Dallas Assault Family Violence Attorney
Texas Domestic Violence Laws & Criminal Defense Process
Assault cases in Texas carry serious consequences that extend beyond the criminal punishments. If you are accused of committing an assault, contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options and to adequately prepare a defense. Assault offenses in the state of Texas are defined in Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code. Assault can range from a Class C Misdemeanor to a Felony. Here, we will discuss the most common type of assaults in Texas.
The single most commonly alleged assaultive crime in Texas is a Class A Misdemeanor Assault Causes Bodily Injury involving a Family Member. As defined by the Texas Family Code Section 71.003, family includes individuals related by consanguinity or affinity, individuals who are former spouses of each other, individuals who are parents of the same child, without regard to marriage, and a foster child and parent, without regard to whether those individuals reside together. The bodily injury aspect of the statute can vary from a slight red mark to a broken bone. As long as the other person felt pain, it is considered a bodily injury.
- Arrest - Once the police are called for this type of case, SOMEONE is getting arrested! Even when the other party does not wish to press charges, Family Violence is an area where the officers will let the State decide whether they want to pursue the charges or not.
- Bond - To be released from jail, a person accused of Assault Family Violence will have to post a bond. Bond can be in the form of cash or surety. Surety means you can go to a bond company and usually only pay 10% of the actual bond. In addition, assault family violence cases usually result in the accused person having special conditions placed on his or her release from jail. One condition can be to not return to the residence of the complaining witness and to not have any contact with the complaining witness.
- What if the complaining witness does not want to press charges? - The fact that the complaining witness does not want to press charges is not a guarantee that charges will be dropped/dismissed. The prosecutor will take into consideration a complaining witness wishes when deciding how to settle a case. Most prosecutors’ offices now have a policy where they will not dismiss an Assault Family Violence case. They will first evaluate the case to determine the severity of the assault. Next, they will look at the pictures and any available evidence. For example, the ADA will listen to the 911 audio to determine if the complaining witness described the accused and the alleged assault. Finally, they will also take into consideration the accused’s criminal history to determine what they will offer. All of these factors can weigh in the defendant’s favor with the right representation.
- Defenses - Fortunately, there are defenses to a charge of Assault Family Violence. Often, there is little or no physical evidence. It is not uncommon for officers to not take pictures of the complaining witness or if he does the injuries cannot be seen. If the case is not dismissed before trial, the credibility of the accuser can often be effectively challenged at trial. Just because you were arrested for this crime does not mean you are automatically guilty. The most common defense available in assault cases is “self-defense.” You are entitled to defend yourself even if a woman is the aggressor.
- Consequences - Assault Family Violence cases, although initially only a Class A misdemeanor; can nonetheless have very serious consequences. A Class A Misdemeanor carries a punishment of up to a year in jail and/or a fine not to exceed $4,000. Non-citizens convicted of Assault Family Violence can be denied the ability to adjust in the future and can be deported. Family violence convictions can cause individuals to lose professional licenses and will prevent you from being able to own a handgun.
If a person is charged a second time with Assault Family Violence after already having a prior conviction, the offense now becomes a third-degree felony with a punishment of 2-10 years in the Texas Department of Corrections and/or a fine not to exceed $10,000.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense, contact the lawyers at the Law Office of Patrick J McLain, PLLC. We can help defend you against various crimes and will fight vigorously to protect your legal rights. You can call us 24/7 by calling (214) 416-9100 or visit our law office at 900 Jackson Street, Suite 635 Dallas, TX 75202. Don’t wait before it is too late!
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