Assault-Family Member is a unique charge. You definitely need a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney to help you. What makes it so unique is the person really doesn’t even need to be a family member. It can be a roommate, a girlfriend, or even someone that you used to live with. Of course it also applies to other family members such as children, wives, brothers/sisters, etc.
One thing that usually accompanies a charge of Assault of a Family Member is a Magistrates Order of Emergency Protection (a restraining/no-contact order). Typically (in Harris County) they are 61 days for a misdemeanor and 91 days for a felony. However, if someone goes through a civil court to get the order, it can be up to 2 years. The ones that are given in court can be signed by the judge even if the family members are no longer mad at one another. It is very difficult for a lawyer to remove this order within the 2 or 3 months that it is intact.
For this particular type of crime the elements are…
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to someone else
- Intentionally or knowingly threatening someone else with imminent bodily injury
- Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative
Assault – family member is a Class A Misdemeanor. A Class A misdemeanor carries a range of punishment of up to one year in jail and up to a $4000 fine. If found guilty, you will get what the state likes to call “an affirmative finding of family violence” on your record. That will be on your record for the rest of your life. Basically what that means is if you ever pick up a Class A Assault-FM in the future it will be enhanced to a felony.
But, if during the alleged assault you cause serious bodily injury or use a weapon against the “victim” you could be charged with Aggravated Assault on a family member which is a 2nd degree felony. A 2nd degree felony carries a range of punishment of 2 to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. More commonly in Harris county, we see Aggravated Assault-FM by impeding breath. This is the typical charge you will see when there is an allegation of “choking”.
It is very important to have a competent Criminal Lawyer in Houston when handling one of these cases. They are defendable, and there are many potential avenues to keep this from going on your record. A Houston Criminal Defense Attorney that has seem multiple Assault-FM cases should have no problem explaining what possible defenses and outcomes they see in your particular case.