In Texas, assault charges involving choking or impeding the breathing of a family member carry severe repercussions. Whether you’re involved in a domestic dispute with a partner, a relative, or another household member, Texas courts are stringent in their approach to such offenses.
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This article delves deep into how Texas law views this particular kind of assault, the legal implications, and how an experienced attorney can assist in navigating the complexities of such cases.
Assault on Family Member – Choking / Impeding Breathing is a 3rd Degree Felony in Texas
The state of Texas defines assault as intentionally or recklessly causing or threatening bodily injury, or intentionally causing physical contact that the other person might reasonably find offensive.
Family violence assault cases are typically prosecuted as a Class A Misdemeanor. Being convicted of a Class A misdemeanor carries penalties of up to 1 year in a county jail and/or a fine of not more than $4,000.
Under certain circumstances, domestic violence charges could be upgraded to a 3rd degree felony. Defendants convicted of a 3rd degree felony face 2-10 years in prison and/or fines up to $10,000.
A felony conviction can be used against you when you:
- Look for a job
- Try to get a place to live
- Get charged in another crime
- Are involved in a child custody hearing
Choking someone during a family violence assault can result in the accused person being charged with a 3rd degree felony. This offense occurs when someone intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impedes the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of a person by applying pressure to the throat or neck or by blocking the person’s nose or mouth.
- Putting someone in a “headlock”
- Putting hands around someone’s throat
- Covering someone’s mouth or nose
- Putting a bag over someone’s head
- Other actions designed to choke or suffocate another person
If the Alleged Victim Has No Visible Sign of Injury, Can You Still Be Charged?
It’s a common misconception that visible injuries must be present for an impeding breath or choking charge to be validated in Texas. However, the absence of physical marks or injuries does not automatically exonerate someone from the charges.
Texas law focuses on the intent and action of the accused, specifically whether there was an attempt to obstruct the normal breathing or blood circulation of the alleged victim, regardless of the outcome. While visible injuries can strengthen the prosecution’s case, their absence doesn’t guarantee a dismissal. It’s crucial to understand that evidence such as witness testimonies, audio or video recordings, and other circumstantial evidence can still be utilized by the prosecution.
Engaging an experienced attorney can provide insight and strategies to contest such charges, emphasizing the lack of physical harm or other mitigating factors.
Emergency Protective Order after Family Violence Charge
When you’re charged with assault on a family member – choking/impeding breathing, the judge typically issues an Emergency Protective Order banning the accused from going near the home, work or school of the alleged victim for at least 61 days. This order can be issued even against family members who reside in the same home.
If you do not comply with the protective order, you may face more charges and have your bond revoked until trial.
An Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Mean the Difference Between Being Found Guilty or Innocent
If you were accused of family violence, an experienced defense attorney can greatly increase the chances of getting the charges reduced or dismissed.
Houston assault family violence lawyer Lisa Shapiro Strauss aggressively defends the rights of her clients. Her experience as both a prosecutor and criminal defense lawyer gives her the unique knowledge and insight to achieve the best results for her clients.
The outcome to a felony family assault charge in Houston depends on many factors. Your criminal history can result in serious penalties; repeat and habitual offenders may be sentenced to life in prison. Any prior conviction for assault family violence could result in 2nd degree felony charges if the new case involves choking or impeding breathing. Penalties for a 2nd degree felony include up to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Answers to Your Questions About Assault Charges in Texas
Why was I Charged with Felony Continuous Family Violence instead of a Misdemeanor?
In Texas, a person can be charged with felony continuous family violence if they have been accused of assaulting a close relative at least twice. There are, however, a few points to consider:
• You don’t have to have been charged with assaulting the same person twice.
• In some cases, the previous case does not expire.
• You do not have to have been convicted of the previous charge.
Can a Victim get Family Violence Charges Against Me Dropped?
The answer is dependent on several factors:
• The Alleged Act- what exactly happened? Was there a weapon involved?
• The Existence of injuries- injuries generally point to a deeper problem in the household, and generally take dropping the case off the table.
• The Defendant’s Criminal History
Does a Family Violence Protective Order affect your right to possess a firearm in Texas?
If you are subject to a Family Violence Protective Order, you will lose your right to possess a firearm. The only way to get your gun rights back is to have your conviction expunged or set aside, or if you have been pardoned or your civil rights restored.
Assault Family Violence Choking Criminal Defense Attorney in Houston
No matter how bad your situation may seem, there is always hope. Remember, the prosecutor must prove that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Skilled criminal defense lawyer Lisa Shapiro Strauss will thoroughly analyze the evidence to look for flaws in the prosecutor’s case. This could mean the difference between a guilty or innocent verdict.
Have you been charged with assault on a family member in Houston? Don’t hesitate to reach out to Lisa Shapiro Strauss for help. Call our law firm at 713-449-9922 to schedule a free consultation. We’ll discuss the facts in your case and determine what legal strategy will achieve the best outcome in your case