Enhanced Domestic Assault under Texas Law
In Texas, assault on a family member—better known as “domestic assault”—is a serious criminal offense. Although Texas law generally treats domestic assault as a misdemeanor, the charge may be enhanced to a felony if you have a previous domestic assault conviction. If you are facing a felony charge for assault on family, you should know how Texas law defines the crime and what penalties you could face if convicted.
Assault on family has a broad definition under Texas law. It includes violence against anyone who lives with you, anyone you are related to by law or by blood, and anyone with whom you have had a romantic relationship. Any physical contact can be considered assault, even if it causes no bodily harm, if the contact is deemed “offensive or provocative.” (See Texas Penal Code, Title 5, Chapter 22.). It is also assault if you threaten to physically hurt someone, even if no physical contact occurs.
Domestic assault is normally considered a Class A misdemeanor in Texas. However, if you have previously been convicted of assault on a family member, the charge is enhanced to a third degree felony. If you have a previous conviction and the present offense involves choking or suffocation, it may be charged as a second degree felony, which carries even heavier consequences.
Penalties for a Felony Assault on Family
If you are convicted of a felony assault on family, the consequences are severe. With a third degree felony conviction, you could go to jail for 2 to 10 years and be required to pay a fine of up to $10,000. If you are charged with a second degree felony because the offense involved choking or suffocation, you could go to jail for as many as 20 years. In both cases, you may also have to make restitution payments to the victim.
If you are being charged with felony assault on a family member in Texas, you should seek experienced legal counsel at once. An experienced defense attorney can help you present the best legal defense possible for your case. Houston defense attorney Carl Haggard has a verifiable winning record defending clients against domestic assault charges. Call (832) 328-0600 or use the contact form to request a free confidential consultation.
Domestic Violence Resources
Texas Family Violence Legal Information