Family violence is a very serious crime, and Texas laws reflect this. Penalties for offenders are increasing, warrants are not needed to arrest, and the victim's agreement is no longer needed to file charges and prosecute. Under both the Texas Penal and Family Codes, an individual commits assault family violence if they "intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause bodily injury" to a family member or household member. A threat that places someone in fear of imminent bodily injury can qualify as domestic assault. A person arrested for family violence may be held in jail for up to 48 hours if there is reason to believe that violence will continue upon release and there have been prior instances of domestic violence, or a deadly weapon was used or exhibited–it does not matter if a person has bail posted right away, they can still be held for 48 hours if the above conditions exist. Also in the same vein, if a person is being held in Collin County jail, Frisco, or Plano City jails for family violence they are not eligible for an attorney bond or writ bond due to the swiftness of release from jail those two procedural mechanisms provide. A first conviction for domestic assault is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine. The court may also find an affirmative finding of family violence which is bad news and has serious consequences, such as prohibiting the individual from owning a firearm–EVER and its effects on family court decisions. Assault family violence is what we call an enhanceable crime, which means that subsequent offenses can increase the degree and range of punishment. For example, a second domestic violence offense can be a third degree felony, punishable by up to ten years in the penitentiary and up to a $10,000 fine. Habitual offenders can receive 25 years to live in the penitentiary. As you can see, allegations of assault family violence are very serious and complicated. There are defenses to assault family violence such as self-defense and consent. If you are facing such allegations, you should consult an experienced attorney to help you navigate the process and defend your rights.
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