Felony assault is charged when a defendant attempts to commit battery against a person with a deadly weapon, cause serious bodily harm, or engage in sexual activity with a minor. In Texas, felony assault is a charged as a third degree felony, when the defendant assaults a family member. 

Does Texas have Domestic Violence Laws?

Texas has laws prohibiting any type of violence against a family member. However, the State doesn’t use the specific term “domestic violence.” Instead, it uses the term “assault against a family member.” It encompasses a wide range of relationships, such as a person the defendant once dated, lived/lives in the same dwelling, former or current spouse/partner, and children of the defendant.

What is Assault against a Family Member?

Assault against a family member is when a defendant:

  • Knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly causes bodily injury to a family member;
  • Knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally threatens a family member with imminent bodily injury; or
  • Intentionally or knowingly makes physical contact with a family member, knowing or should have known that the family member would consider it provocative or offensive.

Assault against a family member is typically charged as a class A misdemeanor. A conviction carries a maximum punishment of less than 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000.

When Does Assault against a Family Member become a Third Degree Felony?

In Texas, a misdemeanor assault against a family member charge can become a felony when the defendant: 

  • Is accused of choking or impeding the blood circulation of a family member; or
  • Has a prior conviction for assault on a family member.

What is the Punishment for Third Degree Assault on a Family Member in Texas?

A defendant convicted of third degree felony assault on a family member can face 2 to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. 

Should I Contact a Lawyer Regarding My Assault Charge?

Yes. Assault against a family member is a serious charge with severe penalties, so it is in your best interest contact a Texas criminal lawyer to better understand your case and the situation.