Does Assault On A Family Member Increase Charges In Texas?
Domestic violence in Texas is a serious matter. If you are convicted of family violence, you face severe penalties. Anyone charged with assaulting a family member should understand the charge they face and other critical information. Learn more below, then reach out to a League City domestic violence defense attorney at Mark Diaz & Associates for legal assistance.
Assault Against A Family Member – First Offense
Receiving the first conviction for assault against a family member is a class A misdemeanor. After the first conviction, you can be charged with a felony for a subsequent offense. However, when there is a complex domestic dispute, the police in League city may make a hasty arrest without all the facts.
Being charged can make your life hell even if you are acquitted of violence against a family member. In addition, the mere allegation of family violence against you can damage your reputation and career. That is why retaining a League City domestic violence defense attorney early on can be the wisest money you have ever spent.
Assault Against A Family Member In Texas
Did you know that almost 1/3 of everyone in Texas has been abused by a domestic partner? The crime of domestic violence against a partner in Texas involves the following:
- An act of domestic violence that is done against anyone who lives in your home that is related to you by blood or romantic involvement. This does not involve acts of self-defense that you need to protect yourself. However, it does include threats that put someone in your family in fear of being attacked.
- Any act of abuse toward a child or member of the household.
- Any act that involves dating violence. This can include threats that would cause a person to fear they are being threatened by imminent harm.
Remember that Texas law is neutral on who is assaulted. This means that criminal charges can be filed against both men and women. It is not unusual for women to be charged with assault on a family member in Texas. National statistics show that one out of nine men in the United States has been abused in a domestic relationship.
Further, it is common for the wrong person to be accused or arrested in these situations. In the chaos of a domestic disturbance, what happened may not be immediately clear. If you think you are wrongly accused or arrested, please speak to a domestic violence defense attorney.
Continuous Violence Against The Family
The prosecutor also can charge certain offenders with continuous violence against the family. This is a case where facts show involvement with at least two family assaults in the last year. This enhanced state charge can apply even if an earlier crime did not lead to an arrest or conviction. This also can be charged when the assaults were against another person.
So, the prosecutor can use family member testimony who claims you committed violence against them in the last year. If that happens, you may face a first-degree felony. The law states in continuous violence cases that jurors do not need to agree on the earlier charges unanimously. The prosecutor only needs a majority to decide that you had at least one domestic violence act in the past.
Penalties for Assault On A Family Member
In Texas, there are penalties for domestic assault as misdemeanors and felonies. Domestic assault that involves a threat of harm or offensive contact is a class C misdemeanor that a $500 fine can punish. If the person has a bodily injury, it is a class A misdemeanor that can be punished by a $4,000 fine and a year in jail.
If the act is a felony, this means it involves injury. For example, a third-degree felony may result in a 2 to 10-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine. However, aggravated domestic assault involves serious bodily injury. Therefore, it is a first-degree felony that is punishable by five to 99 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
You must take the matter seriously if you have a family violence protective order against you. Failure to follow the order can cause severe consequences. You could be charged with contempt of court. This can lead to a $500 fine or up to six months in jail. Several protective order violations can get you a felony charge in addition to the other criminal charges against you.
Other Consequences For Domestic Assault On A Family Member
You can receive other conditions and restrictions in a family violence case. First, know that the police can arrest you if they have probable cause that you committed family violence. They do not need a warrant to take you into custody.
Law enforcement must stay at the scene as long as they need to keep the peace and verify the assault. However, Texas does not have a mandatory arrest policy for domestic violence.
Bail and Bond Conditions
Bond conditions in Texas for a family violence case may include ordering the person to stay away from the victim. They also may have to have GPS monitoring and not be allowed to own firearms. In addition, after you are arrested for assault on a family member involving severe bodily injury, the judge can order emergency protection.
Before you can be released as a suspect, the police must make a reasonable effort to tell the alleged victim. Then, the police officer can hold you for up to four more hours if they believe the release could lead to violence. The judge also can order you to be detained for two more days if you have a family violence history.
The domestic violence charge and case can make it challenging to keep your job and find another one. Employers regularly scour public records to look for criminal charges and convictions. A family violence crime on your permanent record is a red flag. This charge can cut you off from excellent opportunities.
Professional Licensing And Education
You can lose out on attractive educational and licensing opportunities. In addition, many professional licenses can be canceled or suspended with the crime, including a commercial driver’s license and real estate license.
If you need to be licensed or certified for employment, you could have many challenges to staying in your profession after the case is over.
Loans And Small Businesses
If you have a criminal conviction on your record, it is accessible by the public. Banks and other financial organizations will check your record if you want a business or personal loan. If you own a business, your reputation will suffer when the charge becomes public. An assault on a family member charge can be particularly damaging in the court of public opinion.
You could forfeit your right to own firearms if you are convicted in Texas of family violence. This is usually a ban for life. However, you may be able to possess a gun again if you get a pardon or the charge is expunged.
How To Beat A Texas Domestic Assault Charge
If you are on this page, you may wonder how to beat a Texas domestic violence or assault charge. It is challenging, but your criminal defense attorney will try.
First, your attorney may try to prove the assault allegation is false. If there is a divorce or child custody issue, the attorney can look for signs they are making a false accusation to hurt you.
Second, they can try to prove you were not the aggressive party, and they attacked you. Again, this can be challenging to prove, but a League City domestic violence attorney may be able to help.
Third, they can try to show you acted in self-defense. For instance, if you punched the other person when they tried to push you down, this could be an act of self-defense.
Also, when the police respond to a domestic violence call, they must defuse the situation as quickly as possible. They must do anything to protect everyone at the scene from harm. The police may take your spouse’s word over yours about the alleged incident.
The police report might say who they believed was at fault. However, a strong criminal defense attorney will do their own investigation and learn what happened. Then, your experienced Texas family violence defense lawyer will go through the statements and claims to get the best picture and make the best defense.
Domestic Assault Charges In Texas Cannot Be Removed
Additionally, domestic assault charges can be dropped by the League City prosecutor. But if the charges are not dropped, the record cannot be sealed or removed. The assault charge will stay on your record for life.
This means that a domestic assault charge against you when you were as young as 21 could forever stick on your record. This can follow you in college, the military, work, and more. These severe consequences require you to fight them with an excellent domestic assault attorney.
Talk To A League City Domestic Assault Attorney
If you have been accused of domestic assault, you could face severe consequences. Our domestic violence attorneys can help. We serve the communities of Texas City, Tiki Island, Alvin, Algoa, Santa Fe, Hitchcock, La Marque, Bayou Vista, San Leon, Dickinson, Kemah, Clear Lake Shores, and Friendswood. Contact us today at 409-515-6170 for legal assistance.