Assault Causes Bodily Injury Family Violence is an assault offense, that incorporates Secs. 71.021 - 71.006 of the Family Code, by defining the alleged victim's relationship to the accused. The relationship describes people who are in a dating relationship, married, related, or even those that live together.
Assault Causes Bodily Injury Family Violence is treated far more harshly in the criminal justice system than regular assault -- mainly by prosecutors who seek harsher penalties than common for a typical assault. This is true even if the injury (or lack thereof) is similar to a regular assault where no relationship exists between the parties.
In Austin, Travis County, Assault Causes Bodily Injury Family Violence is typically the offense name for a Class A Misdemeanor. These cases are mainly handled in the 'Family Violence' court, which is County Court #4.You can read the specific Statute and Punishments for Assault Causes Bodily Injury Family Violence below.
Family Violence charges carry several issues that impact a person's life, even while the case is pending. Protective Orders are frequently granted, which may limit the accused person's access to their home, children, and personal property.
Plus, many Judges are reluctant to grant Personal Bonds, which makes getting out of jail harder. This is more true now than ever, with Governor Abbot's Covid related Governor's Orders, which are aimed at violent offenders in jail. It's important to get our of jail quickly, since Assault Causes Bodily Injury Family Violence cases often take longer to either resolve, get dismissed, or go to trial.
Loss of Gun Rights and Family Violence Findings
A Conviction of Family Assault, regardless of the additional "finding" by the Judge that family violence occurred, will cause a person to lose the right to buy or possess firearms or ammunition. Regardless of whether a conviction is a misdemeanor or felony, the loss of gun rights occurs at the state and federal level, and can cause serious life-long consequences.
It's important to understand that the State of Texas is the prosecuting agency against the accused on Family Violence offenses. Even if the alleged victim doesn't want to press charges, and tell the prosecutor or Judge that, the case does not go away. That being said, there is an avenue for an alleged victim to file a document known as an Affidavit of Nonprosecution.
In Travis County, an Affidavit of Nonprosecution is a legal document where the alleged victim requests the charges be dropped. While it doesn't cause the Family Violence case to be automatically dismissed, at a minimum it lets the prosecutor know that the alleged victim is not interested in a conviction.
The most basic assaultive offense, Assault,is one that does not involve a specific relationship between the parties. A classic example of Assault would be a bar fight between strangers. But if there is a relationship, be it family or dating relationship, (such as you've just read above), then the offense can fall under a subcategory of Assault, which is Assault Causes Bodily Injury Family Violence.
The same relationship, can also cause an Assault to be charged at the Felony level, if there is a prior conviction of Assault (per Chapter 19, or Section 20.03, 20.04, 21.11, 22, or 25.11) which is Assault Causes Bodily Injury Dating, Family, Household Member.
Lastly, if there is the allegation of a person using thier hands on the other person's throat, the case is enhanced to a 3rd Degree Felony, as Assault Family Member Household Member, Impede Breath Circulation. This charge is also known as Assault Intentionally or Recklessly Impede Breath Circulation or merely, Assault by Strangulation.
Also check out "What is Family Assault in Texas"
A Full List of Assault Offenses can be found below, or by clicking Assault Offenses in Texas.
In 2020, Governor Abbot's Covid related Governor's Orders mandated that a person with an assault on their record, or with a currently charged assault, could not be granted a personal bond. The matter was litigated in Austin, and the result was that an accused can be released on a personal bond, but only after specific review by a Judge for that case and that person. In a sense, that was an odd result, since in Austin every case (assault or otherwise) has a Judge review each case prior to personal bonds are granted.
Still, the Order has somewhat had a chilling effect on personal bonds being granted for assaults, especially family assault cases. The faster an attorney can review the case and prepare a personal bond, the higher the likelihood of jail release.
Sometimes an officer will file arrest warrant, which will require a Walkthrough to clear the Arrest Warrant. Doing a Walkthrough quickly is important, because most of the time a person does not go into the jail during the surrender process.
Legislative Update 2021: Senate Bill 6 Passed. Senate Bill 6, passed in the legislature in 2021, drastically altered the availability of personal bonds in the criminal justice system. As a reminder, a personal bond is a release from jail by the court without needing to pay for it. Senate Bill 6, specifically Art. A17.027, mainly prohibits a new Judge from releasing a person on a personal bond if that person was re-arrested while out on bond for certain offenses. In other words, a situation where a person was already released on bond, and that case is still pending -- and then they are arrested on a new (usually violent) charge. In that situation, the original Judge (the one presiding over the first arrest) has control over personal bonds, to an extent. This is a newly evolving statute and law, and only certain offenses apply, so call us if you or your loved one has been either re-arrested or has a warrant while already on bond with a pending case.
Call us for more details if you have an Active Travis County Arrest Warrant.
Keates Law Firm can act quickly to assist with a personal bond to release that person. Be sure to read more about Bond, Personal Bonds, and Travis County Jail Releases.
There are several defenses for Assault Causes Bodily Injury Family Violence -- but each depends on the facts of the case and a number of other issues. Self Defense is a common defense, as is Fabrication. This is true on assaults where a severe physical attack is claimed, yet there are no marks or redness to back up the claim. An example could be the claim of being punched multiple times on the cheek, but officers cannot find any physical trace of redness or markings.
If you'd like to talk in detail about your situation, or if you have questions, contact us for a Free Case Consultation. Keep in mind, Keates Law Firm only practices in Austin and Travis County.
Hiring the right attorney from the beginning is important. Poor legal decisions will have a negative effect upon the case as it progresses. The Keates Law Firm has over 16+ Years Experience handling Assault Causes Bodily Injury Family Violence cases. Our focus is to try and have the case dismissed against you. We don't even discuss pleas until all legal and negotiation options have been explored in detail.
Call Us to talk about your particular case and situation. It's a 100% Free Phone Consultation with Criminal Defense Attorney Keates. No Sales Pitches, No Hassles. We'll see if we are the right Law Firm for you, and give you a quote. Be sure to check out Keates Law Firm's Reviews and also our past cases and Results.
Your goal should be Dismissal for any Assault Causes Bodily Injury Family Violence charge. While not every case can be dismissed, often times the goal becomes avoiding jail, or getting a reduced charge, or even getting a favorable probation with a possible dismissal at the end, called Deferred Adjudication. If dismissed, a person can later seek an Expunction of a Criminal Record, which is where a Judge Orders the offense records destroyed, including police reports, court records, and prosecutor files.
Legal Fees are typically unexpected, so Keates Law Firm realizes that most people don't have thousands of dollars immediatly available after an unexpected arrest. Keates Law Firm offers no interest Payment Plans for legal fees for cases in Austin, Travis County. Most Payment Plans require a credit or debit card on file, with a deposit for representation. Attorney Payment Plans are paid monthly with no interest. Payment Plan Lawyers in Austin, Travis County are few, but Keates Law Firm has had success and many happy clients who appreciate spreading out legal fees over payments. Check out our Austin Attorney Payment Plans page for more details, or call for a Free Consultation.
(a) A person commits an offense if the person: (1) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person's spouse; (2) intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person's spouse; or (3) intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.
(2) a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code, if: (A) it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense under this chapter, Chapter 19, or Section 20.03, 20.04, 21.11, or 25.11 against a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code; or (B) the offense is committed by intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of the person by applying pressure to the person's throat or neck or by blocking the person's nose or mouth;
Family Violence case can be either Misdemeanors or felonies. Often times, the penalties for family assault or domestic violence are harsher than would be normal for a standard assault. Domestic Violence offenses can often lead to jail time and a temporary or permanent loss of parental rights. There may also be a loss of Firearm Rights, and individuals on Probation will need to surrender all registered (and unregistered) firearms.
|Level of Offense||Punishment|
|Class C Misdemeanor||Not Jailable, No more than $500 fines|
|Class B Misdemeanor||Not more than 180 days in a county jail, and/or no more than $2,000 fines|
|Class A Misdemeanor||Not more than 1 year in a county jail, and/or no more than $4,000 fines|
|State jail felony||180 days to 2 years in a state jail, and/or no more than $10,000 fines|
|3rd Degree Felony||2-10 Years in Prison, and/or no more than $10,000 fines|
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