In Texas, there are several different assault charges listed in the state’s laws. The penalties for these charges range, as assault may result in either misdemeanor or felony charges. Misdemeanors are punishable by up to a year in jail, generally. Felonies may land an offender in prison for several years. Whether you have been arrested for a misdemeanor or a felony, hiring a criminal defense lawyer is the best step you can take after you are arrested. Your criminal defense attorney will make sure that your legal rights are protected throughout your case.
What constitutes assault with bodily injury on a family member?
According to Texas law, an individual commits an assault if he intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caused bodily injury to someone else.
To commit a crime intentionally, the state must prove that it was the offender’s goal to cause the specific result that occurred.
To commit a crime knowingly, the state must show the offender is aware that his actions will likely cause the result.
Finally, to commit a crime recklessly, the state must prove that the offender was aware of the risk that something may occur but disregarded that risk.
It must also be proven that bodily injury occurred as a result of the offender’s actions. Bodily injury is broadly defined as any illness, physical pain or impairment.
If the assault victim was a family member as defined by Texas law, the assault crime is no longer a misdemeanor but becomes a third degree felony.
The following individuals are family members according to the law:
- Those who have (or had in the past) a romantic relationship
- Spouses or former spouses
- Those who have a child in common
- Those who live together in the same household
If the offender was previously convicted of assault, criminal homicide, kidnapping crimes, indecency with a child, or continuous violence against the family, the offender may be guilty of a third degree felony crime.
What are the penalties for assault causing bodily injury on a family member?
If convicted, the offender may be sentenced to prison for a period of between 2 and 10 years. In addition, a judge may order that the offender to pay a fine of up to $10,000.
Penalties may become more severe if the offender has been convicted of certain crimes in the past.
Defenses available in assault cases
A criminal defense attorney will be able to gather evidence to support any defenses that may be available in a case.
In assault cases, the most commonly used defense is self-defense.
The offender must show that the force used was reasonable and necessary. For example, if the victim slapped the offender, and the offender hit the victim with a baseball bat in return, the offender may have a difficult time arguing self-defense because the force the offender used may be deemed excessive. In addition, self-defense may not be used if the victim was verbally assaulting the offender. Some type of physical force must have been used.
Whereas the burden of proof is on the state to prove that the offender committed an assault, the burden of proof is on the offender to support any defenses. Criminal defense attorneys will know how to build these defenses so that an offender’s charges are possibly reduced or dismissed.
Contact the Hampton Eppes Law Group to schedule your free consultation
Brian Eppes and Jeff Hampton spent much of their legal careers as a prosecutor. He understands what it takes to obtain the best results possible for his clients. To schedule a free consultation, call 817-877-5201 or visit www.hamptonlegalgroup.com today.