In Texas, the law defines domestic violence as assault. In other words, an assault against a family member falls under the charges of assault or aggravated assault depending on the details and severity of the crime.
Domestic violence is serious, and the law protects family members from abuse. However, the broad interpretation of the law means people often face accusation and arrest with little evidence to support the claim of domestic violence. In these cases, a strong defense aids in the protection of the rights of the accused.
Mary Conn Law provides domestic violence and family member assault defenses for Houston, Texas area clients. Our law firm understands Texas law and how to work within the law to represent client rights.
How Texas Law Defines Assault Against a Family Member
Texas law defines domestic violence as an assault against a family member. Yet, the category of family member doesn’t mean only spouses and children. The category also includes household members and current or past dating partners.
The law defines an assault as intentionally, knowingly, or reckless causing bodily injury, or threatening another with imminent bodily injury. Under these classifications, many different acts fall under assault. However, depending on the perspective of the accused, victim, or witnesses, the actual details of the situation vary.
Like with the legal definition of assault, the penalties for family member assault are also broad. In fact, the charges range from a low-level Class C Misdemeanor, with a fine only to Class A Misdemeanor to First-Degree Felony. That’s a large range with serious consequences.
At the Class A level, the accused faces up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. At the highest level, a felony conviction can include up to a $10,000 fine and life in prison. What starts as a simple argument can quickly escalate to a life changing event.
What is a Protective Order and the Possible Unintended Consequences
In many domestic violence cases, the judge puts in place a Protective Order. The intent of a Protective Order is to protect domestic violence victims from an abuser.
A Protective Order requires the accused to:
- not hurt, threaten, or harass the victim or their children, either directly or through another person
- to stay away from the victim and their family, home, workplace, and children’s daycare or school
- not carry a gun, even with a license
Unfortunately, when a judge orders a Protective Order it also means the accused must find a different place to live if they previously lived with the alleged victim. In addition, a Protective Order can keep a parent from seeing their children.
Arguments can get out of hand. A neighbor or passerby may misinterpret a conflict as assault. Also, during a divorce or child custody case, one spouse may claim domestic violence when it hasn’t occurred. In these cases, a Protective Order does more harm than good causing the accused their freedom and financial hardship.
Criminal Defense for Assault of a Family Member
When the police respond to a domestic violence call, they usually make an arrest. If this occurs, you need criminal defense representation quickly. The faster we get to work for you, the better defense we can build. In fact, the police often don’t even question the accused and take the word of the victim. You need a strong defense.
At Mary Conn Law, we provide the right defense for clients accused of assault of a family member. Often after everyone calms down, the alleged victim realizes the seriousness of the charges and wishes they’d responded differently. We’re here to help you and your family navigate the difficult situation of a domestic violence charge.
Moving Forward After a Family Member Assault Charge
You don’t have to face domestic violence issues alone. The Mary Conn Law Firm is here to help. We want to assist you in moving forward. Contact us today to request a consultation.