Family Violence: Don’t Settle for a Class C Assault!
While “class C” misdemeanors are the lowest form of misdemeanor, that does NOT mean the long-term effects are the same. Most, if not all, traffic violations are Class C misdemeanors. Because of this, many generalize Class C misdemeanors as the “equivalent” of traffic tickets. That is far from the truth, especially for family violence.
Do not be tricked by Class C Family Violence Assaults!
What is an Assault?
An assault is legally defined as an offensive contact. An offensive contact is a class C assault which is up to a $500 fine. Once the offensive contact causes pain it becomes a class A misdemeanor with up to a year in county jail and a $4,000 fine. These type of charges can range from slaps in the face to bruising and broken bones. It does not matter whether the victim wants to press charges or not. The police and district attorney decide whether to file a case. They may file in normal courts or family violence courts, depending on the county.
Family Violence Enhancement
A class C Assault usually means “assault by touching” or “assault by threat”. While a class C assault might share a punishment range with traffic tickets, the long-term effects are much different. For one, class C Family Violence assaults enhance future Family Violence charges. In other words, even this “traffic ticket equivalent” offense can potentially make a future Family Violence assault into a felony.
Family Violence Impact on Guns
On top of that, even a misdemeanor Family Violence conviction impacts your ability to buy and possess guns. Under federal law, possessing a gun with a family violence conviction is illegal. 18 USC 922(g)(9). In other words, think of a family violence conviction as putting you on a “watch list” of sorts for buying guns. Most states have similar restrictions, including Texas. In Texas, however, the restriction is not as broad. The federal restriction applies to any family violence misdemeanor. Texas, on the other hand, only applies the restriction to Class A or higher family violence convictions. Under Texas Penal Code 46.04(b), possessing a gun is illegal until 5 years after release from containment or probation. As an example, it would be illegal for someone to have a gun for 7 years if they had a 2 year probation for family violence.
Jobs, Housing, and Other Effects
Though far from universal, many companies now require you to disclose all “non-traffic” convictions. Whether it is for a job, housing, or a license, a class c assault conviction is not safe just because it is “equal” to a traffic ticket. Going further, do not allow a “deferred adjudication” to trick you. While it may sound good on paper, keep in mind that deferred class c assaults still enhance a future charge. In addition, many applications, like with convictions, also ask for disclosure of deferred non-traffic misdemeanors. Fortunately, you might be able to avoid this issue if enough time has passed to petition for an expunction or nondisclosure. Please contact us to discuss your eligibility for nondisclosure.
Practice Self-Help in Stressful Situations
The Coffey Firm highly advises practicing self-help techniques when faced with a stressful situation. Sometimes a little meditation can help calm you body and mind, relieving stress. If the stress starts causing serious issues, perhaps giving therapy or counseling a shot can help. Don’t let the stigma attached to counseling deter you. Therapy does not make you a bad person, it makes you a person who is smart enough to know they need help to handle a stressful situation. Don’t let your stress boil over into shouting matches or coming to blows with a loved one. Physical and verbal violence is never the answer.
More about Mimi Coffey
When people look for a “top criminal lawyer near me” or “best criminal lawyer”, they look for experience, certification, and respect in the legal community. Mimi Coffey is a nationally-renowned trial attorney, board-certified in DWI by the NCDD. She has been practicing for over 24 years and is an author of multiple DWI Defense textbooks. She is also a national and state-wide lecturer on the law.
Mimi is also listed on several “top” directory listings such as DWI Lawyers for Wise County, DWI Lawyer Tarrant County, DWI Lawyer Dallas County, DWI Lawyer Collin County and DWI Lawyer Parker County. Mimi is a caring DWI Lawyer in DFW, She is also involved in the Texas Tech School of Law foundation and enjoys using the skills she has developed to give back to the community.