Family Violence Texas Penal Code. Family violence, as defined by the Texas Penal Code, encompasses a range of offenses committed against family or household members. Here is an overview of how the Texas Penal Code addresses family violence, including assault and continuous violence against family members, outlining legal definitions, penalties, and the application of these laws.


Assault Family Violence Texas Penal Code


  1. Definition:

   – Family violence, as per the Texas Penal Code § 71.004, refers to any act intended to cause physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the threat of imminent harm against a family or household member.

   – Family or household members include spouses, former spouses, individuals in dating relationships, parents and children, foster parents and foster children, and anyone living together or who has lived together in the past.


  1. Assault in Family Violence


  1. Simple Assault:

   – Definition: Occurs when a person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including family or household members.

   – Penalty: Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000, unless the offense involves choking, in which case it may be classified as a felony.


  1. Aggravated Assault:

   – Definition: Involves causing serious bodily injury or using or exhibiting a deadly weapon during an assault against a family or household member.

   – Penalty: Can range from a second-degree felony (2 to 20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000) to a first-degree felony (5 to 99 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000), depending on the severity of the offense.


  1. Continuous Violence Against the Family


  1. Definition:

   – Definition: Occurs when a person commits two or more acts of family violence against a family or household member within a 12-month period.

   – Penalty: Third-degree felony, punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000. The offender may face enhanced penalties for subsequent offenses.


  1. Legal Implications:

   – Prosecutors may aggregate separate incidents of family violence into a continuous violence charge, leading to more severe penalties than individual assault charges.


  1. Strangulation Offenses

In Texas, family violence laws encompass strangulation offenses as serious criminal acts. Here’s an explanation:

  1. Definition and Severity: Strangulation is defined as intentionally impeding normal breathing or circulation by applying pressure to the throat or neck. It is considered a significant offense due to its potential lethality and long-term health consequences.
  2. Inclusion in Family Violence: Under Texas law, strangulation is explicitly included in the definition of family violence. Family violence applies to offenses committed against family or household members, including spouses, ex-spouses, dating partners, children, and other relatives.
  3. Legal Consequences: Committing strangulation against a family or household member constitutes a felony offense in Texas. The severity of the offense can range based on the circumstances, such as prior criminal history and the severity of harm caused.
  4. Protective Measures: Texas law recognizes the gravity of strangulation and provides for protective measures such as emergency protective orders and enhanced penalties for repeat offenders. These measures aim to safeguard victims and deter perpetrators from committing further acts of violence.
  5. Investigation and Prosecution: Law enforcement agencies and prosecutors in Texas are trained to recognize the signs of strangulation and gather evidence effectively. Prosecutors may pursue charges aggressively due to the potential for severe injury or death resulting from such acts.


Legal Protections and Resources


  1. Protective Orders:

   – Courts issue protective orders (restraining orders) to protect victims of family violence, ordering the offender to stay away from the victim and cease contact.


  1. Victim Services:

   – Local organizations and shelters provide emergency shelter, counseling, legal advocacy, and support services for victims of family violence.


  1. Reporting and Intervention:

   – Law enforcement agencies in Texas prioritize responding to reports of family violence, offering intervention and support to ensure the safety of victims and accountability for offenders.


The Texas Penal Code comprehensively addresses family violence through specific statutes governing assault and continuous violence against family members. By defining offenses, specifying penalties, and providing legal protections for victims, Texas aims to prevent and address incidents of family violence effectively. It is crucial for individuals to understand their rights and responsibilities under these laws, seek assistance from local resources if affected by family violence, and uphold the principles of safety, accountability, and justice within communities throughout the state.