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Assault vs. Aggravated Assault: The Difference and Why It Matters

Assault vs. Aggravated Assault: The Difference and Why It Matters

Assault is a common criminal charge in Texas but one that few people understand. Texas has a variety of assault charges categorized by numerous factors, including the facts and circumstances of the offense. Many people are familiar with the term “aggravated assault” but might not know how it’s distinguished from assault. To illustrate the primary differences, let’s take a look at how Texas defines these two offenses.

 

Defining Assault and Aggravated Assault

 

Texas defines assault as:

 

  • Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another
  • Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly threatening another with imminent bodily injury, or
  • Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another when that person knows or should reasonably believe the person would regard the contact as offensive or provocative in nature

 

Aggravated assault is legally defined as committing an act of assault, as defined above, and:

 

  • Causing serious bodily injury to another, or
  • Using or exhibiting a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault

 

To better understand the difference between these two charges, we’ll also define serious bodily injury.

 

Texas statute defines a serious bodily injury as:

 

  • Bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes death, serious permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.

 

In Texas, you can commit assault even if you don’t physically injure the victim. For example, you could face assault charges for something as minor as a shove. Conversely, for a court to convict you of aggravated assault, you must have either caused serious bodily injury or used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the assault.

 

These definitions should give you a better idea of the differences between assault and aggravated assault. If you are facing charges of assault, aggravated assault or assault family violence, you should work closely with a Texas assault defense attorney. These cases can be very fact specific, especially when trying to prove serious bodily injury. Thus, always speak with an attorney to learn about the important elements in your case and the evidentiary rules that could help or hurt your chances of clearing your name.

 

 

If you’re facing assault charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action so you can move on with your life. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

Repeat Domestic Violence Offender in Texas? You Could Face Continuous Family Violence Charges

Repeat Domestic Violence Offender in Texas? You Could Face Continuous Family Violence Charges

Repeat Offenders Can Face Serious Charges

 

The State of Texas takes family violence (i.e. domestic violence) very seriously. Thus, punishments for family violence offenses are harsh and geared toward rehabilitating the offender and preventing future harm. Not surprisingly, if you are a repeat domestic violence offender in Texas, expect the court to charge with you continuous family violence and enhance those penalties significantly. Now let’s take a look at the specifics of this offense and the penalties you could face for a conviction.

 

What Is Continuous Family Violence?

 

Continuous violence against the family is a charge that applies to repeat family violence offenders. Under Texas Penal Code §25.11, a person can be charged with continuous violence against the family if he or she commits assault against a family or household member two or more times within a 12 month period. The second or subsequent offense does not have to be against the same victim. It can be against any member of your family or household, as defined by law under Texas Family Code §71.003.

 

Who Is a Family or Household Member?

 

To be charged under PC §25.11, the alleged victim must be a family or household member. A household is defined as a group of people residing in one dwelling unit, who may or may not be related. Members of a family can include people who are related by consanguinity or affinity, parents of the same child, former spouses, or are a foster parent or foster child.

 

Enhancing the Penalties

 

Continuous family violence is a third-degree felony in Texas and is punishable by between two and ten years of incarceration by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The court may also impose a fine of no more than $10,000.

 

Continuous family violence is a serious charge in Texas. Thus, it’s essential you work closely with a seasoned Dallas-Fort Worth family violence defense attorney whenever facing family violence charges. To avoid the life-changing consequences of a felony conviction, it’s important to explore all your options for fighting your charges before you make any decisions in your case. An attorney can help you do this so that you minimize the negative consequences of your charge.

 

If you are facing continuous family violence charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email clients@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

Raising the Stakes: Aggravating Factors in Texas DWI Cases

Raising the Stakes: Aggravating Factors in Texas DWI Cases

Upping the Ante

 

If you are charged with DWI in Texas, you could face steep fines and surcharges, community service, DWI classes, increased insurance requirements and potentially jail time. And in light of certain aggravating factors, the court can increase those penalties significantly. Aggravating factors are elements that, if present, give the court reason to “enhance” your sentence if you are convicted. Common aggravating factors in Texas DWI cases include:

 

A Prior DWI Conviction

 

A prior DWI conviction if proven will increase the minimum jail sentence associated with the charge. The public policy behind this increase is that the person charged did not learn from the first DWI conviction. However, a knowledgeable DWI attorney may be able to keep out prior convictions or even get the State to agree to not consider it.

 

Open Container of Alcohol in the Car

 

If you have an open container of alcohol in the car when you were driving while intoxicated, you could face a mandatory six-day jail sentence. Driving with an open container of alcohol is a crime in and of itself, typically punishable by just a fine unless you are underage.

 

Underage Drinking

 

In Texas, there are two types of charges for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol: DWI and DUI. DWI applies to drivers over the age of 21 who drive while intoxicated. DUI applies to underage drivers for driving under the influence. An underage driver need not be intoxicated to face DUI charges and may face additional charges for underage drinking.

 

High BAC

 

A high BAC in Texas is an aggravating factor in DWI cases. If your BAC (blood alcohol concentration) level was .15 or higher, you could be charged with a Class A Misdemeanor. Interestingly though, the minimum jail sentence (0 days in jail) for a first time DWI where the BAC is equal to or greater than 0.15 is actually less than if your BAC was less than 0.15. Therefore, a BAC equal to or greater than 0.15 might work to your benefit in a DWI trial.

 

Minor in the Vehicle

 

If you have a child (under the age of 15) with you when driving while intoxicated, you will face felony charges.

 

Causing an Accident

 

If you cause an accident and someone was seriously injured, you could face harsher penalties.

 

Aggravating Factors? Call an Attorney

 

The State of Texas provides many situations where courts can go above and beyond the standard DWI penalties in light of aggravating factors. Your sentence could hinge on the numerous facts and circumstances of your case. Thus, always speak with an experienced Dallas-Fort Worth DWI defense attorney when facing DWI charges.

 

 

If you’ve been arrested for a DWI in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email clients@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

5 Unexpected Consequences of a Texas Family Violence Conviction

5 Unexpected Consequences of a Texas Family Violence Conviction

The Aftermath of a Texas Family Violence Conviction

 

A Texas family violence (domestic violence is interchangeable with family violence in Texas courts) conviction can have serious and lasting consequences. These cases are always worth fighting because a single conviction can result in harsh penalties, including potential jail time and fines. But Texas family violence convictions are unique in that they trigger a number of consequences you might not expect. Here are five unexpected consequences of a Texas family violence conviction.

 

Denial of Texas Hunting and Fishing Licenses

 

If convicted of a family violence offense, the State of Texas may deny you hunting and fishing licenses. This may come as some surprise but is just one example of the far-reaching effects of a family violence conviction.

 

Inability to Possess Firearms

 

Federal law prohibits those convicted of domestic violence or family violence from purchasing, owning or otherwise possessing firearms for life. Unlawful possession of a firearm is a criminal offense.

 

Loss of Custody or Visitation

 

It should come as no surprise that a family violence conviction could affect your custodial rights. In some cases, it may even affect your visitation rights if you do not have custody. Unfortunately, parents in bitter custody battles sometimes make false accusations of family violence in order to gain the upper hand in their cases. Indeed, many of our clients have found themselves in this exact situation. If you are going through divorce or a custody case, it’s imperative you speak with an attorney about your defense options.

 

Loss of Your Job

 

You could lose your job if you work in certain industries and are convicted of Texas family violence. You may be ineligible to hold certain positions such as teacher, nurse or doctor. You can even lose certain forms of professional licenses. In sum, a family violence conviction can affect your ability to work and earn a living indefinitely.

 

Enhancement

 

An affirmative finding of family violence at any level of will allow the State to enhance any future allegations of family violence to a felony level charge. That’s right! An affirmative finding of family violence even on a Class C misdemeanor family violence case permits the State to file a future Class C family violence case as a felony. For this reason alone you should fight any assault family violence case.

 

A Permanent Criminal Record

 

Unlike certain crimes, you cannot expunge or seal records of a Texas family violence conviction. If you are convicted, your criminal record will show that conviction for the rest of your life. If for no other reason than this, you should always fight family violence charges.

 

Surprised to learn about these unexpected consequences of a family violence conviction? You’re not alone. Many people don’t realize how serious family violence charges are until it’s too late. To avoid these consequences, speak with an experienced Dallas-Fort Worth family violence defense attorney promptly. An attorney can help you navigate your case to minimize the negative consequences. Again, these cases are always worth fighting, no matter the class of the offense.

 

If you’re facing family violence charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email clients@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.