There are three main kinds of domestic violence in Texas. The state has a wide range of domestic abuse laws. They apply to offenses against spouses, former spouses or other family members.
Domestic violence can be a misdemeanor or a felony. If the defendant has no prior convictions for assault it’s likely to be treated as a Class A misdemeanor.
If there are previous convictions the crime becomes a third-degree felony.
If you are convicted of a domestic assault, you have intentionally, knowingly or recklessly caused bodily harm or injury to another individual. You can also be found guilty of domestic assault for threatening another party with imminent bodily injury.
Three Main Types of Domestic Violence Offense
Assault on a Family Member
A first time assault on a family member is charged as a Class A Misdemeanor. It carries a jail sentence of up to a year and a fine of $4,000. A conviction means you will have an affirmative finding of domestic violence that stays on your record even of you have a deferred adjudication and complete it. You will be barred from owning a firearm under federal law.
If you have a previous domestic violence conviction, the new indictment will be a third-degree felony. The punishment will range from two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Aggravated Domestic Assault
If you cause serious bodily injury or use a weapon in a domestic assault, you are likely to face an aggravated assault charge. It’s a second-degree felony. Punishment ranges from 2 to 20 years in prison and you may be fined as much as a $10,000. If you cause serious bodily injury to the victim and use a weapon, you may face a first-degree felony. You would face punishment ranging from 5 years to life in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000.
What is Serious Bodily Injury in Domestic Violence Cases?
A broken bone, loss of a limb, disfigurement such as an acid injury, a serious head or brain injury, all constitute serious bodily injury.
However, any injury that requires hospital treatment or a type of surgery can be a serious body injury.
What is a Deadly Weapon in Domestic Violence Cases?
Firearms are the weapons most likely to fall into the deadly weapons category, but there are many others. Large knives, bats and brass knuckles are also considered deadly weapons. A motor vehicle can be a deadly weapon if it’s used to run someone down.
Continuous Domestic Violence Against Members of Your Family
When a defendant commits two domestic assaults within 12 months against a family member, it’s considered continuous domestic violence. It’s a third degree felony. You can be convicted of continuous violence against family without having two previous assaults resulting in an arrest.
However, there are a number of defenses to assault and domestic violence. An experienced Texas criminal defense lawyer can also make effective arguments about whether an assault even took place in a legal sense. If you are facing assault or domestic violence charges and you want an experienced and knowledgeable Austin attorney to defend you, please contact our office.