An assault is a severe violation against another human being. It’s a terrible experience and hopefully, most of us will never be assaulted in our lifetimes.
Not only does an assault cause physical pain for the victim, but one can trigger immense emotional and psychological pain as well.
Any person can be assaulted by any other person. Sometimes, one stranger assaults another. Other times, the perpetrator of the assault is someone known to the victim or even someone who they had previously counted as a friend.
Other times, the person who assaulted an individual is a family member. An attack by a loved one can be especially difficult to understand and process.
If you’re wondering how to deal with the assault of a family member, read on. The following tips should be of some help to you while you work through this terrible incident. From a legal standpoint, all victims of assault have rights, regardless of their relationship with their attacker.
We all think that we know the meaning of the word assault, but the understanding that we have may not be the actual legal definition.
The state of Texas defines assault in three ways.
The first definition includes what most of us understand to be assault. This definition states that one type of assault includes “knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person.” In an assault, the victim experiences intentional injury caused by the other party.
The second definition of assault under the Texas Penal Code does not include injury at all, but rather the threat of injury. Telling someone that you plan to hurt or kill them is also considered assault.
Third, assault does not have to leave lasting, visible, physical injuries. If someone has physical contact with another person with the knowledge that that person will be offended by that contact, that counts as assault as well.
All of the above definitions of assault are used in Texas courts. An assault of a family member case can include any of these.
The definition of “family member” in the state of Texas is also quite broad. It is not only limited to blood relatives or families created by marriage.
In addition to parent and child, husband and wife, and sibling relationships, an assault of a family member can occur between two unmarried parents of the same child, step-parents and children, and foster parents and the children in their care.
Further, the definition of family members also includes former spouses, significant others of former spouses, people who are dating, and people who live in the same home, even if they are not related in any way.
Violence between or among any of these groups can result in a family assault charge.
If you have been the victim of an assault by a family member, get to a safe place right away. Contact someone you trust for support.
If you are in immediate danger, call 911. Even if you are not in immediate danger, you should call the police as soon as possible after the assault. Even if you are not in immediate danger, you should report your assault to the police as soon as possible. Police officers will guide you in the completion of a report and will also contact and possibly arrest the person who assaulted you.
You also must seek medical treatment. Even if you are only slightly injured, it is crucial that you see a doctor so he or she can document your injuries.
Contact a lawyer. An assault is a criminal offense and the person who hurt you should be held responsible for his or her actions.
Once the attacker is arrested and goes to court, there are a number of possible penalties he or she may face.
If this is the first time the individual has been arrested for assault, he or she may be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. This charge can result in up to a year of jail time.
However, if the perpetrator is a repeat offender, against you or against someone else, they might end up facing a third-degree felony. This charge can come with a sentence of two to ten years in prison.
If a weapon was used in the assault or if the victim suffered serious bodily injury, the penalties go up from there. If a weapon is used but there is no serious bodily injury, a second-degree felony charge will be levied, which can result in two to twenty years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
If the use of a weapon in the assault did result in serious bodily injury, then the attacker could face a first-degree felony charge. The penalty for a violation of this level can be five years to live in prison and, again, a $10,000 fine.
All of these penalties apply to anyone who has committed an assault, including the assault of a family member. In almost all cases, completion of mandated counseling by a certain date will also be required.
If you have been assaulted, or even think that something that happened to you might qualify as an assault, you need to seek help right away. Often, a single assault can lead to many more down the road, so you need to protect yourself from the very beginning.
Whether you have already called the police or not, we want to help. We have worked with many assault victims and have brought many attackers to justice. We are here to offer support and to answer any questions you may have about the next steps that you should take.
No one should simply forget about an assault. An assault of a family member or one by any other attacker is never okay. Please give us a call today.