If you have been charged with a felony assault in the “Assault Family Violence” category in Travis County, one of three things has happened. You have been previously been convicted of Assault Family Violence, you are accused of attacking a family member with a weapon, or you have been alleged to have committed strangulation during the assault.
Strangulation legally is much different than what you may think it is. It is defined as “impeding breath or blood,” An example would be that you placed your hand around someone’s throat and that person had difficulty breathing as a result. This is a recent change in Texas law. In fact most people are unaware of the new enhancement to Assault Family Violence cases with regard to Strangulation. Why exactly the legislature decided to escalate a misdemeanor to felony assault is a discussion for another day.
If you are accused of felony assault in Texas you are facing a prison term of 2 to 10 years in the Texas Department of Corrections and a fine up to $10,000. That is a very serious enhancement from a misdemeanor offense, which can only carry up to a year in Travis County jail and a $4000 fine.
A distinction needs to be made between an Assault charge and an Assault Family Violence charge. An assault is what most people would consider a fight — in other words, where someone gets punched or kicked. Many other forms of behavior can also be an assault. Assault Family Violence is a specific subclass of assaults, covering cases when the people involved are co-habiting (including family members living under the same roof) and/or people who are in a dating relationship. Both classify as Assault Family Violence cases.
So what do you do if you are charged with a felony assault case in Travis County? Immediately contact a reputable criminal defense lawyer before making any statements to anyone. This includes sheriff’s deputy, victim witness coordinators, investigators, or police officers. Don’t run the risk of making any statements that may be incriminating. Law enforcement is notorious for putting inaccurate information into reports. It is much harder to “undo” something than it is to have it done right the first time.
An assault will also be considered a felony in the event a deadly weapon is used during the commission of the assault. Obvious weapons include guns, knives, and bats, but the list of items is theoretically endless. Anything that can cause serious bodily injury is considered a deadly weapon, i.e., cars, beer bottles, pens, hammers, nails, belts, letter openers, and so on.
People usually don’t plan to be arrested for felony assault, but it happens, and it happens to innocent people. If you’re regrettably accused of felony assault, whether regular assault or Assault Family Violence, contact the Law Office of James Gill immediately. We can answer your questions in a free, no-obligation consultation.