to have intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caused serious bodily injury, or they exhibited a deadly weapon, including threatening the victim or engaging in conduct that the victim finds offensive.
If aggravated assault of a family member with a deadly weapon leads to serious bodily injury, the crime is a first-degree felony. Any other aggravated domestic assault charges are a minimum of a second-degree felony.
What Are the Different Types of Aggravated Assault?
Aggravated assault is actually a larger term that covers three different types of charges that might be included in domestic assault cases. Those three charges are:
- Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon
- Aggravated assault with serious bodily injury
- Aggravated sexual assault
Each crime is individually charged, which means that depending on the details of the alleged actions that were taken, it is possible for a defendant to be convicted of multiple charges of aggravated assault for the same action.
What Is the Difference Between Bodily Injury and Serious Bodily Injury?
Serious bodily injury is a bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ. For example, a broken foot or losing teeth could be considered a serious bodily injury.
Bodily injury includes all other forms of injury like scrapes, bruises, and cuts. In some instances, smaller medical procedures, As to whether an injury is considered serious bodily injury or just merely bodily injury is potentially an issue for a jury to decide.
What Is Considered a Deadly Weapon?
There are obvious items that are deadly weapons like a firearm, brass knuckles, or knife. However, other common items around the house can be considered a deadly weapon if they are used in a manner likely to cause serious injury or death. In some instances, the prosecution can allege hands and feet as deadly weapons.
For example, a rope is not always a deadly weapon, but if used with the intention to strangle someone, it can be considered one. This means that everyday household objects can be considered a deadly weapon if used with the intention to hurt or kill the victim. In this same space, your vehicle can also be considered a deadly weapon.
Continuous Violence Against the Family
If someone has been accused of assault family violence twice or more in a period of twelve months, they can be charged with continuous violence against the family. This is a third-degree felony. The previous charges of assault family violence do not have to be against the same victim. Also, the previous accusations do not need to result in a conviction.
The Law Office of Eric Harron Can Help
If you are being charged with a domestic assault crime, you need a lawyer like Eric Harron. Any criminal conviction becomes part of your permanent criminal record and can result in losing your ability to possess a firearm, obtain a hunting or fishing license, and can put at risk your job or education. Being convicted with assault family violence can change your life, and it’s important that you protect yourself and your future with an experienced lawyer.
Eric Harron has offices in Travis County and Williamson County and serves all of central Texas including Hays and Bell Counties. He knows the law and can help you. If you are wondering if an allegation of assault on a family member is a felony, Call us today to set up an appointment. We can help you navigate through the law and find solutions for you.