Domestic Violence

Allegations of domestic violence are treated seriously in the greater San Antonio area. An annual domestic violence report released by the San Antonio Police Department shows that in 2013, there were more than 44,500 calls related to domestic violence within San Antonio, TX. According to a report released by the Texas Council on Family Violence, five women in Bexar County were among the 132 women killed in domestic violence incidents in Texas in 2014.

Officers with the San Antonio Police Department and the Bexar County Sheriff's Office investigate domestic violence cases. The officers are trained to make an arrest based simply on the allegation of one person even when very little physical evidence supports the allegations.

The vast majority of these arrests are for domestic violence are charged as "assault." In the context of domestic violence, assault can be charged as a Class C misdemeanor because the physical contact is "offensive" or "provocative." Class C misdemeanors are prosecuted in Municipal Court by the Domestic Violence Court Prosecutor’s Office located in the Municipal Court Building. The maximum penalty for a Class C misdemeanor is a fine up to $500.

Most domestic violence cases involve an allegation of assault charged as a Class A misdemeanor which alleges that the defendant caused “bodily injury” to the victim. The assault can be charged as a felony if:

  • the assault resulted in serious bodily injury;
  • the assault involved the use of a weapon;
  • the assault involved strangulation or choking; or
  • the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense against a member of the defendant’s family or household.

These more serious types of domestic violence cases charged as a felony are prosecuted by specially trained prosecutors with the Domestic Violence Task Force under the Special Crimes Division of the District Attorney's Office. 

You also need a criminal defense attorney focused on these difficult cases as you fight for the best result. In many of these cases, the alleged victim will also apply or a protective order at the Family Justice Center (FJC) in Bexar County, TX, after an allegation of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or child abuse. An experienced criminal defense attorney can represent you as you fight both the criminal charges and the petition for a protective order.

Attorneys for Domestic Violence in San Antonio, TX

If you were arrested for any felony or misdemeanor domestic violence crime, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney in San Antonio, TX, at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC. Don Flanary represents both men and women charged with a crime of violence throughout the greater San Antonio area including Bexar County and the surrounding counties of Atascosa County, Comal County, Guadalupe County, Kendall County, Medina County, Wilson County, and Bandera County.

Domestic violence cases are prosecuted in both the County and District Court in Bexar County. Whether you are charged with domestic violence, continuous family violence or violation of a protective order, call the firm to talk directly with Don Flanary today about the facts of your case. 

Call (210) 738-8383 today.


Definition of "Domestic Violence" in Texas

Tex. Fam. Code § 71.004 defines the term "domestic violence" to mean “an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself.”


Types of Domestic Violence Crimes in Texas

The most commonly prosecuted domestic violence crimes prosecuted in San Antonio and Bexar County include the following:

  • Domestic Assault;
    • By Threat;
    • By Offensive or Provocative Contact;
    • Causing Bodily Injury;
  • Aggravated Assault; 
    • with a Weapon; 
    • with Serious Bodily Injury; 
  • Assault by Strangulation or Choking;
  • Injury to a Child;
  • Child Abandonment / Endangerment;
  • Enticing a Child;
  • Stalking;
  • Aggravated Stalking;
  • Violation of a Protective Order;
  • Child Abuse; or
  • Continuous Violence Against the Family.

Approximately 97% of all arrests for domestic violence in Texas involve charges for simple assault, aggravated assault, and intimidation.


Domestic Assault by Threat as a Class C Misdemeanor

Texas Penal Code § 22.01(a)(2) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person's spouse. An offense under Subsection (a)(2) is a Class C misdemeanor.

For the crime of assault by threat, the focus of the crime is on the defendant's words and conduct. The critical inquiry is whether a reasonable person under the circumstances would consider the words and conduct to be an objective threat of imminent bodily injury.

For example, in Olivas v. State, 203 S.W.3d 341, 347 (Tex. Crim. App. 2006), the court found that “[a]lthough the question whether the defendant's conduct produced fear in the victim is relevant, the crucial inquiry remains whether the assailant acted in such a manner as would under the circumstances portend an immediate threat of danger to a person of reasonable sensibility.”

In Montejano v. State, No. 08–12–00235–CR, 2014 WL 4638911, at *6 (Tex. App.–El Paso Sept. 17, 2014, no pet.) (not designated for publication), the court reasoned that the “operative question is whether the defendant's conduct would be perceived as objectively threatening under the circumstances.”


Domestic Assault by Offensive or Provocative Contact as a Class C Misdemeanor

Texas Penal Code § 22.01(a)(3) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.

An offense under Subsection (a)(2) is a Class C misdemeanor, except that the offense is charged as a Class A misdemeanor if the offense is committed against an elderly individual or disabled individual, as those terms are defined by Section 22.04.


Domestic Assault Causing Bodily Injury as a Class A Misdemeanor

Texas Penal Code § 22.01(a)(1) A person commits an offense if the person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person's spouse. An offense under Subsection (a)(1) is a Class A misdemeanor which punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of $4,000.

Under Penal Code § 22.01(a)(1), the elements of the offense include:

  • the defense intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly;
  • the defendant caused bodily injury to another, including the person's spouse.

The term “bodily injury,” means physical pain, illness or any impairment of physical condition. “Spouse” means a person who is legally married to another.


Bodily Injury Assault with a Prior Offense as a Third Degree Felony

As provided in § 22.01(b)(2), an assault which causes bodily injury is a felony of the third degree if the offense is committed against a family member and it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense under this chapter, Chapter 19, or Section 20.03, 20.04, 21.11, or 25.11 against a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code.

Assault causing bodily injury with a prior charged as a felony in the third degree is punishable by two (2) to then (10) years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

To enhance an assault for family violence, the prosecutor is sometimes permitted to use extrinsic evidence other than a Code of Criminal Procedure, Article 42.013 judicial finding of family violence to prove that the defendant was previously convicted of such acts. See State v. Eakins, 71 S.W.3d 443 (Tex.App.-Austin 2002, no pet.).

Under Penal Code, Sec. 22.01(f), the prior conviction for an offense against a member of the defendant's family or a member of the defendant's household under this section can be used for enhancement purposes if:

  • the defendant was adjudged guilty of the offense;
  • the defense entered a plea of guilty or nolo contendere in return for a grant of deferred adjudication;
  • regardless of whether the sentence for the offense was ever imposed; and
  • regardless of whether the sentence was probated and the defendant was subsequently discharged from community supervision.

Assault by Choking or Strangulation as a Third Degree Felony

As provided in § 22.01(b)(2)(B), an assault which causes bodily injury is a felony of the third degree if the offense is committed against a family member and it is shown that the offense is committed by intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of the person by applying pressure to the person's throat or neck or by blocking the person's nose or mouth. 

Assault causing bodily injury with strangulation or choking charged as a felony in the third degree is punishable by two (2) to then (10) years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Read more about charges for domestic assault by strangulation or smothering in San Antonio, TX.


Assault with Bodily Injury as a Second Degree Felony

Under § 22.01(b-1), an offense under Subsection (a)(1) is a felony of the second degree if:

(1) the offense is committed against a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code;

(2) it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense under this chapter, Chapter 19, or Section 20.03, 20.04, or 21.11 against a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code; and

(3) the offense is committed by intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of the person by applying pressure to the person's throat or neck or by blocking the person's nose or mouth.


Aggravated Domestic Assault

A domestic assault that involves the use of a weapon or caused serious bodily injury can be charged with a second-degree felony which is punishable by two (2) to twenty (20) years in Texas State Prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

If you are accused of causing serious bodily injury and using a weapon then you can face penalties of five (5) years to life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. In a domestic violence case, serious bodily injury can include a broken bone, loss of a limb, or a permanent disfigurement. In fact, any injury that requires treatment in hospital or surgery can constitute a serious body injury.


Additional Resources

Domestic Violence Prosecutions in Municipal Court in San Antonio, TX - Visit the website of the San Antonio City Attorney's Office prosecution section to learn more about the prosecution of crimes for domestic violence charged as a Class C Misdemeanor. The section works to hold the batterer accountable, provide for the victim's safety, and prevent the violence from escalating into more dangerous crimes. During plea negotiations, the prosecutors will often ask for a requirement that the defendant completes a Battering Intervention Programs. The section provides training in domestic violence issues for judicial members and law enforcement officers. The section also works to educate the public about the dangers of domestic violence. 

Early Intervention Domestic Violence Team
Municipal Court Address
401 S. Frio
San Antonio, TX 78207
(210) 207-7355

Domestic Violence in Bexar County, Texas - Visit the website of the Bexar County Family Justice Center to learn more about legal services for the victims of domestic violence. The Family Justice Center uses governmental, non-governmental and non-profit partners to provide legal and case management services to victims of domestic violence in Bexar County, Texas. The organization works to reduce domestic violence incidents, recidivism, and homicides in Bexar County. The website discusses examples of domestic violence abuse including physical abuse, sexual abuse, economic abuse, emotional abuse and psychological abuse. Learn more about how alleged victim of domestic violence can apply for and obtain benefits through the Crime Victims Compensation Fund administered by the Texas Attorney General’s Office.

Family Justice Center
126 E. Nueva, 2nd Floor
San Antonio, Texas 78204
210-631-0100

Family Violence Prevention Services in Bexar County - Founded in 1977, Family Violence Prevention Services, Inc. (also known as the FVPS) is a non-profit organization created to offer emergency shelter and other services to abused women and children in Bexar County. The FVPS operates the Battered Women and Children's Shelter of San Antonio. The organization provides tools for self-sufficiency through the delivery of transitional housing, education, effective parenting, and early intervention with children and youth. The organization also provides family counseling, a violence intervention program, and substance abuse intervention for adolescents.


Finding a Lawyer for Domestic Violence Crimes in Bexar County, TX

Criminal charges for domestic violence are unfortunately common in Texas. The total number of Texas family violence incidents in 2014 was 185,817. The Texas Family Code defines the term Family Violence as an act by a member of a family or household against another member that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm.

If you were charged with any family violence crime in San Antonio or Bexar County, then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney at Flanary Law Firm, PLLC. Don Flanary represent both men and women charged with domestic violence throughout Bexar County and the surrounding counties of Kendall County, Comal County, Guadalupe County, Wilson County, Atascosa County, Medina County, and Bandera County.  

If you were arrested for domestic violence after a family disturbance in New Braunfels, Schertz, Seguin, Boerne, Canyon Lake, Cibolo, Converse, Leon Valley, Live Oak, Timberwood Park, Universal City, Alamo Heights, Fair Oaks Ranch, Floresville, Helotes, Hondo, Kirby, Lackland AFB, Lakehills, Pleasanton, Selma, Terrell Hills or Windcrest, then contact attorney Don Flanary. With offices conveniently located in San Antonio, Don Flanary is ready to represent you.

Call (210) 738-8383 today.


This article was last updated on Friday, May 12, 2017.

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