If two random strangers are to get into a fight, it is only assault, not assault family violence. But, when you allegedly assault a family member, as defined in the Texas Family Code Section 71, family violence attaches. Texas Family Code Section 71 defines a family member to include anyone in a dating relationship, individuals related by consanguinity or affinity, former spouses, parents of the same child without the regard as to whether you live together or not, a member of your household, this includes anyone living in your home, whether you are related or not.
First, we are in Texas, so let’s start with guns. If your lawyer works out a deal with the prosecutor and you are to get what is called “deferred probation” you will not be able to possess a firearm during the time of that probation, this is for a misdemeanor or felony. If your deferred probation is for 18 months, then 18 months of no guns. If you are put on straight probation for assault family violence, misdemeanor or felony, then by law, you can never possess a firearm for the remainder of your life.
Then there are child custody issues that can arise from a family violence case. If your spouse is seeking a divorce and there are children involved, a family violence case can be used against you for custody purposes. According to Texas Family Code section 153.004, the court shall consider evidence of intentional abusive force or evidence of sexual abuse against the spouse in the divorce, parent of the child, or anyone under the age of 18. If you plea to a family violence case within two years prior to the divorce or during the divorce, that case will be used against you. The Family Code also allows the possibility of spousal maintenance to your ex-spouse in section 8.051(1). If you serve straight probation or deferred probation for a family violence case that happened during the marriage to the ex-spouse or child, within 2 years prior to filling for or during the divorce, your spouse can be awarded maintenance. This means you may have to pay your ex-spouse a certain amount ordered by the court monthly. Depending on the length of your marriage, this maintenance could be required for up to 10 years.
A family violence case against you may also affect your job. Texas Occupation Code chapter 53 explains that your employer can suspend, revoke, or deny your employment if the job requires you to possess a firearm.
Not a U.S. citizen? According to the Immigration and Nationality Act, a family violence case against a current or former spouse, a person whom you share a child with, or a formerly cohabiting spouse/currently cohabiting spouse can have you deported.
If this is not your first assaultive offense and you are charged with a Class A Assault, according to Texas Penal Code chapter 22.01, the state can enhance your case to a 3rd degree felony. This is also true if you have a previous conviction of homicide, kidnapping, indecency with a child, continuous violence against the family, or against a person in the household or dating partner.
If you are thinking of pleaing to a family violence case, you without a doubt, need to speak with an attorney first. Taking a plea deal can result in life long consequences for you and is a charge that should not be handled lightly. Let one of our experienced attorney’s help you today!