Surely, you’re familiar with the term “domestic violence.” Here in Texas, our state and courts refer to domestic violence as “family violence” but they mean the same thing.
Section 71.004(1) of the Family Code defines family violence 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 or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defense measures to protect oneself.”
In Texas, family violence offenses are prosecuted under Title 5, Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code, assaultive offenses. Meaning, family violence is typically charged as:
- Assault under Sec. 22.01 of the Penal Code
- Aggravated assault under Sec. 22.02 of the Penal Code
- Sexual assault under Sec. 22.011 of the Penal Code
- Aggravated sexual assault under Sec. 22.021 of the Penal Code
Assault & Aggravated Assault
Aside from sexually-motivated crimes against family members, domestic violence offenses are prosecuted as assault or aggravated assault. Here is a closer look at assaultive offenses under the Penal Code:
A person commits assault under Sec. 22.01 of the Penal Code when they knowingly or intentionally threaten imminent bodily injury upon another person, including their own spouse. Or, when they knowingly or intentionally, or recklessly cause bodily injury upon another individual, including their spouse.
Assault is prosecuted as a Class A misdemeanor or a felony of the third degree depending on the facts of the case. A Class A misdemeanor is punishable by a $4,000 fine and up to one year in jail, whereas a third-degree felony is punishable by a $10,000 fine and up to 10 years in prison.
A person commits aggravated assault under Sec. 22.02 of the Penal Code when they: 1) cause serious bodily injury to another person, including their spouse, or 2) when they use or exhibit a deadly weapon while committing an assault.
Aggravated assault is a felony of the first or second degree depending on the facts of the case. As a first-degree felony, it is punishable by a $10,000 fine and up to life in prison. As a felony of the second-degree, it is punishable by a $10,000 fine and 2 to 20 years in prison.
Accused of family violence? Contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC immediately to speak with a Plano domestic violence attorney.