Domestic violence crimes are defined broadly in Texas. They include assaults committed against any family member, a household member, or a current or past dating partner. Thousands of men and women are accused of domestic violence each year. Every allegation of domestic violence is serious, and you need an attorney who will use the right criminal defense for domestic violence to dismiss the charges or limit their impact.
Three Different Crimes of Domestic Violence in Texas
There are three different crimes of domestic violence in Frisco, Texas: 1) domestic assault, 2) domestic aggravated assault, and 3) continuous violence against the family.
- Domestic Assault
You are guilty of domestic assault if you commit an assault against a family member, a household member, or a current or past dating partner. This may include violence against an individual with whom you have a child, a foster child, or a family member by blood, adoption, or marriage.
An assault is one of three things under Texas law:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person;
- Intentionally or knowingly threatening another person with imminent bodily injury; or
- Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another that you know or reasonably should know that the victim will find provocative or offensive.
The definition of domestic assault includes both physical violence (kicking, punching, slapping, or raping) and also threatening physical violence. Even if you don’t intentionally cause injury, if you act without regard for the consequences, you can be charged with assault.
Punishment for domestic assault crimes varies depending on whether or not you have any prior domestic assault convictions. If you have no prior domestic assault convictions, it is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable from up to one year in jail or a fine of up to $4,000 or both. If you have a prior domestic assault conviction or there was strangulation (choking), it is classified as a third-degree felony and punishable from two to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Aggravated Domestic Assault
You are guilty of aggravated domestic assault if you commit an aggravated assault against a family member, a household member, or a current or past dating partner.
Under Texas criminal law, it is aggravated assault when you do one of two things:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause serious bodily injury to another person; or
- Use or exhibit a deadly weapon in the course of committing any assault crime, including threatening another with bodily injury or engaging in conduct that the victim will find offensive.
Serious bodily injury means any significant physical injury, such as a broken bone, disfigurement, loss of a limb, a severe head injury, or any injury that results in surgery or hospitalization.
A deadly weapon is any object that is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury and is used in a manner likely to produce that result. Examples include: a gun, a rope if being used to strangle, or baseball bat if swung at a person’s head.
Aggravated assault is a first-degree felony if it was committed with a deadly weapon and caused serious bodily injury. First-degree felonies are punishable from five to ninety-nine years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. All other aggravated assaults are classified as second-degree felonies and punishable from two to twenty years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Continuous Violence Against the Family
You are guilty of continuous violence against the family if you commit two domestic violence assaults in a twelve month period. The assaults do not need to have resulted in convictions or even an arrest. Additionally, the assaults do not need to have been committed against the same person.
Continuous violence against the family is a third-degree felony, which is punishable from two to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Why Do You Need a Criminal Defense Attorney?
Being a convicted felon for a domestic violence crime can have a huge impact on your life. It becomes part of your criminal record. It can cause you to lose rights, like the ability to carry a firearm. A domestic violence conviction can also have implications for child custody orders. Employment and education prospects may be placed in jeopardy, and personal relationships will be affected.
It is important to hire a criminal defense attorney in Frisco, Texas who will fight aggressively to protect your rights and build a strong defense. Call the Law Office of Philip D. Ray today at (469) 588-6770.