In Texas, laws about domestic violence can get complicated. Punishments for domestic violence-related crimes can go all the way from a class C misdemeanor to a first-degree felony. With so much variation, it can be difficult to understand this area of law. Below is an abbreviated guide on some of the classifications of domestic violence. To clarify, for a crime to be labeled “domestic,” it must be committed against the offender’s family members, sexual partner(s), spouse, or any other person who lives in the same household. Such criteria are what sets this classification apart from other forms of violent charges.
What Counts as Domestic Assault in Texas?
Domestic assault refers to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly injuring someone, threatening them with bodily harm, or creating physical contact with them that reasonable people would consider offensive or deserving of retaliation. In some cases, the victim does not need to be physically hurt as a result of a domestic assault. They only need to feel threatened or unsafe. Fines and sentencing will vary depending on the severity of the crime, but extreme cases of domestic assault are usually labeled as aggravated domestic assault.
Understanding More About Aggravated Domestic Assault in Texas
Aggravated domestic assault refers to an extreme version of domestic assault where the injured person suffers a serious injury. A serious injury requires surgery for recovery, head trauma, broken bones, amputation, mutilation, etc. Aggravated domestic assault also happens when the offender uses a weapon like a gun, knife, or anything else to hurt the victim besides using only their hands, feet, etc.
However, when the assailant uses a particularly deadly weapon, they may also be charged with regular (not domestic) aggravated assault. The severity of the punishment depends on what kind of weapon the assailant used– if it was deadly, deliberate, or spontaneous, and other factors.
Continuous Violence Against the Family in Texas
Continuous violence against the family refers to a series (at least two) of domestic assault reports. This series happens in a short time period (12 months) and can either involve the same victim in the household at different times or different victims at different times. This demonstrates a record of violent behavior in the accused and usually results in longer sentences and more severe punishments.
Particularly in the case of aggravated domestic assault, the state of Texas may additionally find the offender guilty of aggravated assault, for which the fines and sentencing are much steeper. While aggravated domestic assault charges may vary, it is common to see fines reaching up to the $10,000 range and some years in jail. With regular (not domestic) aggravated assault, fines can far exceed $10,000 and leave offenders with 99 years of jail time. Other implications may include registering as a sex offender, having decreased job opportunities, and being restricted from visiting family members.
Contact a San Antonio Criminal Defense Attorney Today
As you can see, this area of law can certainly get complicated–especially because it involves very specific relationships between the parties involved. If you have been accused of domestic violence, call Attorney Sophia Martinez at (210) 226-3000 or fill out our contact form. Allow Sophia’s 25 years of experience to work for you to resolve your case.