Domestic violence is defined as behavior used by a person in a relationship to control the other individual. In Texas, the term “domestic violence” isn’t used to describe violence a person commits against a family member. Instead, Texas calls domestic abuse, “assault on a family member.”

How is Assault Defined in Texas?

Assault occurs when the defendant intentionally, recklessly, or knowingly: 

  • Causes bodily injury to another individual, including a family member;
  • Threatens someone with imminent bodily injury, including a family member; or
  • Causes physical contact with another individual, and knew or should have known that the other individual would consider the contact provocative or offensive. 

What is Assault Causing Bodily Injury to a Family Member?

Assault causing bodily injury to a family member is when the defendant intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily harm to a family member. 

What is Bodily Harm?

Bodily harm, also called bodily injury, is an injury that impairs an individual’s health or comfort for a short time. Bodily harm includes: 

  • Serious cuts
  • Serious burns
  • Wounds

A serious bodily injury is an injury that impairs an individual’s health or comfort for an extended period of time. Serious bodily injury includes:

  • Serious disfigurement
  • Paralysis
  • Loss of limb(s)

What’s the Punishment for Assault on a Family Member Causing Bodily Injury?

A defendant without any prior convictions of assault on a family member can face up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000. If the defendant has a prior conviction, then they are charged with third degree assault on a family member and can face 2 to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Can I be Charged with a More Serious Crime involving an Assault on a Family Member?

Yes. If the violence against a family member involved choking or impairing their breathing, then the defendant will face a third degree felony conviction. They will face the same punishment as if they have a prior conviction of assault on a family member. 

Do I Need a Lawyer to Help Me with My Assault on a Family Member Charge?

Yes. Contact a Texas criminal lawyer to find out how to fight, or if you can negotiate a plea or get the charge dismissed.