Domestic Assault and Texas Law
Assault on a family member, or “domestic assault,” is a serious crime under Texas law. Domestic assault is normally treated as a misdemeanor, but in cases that involve choking or suffocation, it becomes a felony and carries heavier penalties. If you are being charged with felony assault on a family member, it is important to understand how the crime is defined under Texas law and what the potential consequences are.
In Texas, assault on family covers more than what might typically be considered domestic violence. It includes violence against any family member by relation, marriage, or adoption; anyone the accused has dated; or any person living in the same household as the accused. It’s important to know that you don’t have to physically harm someone to be charged with assault. Any physical contact, or even simply threatening to hurt someone, may be considered assault under certain circumstances.
Although many cases of domestic assault are considered Class A misdemeanors, Texas law treats domestic assault as a third degree felony if the accused “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly” hindered the victim’s normal breathing or circulation. This includes strangling or covering the person’s nose or mouth. (See Texas Penal Code, Title 5, Chapter 22.) If you have a previous conviction for domestic assault, the offense may be treated even more seriously as a second degree felony.
Being Convicted of a Felony Assault on Family
A conviction for domestic assault that involves choking or suffocation carries severe penalties. This type of assault is classed as a third degree felony, which carries a jail sentence of 2 to 10 years and a fine of as much as $10,000. If you are charged with a second degree felony because of a previous conviction, you can go to jail for as many as 20 years. Under Texas law, you may also be required to make restitution payments to the victim.
Domestic Violence Resources
Texas Family Violence Legal Information