Family Assault is an Assault committed by one family member, person in a current or prior dating relationship, or spouse, against another. Often times, the penalties for Family Assault are harsher than would be normal for a standard assault. Family Assault offenses can often lead to jail time and a temporary or permanent loss of parental rights.
Prior Family Assault Convictions: If a person has a prior misdemeanor Family Assault Conviction on his or her record, then a new Family Assault can be enhanced to a Felony.
Enhanced 'Strangulation' Family Assaults: If there is contact to the victim's neck, causing difficulty or restricted breathing, then the prosecution can Enhance the Family Assault to a 3rd Degree Felony, even if the offense would otherwise be a Misdemeanor.
Defenses for Family Assaults: When called to the scene (normally a residence) of a Family Assault dispute, officers are often forced to form quick judgments based on little evidence. In recent years, there has been an increase in 'Revenge Family Assault' reports, where a husband or wife claims Family Assault in retaliation to a verbal argument, disagreement, or recently discovered infidelity. Much too often, those individuals seek to use the law for their own gains, without a care as to who gets hurt in the process.
Protective Orders: Typically in a Family Assault case, the alleged victim, though the District Attorney or Police, will ask for a court ordered injunction or restraining order to place restrictions on contact between the accused and other members of the family. The Protective Orders can vary, ranging from no contact with the alleged victim (meaning the accused must find an alternate place to live until the case is resolved) to loss of temporary child custody. A violation of a Court Ordered Protective Order may result in criminal charges filed against you in addition to the Family Assault case.
Problems Sealing Family Assault Records: New Laws make it impossible to seal a Family Assault after successful completion of Deferred Adjudication. While the case would be dismissed, the offense could not be sealed through a Motion for Non-Disclosure.
Other Issues with Family Assaults: A conviction for a Family Assault will result in a lifetime ban from owning or possessing a firearm, even if the case was a misdemeanor.