One of the most common types of criminal offenses filed in the State of Texas is assault-family violence (commonly known as domestic violence). The vast majority of assault-family violence cases filed in Texas and the Greater Houston area are for first-time arrests and charged as misdemeanors. But assault-family violence can be charged as a felony in many circumstances depending on the nature of the allegation and the criminal history or the defendant.
What Is Assault-Family Violence?
All forms of assault-family violence share the same basic definition: an unconsented to touching that causes physical pain against a family member, member of the household, or person in a dating relationship with the Defendant. Additional factors, like choking, serious bodily injury, or use of a weapon, can be used to “enhance” a normal assault-family violence case to a felony. Below are the most common ways that assault family violence can be charged in Texas:
- First-time cases: Class “A” misdemeanor punishable by up to a one year in jail and a $4000 fine.
- Previous conviction cases: Third-degree felony punishable by 2-10 years in the Texas Department of Corrections (TDCJ) and a $10,000 fine.
- Cases committed against a pregnant person: Third-degree felony punishable by 2-10 years in TDCJ and a $10,000 fine.
- Cases involving choking or impeding of breath: Third-degree felony punishable by 2-10 years in TDCJ and a $10,000 fine.
- Cases causing serious bodily injury or involving the use of a deadly weapon: Second-degree felony punishable by 2-20 years in TDCJ and a $10,000 fine.
- Cases causing serious bodily injury and involving the use of a deadly weapon: First-degree felony punishable by 5-99 years in TDCJ and a $10,000 fine.
- Two more instances of assault-family violence with a twelve-month period: Third-degree felony punishable by 2-10 years in TDCJ and a $10,000 fine.
What Do Charges Entail?
Probation is a possibility after a conviction with most of these variations of assault-family violence, but you should speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney to fully understand the potential consequences of your case. Even if you are granted a deferred adjudication, you may not get your records sealed under Texas law (also called a “non-disclosure”) and a judge can order jail time as a condition of probation.
It is important to realize that a domestic violence case can be dismissed, or reduced to a lower charge with a lower range of punishment. An experienced criminal defense attorney should have a clear strategy to defend a domestic violence case. The goal should always be protecting your freedom and your record. Although any criminal conviction can create personal and professional problems, assault-family violence cases are especially problematic because unless a charge is dismissed, it will always appear on your record in some form.
Contact An Experienced Assault-Family Violence Defense Lawyer Today!
If you are charged with any form of assault-family violence, it is very important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible so that you can understand the consequences and the possibilities for keeping the charge off of your record. Attorney Jose Ceja regularly handles domestic violence cases throughout the Greater Houston area, including Houston, Pasadena, Pearland, Galveston, Sugar Land, Richmond, Conroe and the Woodlands. Call today to schedule a free consultation.