Assault in the State of Texas

Family Violence Austin Attorney Lawyer Domestic

Posted on: June 11, 2017
Assault and Assault Family Violence Attorney in Austin, Texas and Round Rock, Texas
 
 
CONTACT US TODAY 512-457-5200
 
Assault in the State of Texas is defined by Texas Penal Code Section 22.01.  In Texas, a person commits the offense of assault if he or she intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person's spouse or intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.
 
In general, an assault is a class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one-year county jail and a $4,000 fine.
 
If the actor knows the person is a public servant and the public servant is lawfully discharging his or her public duties at the time the assault occurs, it is a third degree felony punishable between 2 to 10 years in Texas Department of Corrections and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
 
It is also a third degree felony if it is an assault with a finding of family violence against a person who has a conviction with a previous finding of family violence.  Meaning, the person assaulted someone with whom he or she has or had a dating relationship or is or was a member of his or her household and has a prior conviction for the same.
 
Moreover, it is a third degree felony if the offense is committed by intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of the person by applying pressure to the person's throat or neck or by blocking the person's nose or mouth.
 
It is a felony of the second degree punishable by two to twenty years in the Texas Department of Corrections and a $10,000 fine if the individual has a prior conviction for an offense involving family violence and the current offense is an assault with a family violence allegation involving strangulation.  
 
It is typically a class c misdemeanor punishable by a fine only if someone intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person's spouse.
 
It becomes a class A misdemeanor, however, if someone threatens an elderly individual or a disabled individual.
 
It is a class B misdemeanor for someone to intentionally or knowingly threaten another with imminent bodily injury if the offense is committed by a person who is not a sports participant against a person the actor knows is a sports participant either:
(A)  while the participant is performing duties or responsibilities in the participant's capacity as a sports participant; or
(B)  in retaliation for or on account of the participant's performance of a duty or responsibility within the participant's capacity as a sports participant.
 
Even if a person is placed on deferred adjudication for an offense with a family violence allegation and he or she successfully completes community supervision and the case is ultimately dismissed, this counts as a prior conviction of family violence for purposes of this statute.  In addition, if a person has an out of state conviction for a charge that is substantially similar to a charge that would constitute family violence in the State of Texas, it can be used as a prior for purposes of this statute. 
Below are some very important definitions related to family violence allegations in the State of Texas.  
 
Dating Violence” in Texas is defined in the Family Code in Title 4., Subtitle A, Chapter 71 in Section 71.003.  It is defined as any act other than a defensive one that is committed against a victim or applicant for a protective order with whom the actor has had a “dating relationship” or because of  the victim's or applicant's marriage to or dating relationship with an individual with whom the actor is or has been in a dating relationship or marriage and is intended to  result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the victim or applicant in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault.
 
A “dating relationship” is defined as a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.  The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on consideration of:
(1)  the length of the relationship;
(2)  the nature of the relationship; and
(3)  the frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
 
A casual or business relationship does not constitute a “dating relationship.”
 
Family includes individuals related by consanguinity or affinity as defined by the code.  It also includes individuals who are former spouses of each other, individuals who are the parents of the same child, without regard to marriage, and a foster child and foster parent, without regard to whether those individuals reside together.
 
 
Family violence” means an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself.
 
"Abuse" includes the following acts or omissions by a person:
(A)  mental or emotional injury to a child that results in an observable and material impairment in the child's growth, development, or psychological functioning;
(B)  causing or permitting the child to be in a situation in which the child sustains a mental or emotional injury that results in an observable and material impairment in the child's growth, development, or psychological functioning;
(C)  physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child, or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child, including an injury that is at variance with the history or explanation given and excluding an accident or reasonable discipline by a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator that does not expose the child to a substantial risk of harm;
(D)  failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent an action by another person that results in physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child;
(E)  sexual conduct harmful to a child's mental, emotional, or physical welfare, including conduct that constitutes the offense of continuous sexual abuse of young child or children under Section 21.02, Penal Code, indecency with a child under Section 21.11, Penal Code, sexual assault under Section 22.011, Penal Code, or aggravated sexual assault under Section 22.021, Penal Code;
(F)  failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent sexual conduct harmful to a child;
(G)  compelling or encouraging the child to engage in sexual conduct as defined by Section 43.01, Penal Code, including compelling or encouraging the child in a manner that constitutes an offense of trafficking of persons under Section 20A.02(a)(7) or (8), Penal Code, prostitution under Section 43.02(b), Penal Code, or compelling prostitution under Section 43.05(a)(2), Penal Code;
(H)  causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing the photographing, filming, or depicting of the child if the person knew or should have known that the resulting photograph, film, or depiction of the child is obscene as defined by Section 43.21, Penal Code, or pornographic;
(I)  the current use by a person of a controlled substance as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code, in a manner or to the extent that the use results in physical, mental, or emotional injury to a child;
(J)  causing, expressly permitting, or encouraging a child to use a controlled substance as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code;
(K)  causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing a sexual performance by a child as defined by Section 43.25, Penal Code; or
(L)  knowingly causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing a child to be trafficked in a manner punishable as an offense under Section 20A.02(a)(5), (6), (7), or (8), Penal Code, or the failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent a child from being trafficked in a manner punishable as an offense under any of those sections.
 
Household means a unit composed of persons living together in the same dwelling, without regard to whether they are related to each other.  Therefore, you can commit “family violence” against a roommate. Members of a household include former members of a household.
 
Defenses
 
There are a variety of legal and factual defenses to assault and assault family violence cases.  Jason Trumpler has over 15 years experience handling assault cases as both a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney.  He has tried difficult cases on both sides of the aisle and has taken almost 100 trials to verdict in front of a jury.  Jason Trumpler is extremely qualified to handle any type of assault related charge.  If you or someone you know has been charged with assault, call us today at 512-457-5200.

The Law Offices of Jason Trumpler
Austin Office
902 E 5th Street, Suite 108
Austin, TX 78702
Phone: 512-457-5200
Fax: 512-457-5225
E-mail: jason.trumpler@trumplerlaw.com

Round Rock Office
1000 Heritage Center Cir
Round Rock, TX 78664

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