Potential Penalties Increase for Assaulting a Pregnant Woman

By Peek & Toland on August 24, 2019

Currently, an assault against a pregnant woman carries the same penalties as an assault against other persons. The only exception was for individuals who targeted pregnant women to induce them to have abortions, which results in enhanced charges. Both situations result in Class A misdemeanor assault charges that carry the potential for up to one year in jail. As of September 1, 2019, however, the penalties will increase for those who knowingly assault pregnant women.

Governor Greg Abbott recently signed House Bill 902 into law. Under this law, individuals who assault women whom they know or should have known were pregnant at the time of the assault can face third-degree felony charges. The penalties for a third-degree felony conviction can include a prison sentence ranging from two to ten years.  

Potential Penalties Increase for Assaulting a Pregnant Woman

The new enhancement to the assault statute for pregnant women closely tracks enhancements already existing in the assault law for certain classes of people who are the targets of an assault. For example, assault against public servants engaged in their official duties elevates the charge to a third-degree felony. Other classes of individuals that can trigger enhanced assault charges include:

  • Family and household members in some circumstances
  • Government contractors working in correctional facilities
  • Security officers
  • Emergency services personnel

Enhanced assault charges also apply to individuals who are committed to civil commitment facilities when they assault officers, employees, or contractors who work at the facilities. Other groups of people whose assault can result in enhanced charges include judges, peace officers, elderly or disabled persons, and sports participants, in some circumstances.

Peek & Toland dedicates a large part of its practice to assisting individuals in resolving their criminal charges. We know that criminal proceedings can be intimidating and overwhelming for those who are facing potential penalties for criminal charges. We will work with you to achieve the most favorable outcome possible in your situation. Call our office today and set up a consultation with our skilled criminal defense attorneys today.

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Self Defense and Assault Charges

By Peek & Toland on June 27, 2019

An assault charge can result from a variety of situations. Whether an argument, a fight, or an attack, one of the most commonly used defenses in response to an assault charge is self-defense. Fighting back tends to be an automatic reaction when someone is assaulting you. However, it can result in an assault charge, and if you use a weapon or cause severe injuries to the other person, it can result in an aggravated assault charge.

The prosecutor has the burden of proof in assault cases. This means that not only must the prosecutor prove that you committed the crime, but he or she also must prove that you committed the crime with the requisite criminal intent. More specifically, there must be proof that you intentionally harmed or threatened the other person in anger or with malice. If you are claiming that you committed the assault in self-defense, but without any intentions of harming anyone, then it is essential to understand that you must receive a threat of violence to use self-defense against another person. Although you do not have to wait for the person to strike you or throw the first punch, there does need to be a clear threat of violence or to your safety to claim self-defense.

Self-Defense and Assault Charges

Claiming self-defense can be complicated in some assault cases, especially if you started the fight or were the first aggressor. However, even if you started the fight, but the other person elevated the altercation to use deadly force, then you could use deadly force in self-defense. Mainly, the level of force that you use in defending yourself must be at the same level of the threat of violence against you. No matter the type of criminal law issue you are facing, the skilled and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers of Peek & Toland are here to assist you. We handle many different types of criminal cases every day and have the kind of strategic experience and skills that are necessary to reach the desired outcome. By calling our office as quickly as possible after your criminal issue arises, we will have the best opportunity to resolve your case successfully.

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Texas Sees Increase in Domestic Violence Crimes

By Peek & Toland on October 6, 2016

Domestic violence crimes are some of the most common offenses in Texas and gun crimes against family members in Texas appear to be increasing.

The claim was made before a debate on Texas Public Radio after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a law that bans gun ownership against people with domestic violence convictions in the case of Voisine v. United States.

The decision means you cannot own a gun if you have been convicted of a domestic violence felony or a misdemeanor.

Domestic violence crimes increase in Texas

The radio report said Texas is experiencing a rise in the number of women being killed in domestic violence crimes.

Nailya Fuller, a spokeswoman for Family Violence Prevention Services in San Antonio, said the statewide numbers are alarming. She said in 2011, 102 women were killed in domestic violence incidents. That number rose to 114 the year after, to 119 in 2013 and to 132 in 2014.

Nationally, a woman is more likely to be killed by a male partner than any other individual and nearly 4,000 women die each year due to domestic violence.

While most domestic violence crimes are committed by men, there have also been some well-documented attacks by women. In June a mother killed her two children in a shooting rampage in a Houston suburb, Fox News reported.

Defenses to Domestic Violence Crimes

Although the scale of domestic violence is alarming in Texas, every year we see cases that may not be as they first appear. When the family dynamic goes wrong, emotions run high and there is scope for false claims and exaggeration. A family member can commit an assault or an aggravated assault by merely threatening a family member.

To prove charges of aggravated assault, a prosecutor must not only prove that an assault occurred, but that a dangerous or deadly weapon was used to carry out the assault.

There are a number of defenses available. A threat may have been more ambiguous than the accuser alleges, you may have been acting in self-defense or the weapon involved may not have been of the deadly nature necessary to constitute an aggravated assault.

If you believe a spouse or other family members is seeking to bring domestic violence charges against you, it’s important to take action. Talk to an experienced criminal defense attorney, document your concerns and tell friends or family members. Gather evidence of erratic behavior and change all your login details to bank accounts and other important sites.

If you have been charged with any of the domestic violence crimes, call our experienced Austin criminal defense attorneys for a confidential consultation at (512) 474-4445.

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