The first time you are convicted of assault against a family member you will be charged with a class A misdemeanor. While this is only a misdemeanor charge, just being convicted of domestic violence is enough to tarnish your criminal record for life.
Every domestic relationship gets into a dispute, and law enforcement is quick to make an arrest without knowing the full story. When you are arrested for assaulting a family member, your community will view you as an outcast and assume you are guilty until proven innocent.
The Gonzalez Law Group wants to hear your side of the story. We know this is an emotional time for you and your family. That is why we want to be with you every step of the way. Our attorneys will do everything in their power to get the charges reduced or dropped altogether.
We have over 70 years of collective evidence defending clients of domestic assault in communities across Harris County, including Houston, Pearland, Alvin, Algoa, and League City. To schedule a free case consultation, call (832) 530-4070 or submit your information in the online contact form.
- What is Domestic Assault?
- Can you go to Jail for Domestic Assault?
- Aggravated Domestic Assault
- Additional Resources
According to a study conducted by the University of Texas, 32% of all Texans have experienced domestic assault in their lifetime. Domestic assault is a type of violence that takes place in a domestic setting. This can include within a family, a household, or a dating relationship. This type of assault is defined in section 22.01 of the Texas Penal Code as the following:
- Intentional, knowing, or reckless cause of injury to another person
- Intentionally or knowingly threatening another with injury
- Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another person when you know the contact will be considered offensive.
What sets domestic assault apart from other forms of assault is whom the crime was committed against. Like mentioned earlier, domestic assault can be committed against family members, members of a household, or in a dating relationship. Listed below are the legal definitions of certain domestic relationships per the Texas Family Code:
- Family: A family includes individuals related by blood or marriage, former spouses, individuals who are parents of the same child, foster children, and foster parents.
- Household: This includes individuals who currently live with each other, or have lived with each other in the past. You are not required to be related to members of a household.
- Dating Relationship: This includes individuals who are in a relationship that is romantic or intimate.
When you have no prior convictions of domestic assault, the court will charge you with a class A misdemeanor, but it has the potential to be elevated if certain aggravating factors are met.
A class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in county jail, a fine of up to $4,000, or both a fine and incarceration. You are not done paying for the crime once you serve your time and pay the fine. Unfortunately, there are other consequences you will have to face outside of the courtroom.
Unlike other misdemeanor offenses, you will not be able to have the crime expunged from your records. The conviction will follow you for the rest of your life and impact your ability to receive loans, find housing and employment. You will also lose your right to own a firearm, as well as having your child visitation rights and the ability to gain custody impacted.
While most first-time offenders are charged with a class A misdemeanor for domestic assault, there are situations where the offense could be elevated to a first or second-degree felony.
Factors that could result in your charges being upgraded include the following:
- Serious bodily injury was caused
- A deadly weapon was used or exhibited while committing the assault
A serious bodily injury is an injury that puts a victim at risk of death, causes disfigurement, or impairs the normal function or any body part. When this is the case, you will be charged with a second-degree felony that is punishable by two to 20 years in prions and a fine that can cost up to $10,000.
If you used or displayed a deadly weapon while committing the offense and it caused serious bodily injury, you will be charged with a first-degree felony. A first-degree felony is the second most serious felony charge behind a capital felony. You could spend five to 99 years or life in prison and have to pay a fine that can cost up to $10,000.
Contact a Houston Domestic Assault Lawyer
Because a domestic assault conviction has the potential to impact your life long after your time in jail has been served, you should contact legal representation as soon as possible. The sooner you do, the better your chances of a more favorable outcome in court.
The attorneys at The Gonzalez Law Group will formulate a defense plan that is in your best interest, and we will make sure you are fully informed every step of the way. Take the first step in building your defense and contact our firm today. You can call (832) 530-4070 or submit your information in the online contact form. We represent clients in every community across Harris County, including Friendswood, Hillcrest, Manvel, Missouri City, and Channelview.