Assault offenses, particularly those causing bodily injury and falling under the category of family violence, are serious legal matters in the state of Texas. These charges can lead to severe consequences, including criminal penalties and personal hardships. To navigate the complexities of assault-related offenses, it is essential to grasp the nuances of Texas law, the potential penalties involved, and the pivotal role of a good defense attorney.
Assault Offenses in Texas: An Overview
Assault offenses in Texas encompass a wide range of behaviors, but they generally involve causing physical harm or the threat of physical harm to another person. Two specific categories of assault offenses frequently encountered are “Assault Causing Bodily Injury” and “Assault Family Violence.”
Assault Causing Bodily Injury
Assault causing bodily injury refers to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily harm to another person. This offense can occur in various contexts and is not limited to family situations. It is a crime that Texas police and prosecutors take seriously and prosecute vigorously.
Assault Family Violence
Assault family violence is a subset of assault offenses that specifically involves acts of violence against family members or individuals who are, or were, in a domestic relationship. It even encompasses people who live in the same household who are not family members and never dated. Texas law defines family violence as any act that is intended to cause harm or fear of harm to a family member, household member, or a current or former romantic partner. These cases are prosecuted as domestic violence, emphasizing the state’s commitment to protecting individuals in domestic settings.
Penalties for Assault Offenses in Texas
The penalties for assault offenses in Texas depend on factors such as the severity of the injury, the relationship between the parties involved, and any prior criminal history. Here is a breakdown of potential penalties:
Assault Causing Bodily Injury: This is typically classified as a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in county jail and fines of up to $4,000. Enhanced penalties may apply for aggravated assault.
Assault Family Violence: Penalties for assault family violence can range from Class C misdemeanors (for minor offenses) to third-degree felonies (for more serious offenses). Felony convictions may result in a prison sentence of up to 99 years or Life in prison, and fines of up to $10,000.
Assault Family Violence-Choking: This offense is typically classfied as a Third Degree Felony. A person can be charged with this level felony when they impede the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of another person by applying pressure to the person’s throat or neck or by blocking the person’s nose or mouth, and the assault is one considered “family violence”. The punishment range for this offense is 2 to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Protective Orders: Convictions for assault family violence often lead to protective orders, restricting contact with the alleged victim and affecting child custody and visitation arrangements.
Affirmative Finding of Family Violence: a conviction for a family violence assaultive offense can lead to the Court entering what is called an “Affirmative Finding of Family Violence”. This makes any future assault family violence charge eligible to be an automatic felony. Additionally, this finding prevents a person from ever possessing a firearm.
Assault and Assault Family Violence charges in Texas are grave matters with significant legal and personal implications. To protect your rights and mount an effective defense, it is imperative to secure the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney. With their expertise, you can navigate the complexities of the legal system, work toward achieving the best possible outcome for your case, and attempt to minimize the life-altering consequences of these charges. Don’t hesitate to consult with David Smith- a Board Certified, Criminal Law — Texas Legal Specialization lawyer, for a free consultation when facing assault-related allegations.