Under Texas law, if you commit an assault against a family member, a partner in a dating relationship, or even someone that resides in the same household, it can lead to charges of domestic/family violence. Domestic/Family assaults are treated more severely than assaults against strangers.
If a Court finds that you committed an act of domestic/family violence, not only could you face more jail time, but you could also lose certain civil rights, such as the right to posses a firearm.
Types of Domestic Violence Cases
There are three types of family violence in Texas. Jorge Vela has successfully defended all three.
Domestic Assault (Texas Penal Code §22.01(b)(2)):
A person commits domestic assault by causing bodily harm to a family member or partner. The threat of harm is also sufficient. The harm must be either intentional or reckless. Without prior assault convictions, a defendant will receive a Class A misdemeanor. If the defendant has any priors, it is a third-degree felony.
Aggravated Domestic Assault (Texas Penal Code §22.02):
Causing a family member or partner serious bodily harm is aggravated domestic assault. Using a deadly weapon during the act is also aggravated assault. This crime is a second-degree felony.
Continuous Violence Against the Family (Texas Penal Code §25.11):
A person who commits two or more domestic assaults within 12 months may be charged with continuous violence against the family. Neither assault needs to have resulted in an arrest or conviction. As well, the assaults need not have been committed against the same victim. This crime is a third-degree felony. As a felony, it carries a more severe punishment than domestic assault charges.
With his experience as an assistant district attorney in Austin, Texas, Jorge Vela can help guide you through any of these family violence cases.
Assault by Strangulation (Texas Penal Code §22.01(b)(2)(B)):
An assault during which the accused is alleged to have applied pressure on the family or household member’s throat or neck or blocked his or her nose or mouth could result in stiffer penalties. These charges are usually listed as “impede breath/circulation” of another.
A first charge is a third-degree felony. If you have any prior convictions for domestic assault, then the charges are a second-degree felony.
Civil Penalties in Domestic/Family Violence cases
If there is a finding of family violence in a criminal case it could affect your civil rights in later proceedings. This includes the right to visit your children and the right to bear a firearm.
An alleged victim may file a Protective Order (restraining order) as part of the criminal case. See below for more information.