Under Texas Penal Code §25.11, a person can be charged with continuous violence against the family if he or she is accused of committing assault against a family or household member two or more times within a 12 month period. This includes incidents that happen over a few days or weeks, as well as in cases in which multiple incidents occurred within one day.
This charge can also be filed if one person is alleged to have assaulted more than one family member during one incident. The case could be filed in this situation as well as a 3rd degree felony for Continuous Family Violence Assault instead of a misdemeanor Assault.
Continuous Family Violence versus Felony Assault with Previous Finding/Conviction for Family Violence
There is a difference between a felony charge of Continuous Family Violence and the Assault with a previous finding/conviction for Family Violence, which is also a 3rd degree felony.
You might also be charged with a 3rd degree felony under Texas Penal Code 22.01 if you had ever been previously convicted for an assault of any family member.
Here are a few things to note about Assault with a previous finding/conviction for Family Violence:
- You don’t have to be charged with assaulting the same person again.
- The previous case has no time expiration.
- The previous charge doesn’t actually have to have resulted in a conviction.
This last point is tricky because you might have been successful in completing a deferred adjudication on an assault family violence case previously and thought that meant you were not convicted, which is true.
However, you still have what is referred to as an “affirmative finding of family violence” attached to your record, that allows the district attorney’s office to charge you the next time with a felony under this statute.
Frequently Asked Questions About Family Violence Charges in Texas
What qualifies as domestic violence in Texas?
In the Texas Family Code: Title 4, Subtitle A, Chapter 71, Sec. 71.004, “family violence” is defined as an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault.
How can a domestic violence case be dismissed in Texas?
The answer to this question depends on several factors:
• The Circumstances of Alleged Act: What exactly happened? Was there a weapon involved? The nature and severity of the alleged act involved can dictate the direction of an assault on family member case.
• The Existence of Injuries: Injuries generally point to a deeper problem in the household, and generally mean dropping the case is not likely to happen.
• The Defendant’s Criminal History: If the defendant has a history of drug and alcohol abuse or a documented history of violent acts, then the case will likely not be dismissed
What is the punishment for assault on family member in Texas?
Most domestic violence defendants are charged with misdemeanor offenses, with penalties of up to a year in jail and up to $4,000 in fines if convicted. Subsequent accusations of assault on family member may result in felony charges, a conviction for which can mean years of jail time and thousands of dollars in fines.
Help Fighting Domestic Violence Charges
If you have been charged with continuous family violence in Houston, Houston assault lawyer Lisa Shapiro Strauss can help you fight to protect your rights.
These cases are often rife with false accusations and lacking in evidence. When police are called to a potential domestic violence scene, officers often assume an assault has occurred. This makes a family member assault case even harder to fight.
Lisa Shapiro Strauss knows assault of a family member cases are emotional. As a former Assistant DA, she spent six months as the Chief Prosecutor of the court handling only these types of cases. She now uses this experience to defend clients against domestic violence charges.
Call (713) 429-7310 today for a free consultation.