Assault on a Family Member is a serious offense as the State of Texas sees it as a possible precursor to a more heinous crime – at best, and indicative of ongoing abuse – at least. However, every case is different and the State of Texas is never on the side of the defendant to the degree of a defense attorney.
How are Family Members Defined?
Legally speaking, Assault/Family Violence is prescribed to instances in which an assaultive offense occurs between two people who are in a relationship, are family members, take up habitation in the same domicile or once did.
Outlined below is a list of factors or examples which may qualify a person as a family member as it relates to the Texas Penal Code and family assault cases.
- A current spouse.
- A former spouse.
- Foster parents & children.
- A person the defendant has children with.
- All family members including family members by blood, adoption, and marriage.
- A person the offender is taking up residency with.
- A person the accused has dated or had a romantic relationship with previously.
Common Arrest Situations
In many of these cases, the police were called during a fit of rage or frustration on the part of one of the involved parties. In most of these instances, the complainant will try to have the charges dropped to no avail, as this decision now lies in the hands of the Office of the Harris County Dist. Atty. Which is unlikely to abandon pursuit of a conviction.
Defining Family Violence
Misdemeanor Domestic Assault on a Family Member
Assault is defined as any action to harm the victim and/or a threat to do so. In these cases of simple assault, the most severe charge is usually a Class A Misdemeanor. However, if the offender has a previous charge, the Dist. Atty’s office will pursue the case as a 3rd Degree Felony.
Felony Domestic Assault on a Family Member
However, in cases where choking occurred to the extent that the victim’s breathing was impeded, 3rd Degree felony charges will apply. In Texas, 3rd Degree Felony convictions carry a 10,000.00 fine and a prison sentence that ranges from 2 to 10 years.
Family violence or “domestic assault on a family member” is considered a serious crime indicative of the moral turpitude of the offender. If you’re convicted of “assault on a family member” you won’t qualify to have the criminal record expunged. In other words, if you’re innocent, and feel you’ve been lied on and wrongfully charged, you’ll need to hire a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible to start the ball rolling on defending your rights.