Crime and Punishment – Family Violence Style
Texas law takes a particularly strong stance on the issue of domestic or family violence, even including a legislative statement in Article 5.01 of the Code of Criminal Procedure that “victims of family violence are entitled to the maximum protection from harm or abuse or the threat…as is permitted by law.” This means that in any situation where family violence is suspected, officers must take any reasonable precautions, including likely making an arrest. Some of the common family violence-related charges are below, as well as the applicable punishment range:
Assault (offensive contact or threat) w/o allegation of FV ….. Class C, $0 to $500 fine
Assault causing Bodily Injury w/o allegation of FV ….. Class A, $0 to $4,000 fine and up to 365 days in county jail
Assault causing Bodily Injury w/ FV ….. Class A, $0 to $4,000 fine and up to 365 days in county jail
Unlawful Restraint ….. Class A, $0 to $4,000 fine and up to 365 days in county jail
Violation of a Protective Order ….. Class A, $0 to $4,000 fine and up to 365 days in county jail
Assault FV with prior conviction for another FV offense* ….. 3rd degree felony, $0 to $10,000 fine and 2 to 10 years in TDC (Texas Department of Corrections)
Continuous FV (2 or more AFV incidents in 1 year) ….. 3rd degree felony, $0 to $10,000 fine and 2 to 10 years in TDC
Strangulation ….. 2nd degree felony, $0 to $10,000 fine and 2 to 20 years in TDC
Aggravated Assault with Deadly Weapon w/ FV ….. 1st degree felony, $0 to $10,000 fine and 5 to 99 years in TDC or life
Murder ….. 1st degree felony, $0 to $10,000 fine and 5 to 99 years in TDC or life
Family violence convictions carry with them some of the stiffest penalties in the State, not to mention the collateral consequences that come with a conviction, like potentially losing the right to possess a firearm, professional, and other licenses. If you find yourself facing one of these charges, it is essential that you understand the wide range of consequences you may encounter and be prepared to meet them with an effective defense strategy.
* Other offense include those under Penal Code Chapter 22 (Assault, including Sexual Assault), Chapter 19 (Criminal Homicide), Chapter 20.03 (Kidnapping), Chapter 20.04 (Aggravated Kidnapping), Chapter 21.11 (Indecency with a Child), or Chapter 25.11 (Continuous Family Violence). The enhancement will occur only if (a) there is a previous conviction for one of these offenses and (b) it is proven that the complainant had a relationship with the defendant as described in the Family Code, meaning that they were involved in a dating relationship, were household members (i.e. “those persons living together in the same dwelling,” including roommates), or were family members, including former spouses, parents of the same child, and foster parent-child relationships.