Assault and Domestic Violence

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“Assault – Bodily Injury” and “Assault – Family Member” are two very different types of cases in Texas.  Both types of cases are serious, but Assault-Family Member is a bit more complicated.  Assault on a family member is technically not listed in the Texas Penal Code, but if you are charged with an assault and the victim is your spouse, child, family member, or someone with whom you are having a romantic relationship you can be charged with Assault on a family member.

Many times a charge like this will come with a MOEP (Magistrates Order for Emergency Protection).  A judge can issue this for up to 2 years to keep you away from the victim.  Many times these orders are issued whether or not the victim wants it.  In order to get the MOEP removed, the victim will have to come to court and request this from the judge.  However, there is no guarantee the judge will approve the removal of the MOEP, even through a victim request.

In order to find you guilty the state has to prove you:

  1. Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to someone else
  2. Intentionally or knowingly threatening someone else with imminent bodily injury
  3. 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

It is important to realize that you can be charged with this crime for a variety of different reasons.  These reasons could range from physically hitting a family member to only threatening a family member.

Assault on a family member is charged as a Class A Misdemeanor.  This means that you can be punished with up to one year in jail and a $4000 fine.  If you are found guilty of an assault on a family member you will have an affirmative finding of domestic violence on your record (even if you get deferred adjudication and complete it!).  If you already have an affirmative finding of domestic violence from a previous crime, the new case will be charged as a 3rd degree felony, with punishment ranging from 2 to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

However, if during the crime you cause serious bodily injury OR use a weapon you could be charged with Aggravated Assault on a family member.  This is a 2nd degree felony with punishment ranging from 2 to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.  Finally, if you cause serious bodily injury AND use a weapon you could be charged with a 1st degree felony.  The crime would then have punishment ranging from 5 years to life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

There are a few additional points that are important to understand.  First of all, this is one of the few crimes in the state of Texas that an officer can arrest you without actually witnesses the incident.  All the cop needs is statements from the victim/witnesses that create enough probable cause for him to think that a crime was committed.  Also, if you are convicted on this charge, even if it’s only a misdemeanor you will not be allowed to possess a firearm for up to 5 years from the end of your jail sentence or the end of your probation.  Once your punishment is complete you will not be eligible for any sort of firearm license, you will only be able to have a gun present in your own household.

It is very important to have a competent lawyer represent you in this type of case. At Benavides & Serrano, PLLC you can find a competent Houston Assault Attorney.

Call Benavides & Serrano at 713-222-2828.


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