Assault Family Violence
People fight. Emotions often run the hottest with those that we love the most. Assault – Family Violence, commonly referred to as Domestic Violence, is one of the most charged offenses in San Antonio and the surrounding Texas counties.
Typically, officers are dispatched to the scene after a 911 call. Officers are trained to make an arrest based merely on the allegation of one person, even if little physical evidence supports the allegation, and even if the other party is not present to question about the allegation.
Domestic Violence as a Class C Misdemeanor
Many of these domestic violence arrests are charged as “assault.” In the context of domestic violence, assault can be charged as a Class C misdemeanor if the physical contact is limited to being offensive or provocative. The maximum penalty for a Class C misdemeanor is a fine of up to $500.
Assault Family Violence Consequences
It is far more common, however, that domestic violence cases involve an allegation of bodily injury. These Assault Bodily Injury-Family or Assault Bodily Injury-Married charges are Class A misdemeanors. The consequences are serious, and can include:
- Up to 1 year in jail
- Up to a $4,000 fine
- Loss of right to own or possess a firearm
- Jeopardized parental and visitation rights
- Protective orders that prevent you from being with family members and staying at your own home
- Deportation or denial of citizenship if you are not a U.S. citizen
In more aggravated situations, the assault can be charged as a felony if:
- the assault resulted in serious bodily injury
- involved the use of a weapon
- involved strangulation or choking
- or if the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense against a member of the defendant’s family or household
How can the victim get the domestic assault charges dropped?
After the events that led to a domestic dispute have ended and emotions have cooled, many spouses or family members that made the initial complaint want to drop the charges and work on moving forward with their loved one in a positive way.
Unfortunately, it’s the District Attorney, not the complainant, that determines whether the crime will be prosecuted. Many District Attorney’s Offices have a No Drop Policy and will move forward with a case even if the complainant refuses or changes their story.
What is an Affidavit of Non-Prosecution?
An affidavit of Non-Prosecution is a sworn statement that the complainant of a domestic assault can file with the District Attorney’s office to detail a desire for the case to be dismissed or reduced. An Affidavit of Non-Prosecution by itself does not magically dismiss the case. Depending on the situation, however, it can be persuasive and impact a prosecutor’s decision about moving forward with the case.
What if the victim was not a family member?
The term “family member” is interpreted broadly by Texas courts. In addition to the traditional conception of family members, Assault Family Violence allegations can be made by a roommate, significant other, domestic partner, common law spouse, foster child, and more.
You cannot own a firearm if convicted of Domestic Violence
Pursuant to Federal law, anyone that is convicted of a crime of domestic violence may not own, possess, or transfer firearms or ammunition. This is true even if the offense is reduced to a Class C as mentioned above.
This remains in effect forever. The law does not distinguish as to disposition when it comes to domestic violence and gun ownership. Anything other than an outright dismissal can result in the forfeiture of one’s Second Amendment rights.
Life Long Criminal Record Consequences
Unlike many other criminal charges, you are not able to petition nondisclosure a non-disclosure in order to seal your record for Assault Family Violence, even if you receive deferred adjudication. The only way to remove a charge for Domestic Violence from your record is through expunction. You are only eligible for an expunction after an outright dismissal.
Click here to read more about expunctions, non-disclosures, and how to clean up your criminal record.