Assault and Assault Family Violence

Assault (including Assault Family Violence or Domestic Violence)

If you are charged with assault, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, assault with serious bodily injury, or assault family violence (domestic violence) in Houston, Texas it is very important to speak with an experienced Houston assault attorney before appearing in court. Leeds Law Firm represents clients in assault cases (both misdemeanor and felony charges) and we are often able to get these cases dismissed, depending on the circumstances. If you or someone you know and care about has been charged with assault, do not just plead guilty and do not hesitate to contact an attorney as the first few hours after the incident occurred can be critical! Contact an experienced Houston assault attorney to find out your rights and possible defenses. Let an experienced legal professional help you get the case dismissed or get the best possible outcome available for you under the law.

What is Misdemeanor Assault Under Texas Law?

In Texas under the Texas Penal Code, a person commits an assault if he/she:

  1. Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person's spouse;
  2. Intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person's spouse; or
  3. Intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.

However, it is important to know that misdemeanor assault is separated into three groups or “classes” under Texas law. The chart below explains the differences between the three classes of misdemeanor assault; Class A, Class B and Class C.

Definitions/Types of Misdemeanor Assault
Class A MisdemeanorClass B MisdemeanorClass C Misdemeanor
If a person causes bodily injury to another, and no other aggravating factors are present; or if a person causes physical contact in a provocative or offensive way against an elderly individual.If a person commits assault against someone who is a sports participant during a performance or in retaliation for a performance.If a person threatens another with bodily harm or causes physical contact in a provocative or offensive way, and no other aggravating factors are present.

When faced with an assault charge in Texas, many people are concerned with what could happen if they are convicted. Some serious questions to consider are the amount of jail time that could result or the amounts of fines that could be charged. The chart below answers these questions as to the Class A, Class B and Class C misdemeanor assault charges:

Jail Time and Fines for Misdemeanor Assault
Class A MisdemeanorClass B MisdemeanorClass C Misdemeanor
Up to 1 year in jail, fine of up to $4,000.Up to 180 days in jail, fine of up to $2,000.Fine of up to $500.

A Class C misdemeanor assault charge can be filed against you based on the word of your accuser alone, with no other evidence. Because of this, it is important to have an experienced Houston assault attorney representing you to make sure your side of the story is told before you are convicted. Even though a fine of $500.00 may not seem like a lot to some, a Class C misdemeanor assault charge can have future negative effects. For example, if an employer does a background check and decides not to hire you because of the conviction or it may affect your ability to obtain a concealed handgun license.

It is also important to know that an assault can also be considered a felony in Texas. Specifically, an assault can be considered a second or a third-degree felony depending on who was the victim of the assault. An experienced Houston assault attorney can advise you as to exactly what type of offense you may be charged with. The chart below briefly explains the types of felony assault charges in Texas:

Definitions/Types of Felony Assault
Second Degree Felony AssaultThird Degree Felony Assault
The assaulted person is an on-duty peace officer or judge. A second-degree felony assault can result in between two and twenty years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.The assaulted person is a public servant, security officer, emergency services personnel, or government official or contractor. A third-degree felony assault can result in between two and ten years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Similar to misdemeanor assault, many people facing a potential felony assault conviction are very concerned with what could happen if they are found guilty. The jail time and fines that could be imposed as a result of a felony assault conviction can be frightening. A person faced with this kind of charge should not take this lightly. The best way to fight against this charge is to hire an experienced Houston assault attorney to make sure someone knowledgeable of the law is fighting for you throughout the case. The chart below explains the jail time and fines that could result if convicted of second or third-degree felony assault in Texas:

Jail Time and Fines for Felony Assault
Second Degree Felony AssaultThird Degree Felony Assault
The assaulted person is an on-duty peace officer or judge. A second-degree felony assault can result in between two and twenty years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.The assaulted person is a public servant, security officer, emergency services personnel, or government official or contractor. A third-degree felony assault can result in between two and ten years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

It is also important to know that in many assault cases you could be ordered to pay what’s called “victim restitution.” Under Texas law, this means that the court could order that a person convicted of assault pay the victim for his/her medical treatment, counseling, or property damage incurred as a result of the assault. This can be very expensive and taxing on you financially. Speaking with a Houston assault attorney when charged with assault could help avoid this financial burden.

What is Assault on a Family Member or Family Violence Under Texas law?

Assault becomes family violence in Texas when the person assaulted is a family or household member of the offender's family or household. A family member or household member can include spouses, former spouses, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, adopted children, roommates, nannies, or domestic partners. A charge of family violence can be an emotional and frightening experience. Any person charged with family violence should contact an experienced Houston assault attorney immediately because acting quickly to secure legal representation can often result in a better outcome.

The legal definition of family violence under the Texas Family Code is:

  1. An act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself.”
  2. Abuse … by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household
  3. "Dating violence…” which is “an act by an individual against another individual with whom that person has or has had a dating relationship and is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself.”
What can Happen if You get Charged With Assault Family Violence?

A conviction for first-time domestic assault is a Class A misdemeanor (up to one yar in jail, fine up to $4,000.00). However, it is important to know that assault family violence can also be a felony charge in the following situations:

  • Aggravated Assault: Serious bodily injury to a victim or using or exhibiting a deadly weapon while carrying out the assault or threat of assault.
    • Aggravated Assault = Second Degree Felony (Up to $10,000 in fines and a prison sentence of two to 20 years)
  • Continuous Violence Against the Family: Two or more domestic assaults in a two-month period, regardless of whether an arrest or a conviction resulted from the prior assaults (even if the previous assault victims were different people).
    • Continuous Violence Against the Family = Third Degree Felony (Up to $10,000 in fines and a prison sentence of two to 10 years)
Get Legal Representation When Facing an Assault Charge in Texas

An experienced Houston assault attorney may be able to get a charge of assault, aggravated assault or assault family violence dismissed. These are serious charges that could affect your life and the life of your family for years, depending on the result. Being able to tell your side of the story and present all possible defenses could be the difference between years in jail and thousands of dollars in fines or a dismissal of the case all together. Don’t fight alone, your life and liberty could depend on having strong legal representation. Leeds Law Firm is experienced in defending against assault charges and works with its clients to get the best possible result. If you or someone you know has been charged with assault, aggravated assault or assault family violence, speak with an experienced Houston assault attorney as soon as possible. Call Leeds Law Firm today and get a free phone consultation.

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