Assaultive Offenses

Sec. 22.01. ASSAULT.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person:

(1) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse;
(2) intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person’s spouse; or
(3) 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.

(b) An offense under Subsection (a)(1) is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is a felony of the third degree if the offense is committed against:

(1) a person the actor knows is a public servant while the public servant is lawfully discharging an official duty, or in retaliation or on account of an exercise of official power or performance of an official duty as a public servant;
(2) a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code, if:

(A) 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; or
(B) 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;

(3) a person who contracts with government to perform a service in a facility as defined by Section 1.07(a)(14), Penal Code, or Section 51.02(13) or (14), Family Code, or an employee of that person:

(A) while the person or employee is engaged in performing a service within the scope of the contract, if the actor knows the person or employee is authorized by government to provide the service; or
(B) in retaliation for or on account of the person’s or employee’s performance of a service within the scope of the contract;

(4) a person the actor knows is a security officer while the officer is performing a duty as a security officer; or
(5) a person the actor knows is emergency services personnel while the person is providing emergency services.

(b-1) Notwithstanding Subsection (b)(2), 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.

(c) An offense under Subsection (a)(2) or (3) is a Class C misdemeanor, except that the offense is:

(1) a Class A misdemeanor if the offense is committed under Subsection (a)(3) against an elderly individual or disabled individual, as those terms are defined by Section 22.04; or
(2) a Class B misdemeanor if the offense is committed by a person who is not a sports participant against a person the actor knows is a sports participant either:

(A) while the participant is performing duties or responsibilities in the participant’s capacity as a sports participant; or
(B) in retaliation for or on account of the participant’s performance of a duty or responsibility within the participant’s capacity as a sports participant.

(d) For purposes of Subsection (b), the actor is presumed to have known the person assaulted was a public servant, a security officer, or emergency services personnel if the person was wearing a distinctive uniform or badge indicating the person’s employment as a public servant or status as a security officer or emergency services personnel.
(e) In this section:

(1) “Emergency services personnel” includes firefighters, emergency medical services personnel as defined by Section 773.003, Health and Safety Code, emergency room personnel, and other individuals who, in the course and scope of employment or as a volunteer, provide services for the benefit of the general public during emergency situations.
(2) “Security officer” means a commissioned security officer as defined by Section 1702.002, Occupations Code, or a noncommissioned security officer registered under Section 1702.221, Occupations Code.
(3) “Sports participant” means a person who participates in any official capacity with respect to an interscholastic, intercollegiate, or other organized amateur or professional athletic competition and includes an athlete, referee, umpire, linesman, coach, instructor, administrator, or staff member.

(f) For the purposes of Subsections (b)(2)(A) and (b-1)(2):

(1) a defendant has been previously convicted of an offense listed in those subsections 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, if the defendant was adjudged guilty of the offense or 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 or whether the sentence was probated and the defendant was subsequently discharged from community supervision; and
(2) a conviction under the laws of another state for an offense containing elements that are substantially similar to the elements of an offense listed in those subsections is a conviction of the offense listed.

(g) If conduct constituting an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under another section of this code, the actor may be prosecuted under either section or both sections.

Sec. 22.011. SEXUAL ASSAULT.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person:

(1) intentionally or knowingly:

(A) causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person’s consent;
(B) causes the penetration of the mouth of another person by the sexual organ of the actor, without that person’s consent; or
(C) causes the sexual organ of another person, without that person’s consent, to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or

(2) intentionally or knowingly:

(A) causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of a child by any means;
(B) causes the penetration of the mouth of a child by the sexual organ of the actor;
(C) causes the sexual organ of a child to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor;
(D) causes the anus of a child to contact the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or
(E) causes the mouth of a child to contact the anus or sexual organ of another person, including the actor.

(b) A sexual assault under Subsection (a)(1) is without the consent of the other person if:

(1) the actor compels the other person to submit or participate by the use of physical force or violence;
(2) the actor compels the other person to submit or participate by threatening to use force or violence against the other person, and the other person believes that the actor has the present ability to execute the threat;
(3) the other person has not consented and the actor knows the other person is unconscious or physically unable to resist;
(4) the actor knows that as a result of mental disease or defect the other person is at the time of the sexual assault incapable either of appraising the nature of the act or of resisting it;
(5) the other person has not consented and the actor knows the other person is unaware that the sexual assault is occurring;
(6) the actor has intentionally impaired the other person’s power to appraise or control the other person’s conduct by administering any substance without the other person’s knowledge;
(7) the actor compels the other person to submit or participate by threatening to use force or violence against any person, and the other person believes that the actor has the ability to execute the threat;
(8) the actor is a public servant who coerces the other person to submit or participate;
(9) the actor is a mental health services provider or a health care services provider who causes the other person, who is a patient or former patient of the actor, to submit or participate by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the actor;
(10) the actor is a clergyman who causes the other person to submit or participate by exploiting the other person’s emotional dependency on the clergyman in the clergyman’s professional character as spiritual adviser; or
(11) the actor is an employee of a facility where the other person is a resident, unless the employee and resident are formally or informally married to each other under Chapter 2, Family Code.

(c) In this section:

(1) “Child” means a person younger than 17 years of age.
(2) “Spouse” means a person who is legally married to another.
(3) “Health care services provider” means:

(A) a physician licensed under Subtitle B, Title 3, Occupations Code;
(B) a chiropractor licensed under Chapter 201, Occupations Code;
(C) a physical therapist licensed under Chapter 453, Occupations Code;
(D) a physician assistant licensed under Chapter 204, Occupations Code; or
(E) a registered nurse, a vocational nurse, or an advanced practice nurse licensed under Chapter 301, Occupations Code.

(4) “Mental health services provider” means an individual, licensed or unlicensed, who performs or purports to perform mental health services, including a:

(A) licensed social worker as defined by Section 505.002, Occupations Code;
(B) chemical dependency counselor as defined by Section 504.001, Occupations Code;
(C) licensed professional counselor as defined by Section 503.002, Occupations Code;
(D) licensed marriage and family therapist as defined by Section 502.002, Occupations Code;
(E) member of the clergy;
(F) psychologist offering psychological services as defined by Section 501.003, Occupations Code; or
(G) special officer for mental health assignment certified under Section 1701.404, Occupations Code.

(5) “Employee of a facility” means a person who is an employee of a facility defined by Section 250.001, Health and Safety Code, or any other person who provides services for a facility for compensation, including a contract laborer.

(d) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(2) that the conduct consisted of medical care for the child and did not include any contact between the anus or sexual organ of the child and the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of the actor or a third party.
(e) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Subsection (a)(2):

(1) that the actor was the spouse of the child at the time of the offense; or
(2) that:

(A) the actor was not more than three years older than the victim and at the time of the offense:

(i) was not required under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure, to register for life as a sex offender; or
(ii) was not a person who under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure, had a reportable conviction or adjudication for an offense under this section; and

(B) the victim:

(i) was a child of 14 years of age or older; and
(ii) was not a person whom the actor was prohibited from marrying or purporting to marry or with whom the actor was prohibited from living under the appearance of being married under Section 25.01.

(f) An offense under this section is a felony of the second degree, except that an offense under this section is a felony of the first degree if the victim was a person whom the actor was prohibited from marrying or purporting to marry or with whom the actor was prohibited from living under the appearance of being married under Section 25.01.

Sec. 22.02. AGGRAVATED ASSAULT.

(a) A person commits an offense if the person commits assault as defined in Sec. 22.01 and the person:

(1) causes serious bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse; or
(2) uses or exhibits a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault.

(b) An offense under this section is a felony of the second degree, except that the offense is a felony of the first degree if:

(1) the actor uses a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault and causes serious bodily injury to 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) regardless of whether the offense is committed under Subsection (a)(1) or (a)(2), the offense is committed:

(A) by a public servant acting under color of the servant’s office or employment;
(B) against a person the actor knows is a public servant while the public servant is lawfully discharging an official duty, or in retaliation or on account of an exercise of official power or performance of an official duty as a public servant;
(C) in retaliation against or on account of the service of another as a witness, prospective witness, informant, or person who has reported the occurrence of a crime; or
(D) against a person the actor knows is a security officer while the officer is performing a duty as a security officer; or

(3) the actor is in a motor vehicle, as defined by Section 501.002, Transportation Code, and:

(A) knowingly discharges a firearm at or in the direction of a habitation, building, or vehicle;
(B) is reckless as to whether the habitation, building, or vehicle is occupied; and
(C) in discharging the firearm, causes serious bodily injury to any person.

(c) The actor is presumed to have known the person assaulted was a public servant or a security officer if the person was wearing a distinctive uniform or badge indicating the person’s employment as a public servant or status as a security officer.
(d) In this section, “security officer” means a commissioned security officer as defined by Section 1702.002, Occupations Code, or a noncommissioned security officer registered under Section 1702.221, Occupations Code.

Sec. 22.021. AGGRAVATED SEXUAL ASSAULT.

(a) A person commits an offense:

(1) if the person:

(A) intentionally or knowingly:

(i) causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person’s consent
(ii) causes the penetration of the mouth of another person by the sexual organ of the actor, without that person’s consent; or
(iii) causes the sexual organ of another person, without that person’s consent, to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or

(B) intentionally or knowingly:

(i) causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of a child by any means;
(ii) causes the penetration of the mouth of a child by the sexual organ of the actor;
(iii) causes the sexual organ of a child to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor;
(iv) causes the anus of a child to contact the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or
(v) causes the mouth of a child to contact the anus or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; and

(2) if:

(A) the person:

(i) causes serious bodily injury or attempts to cause the death of the victim or another person in the course of the same criminal episode;
(ii) by acts or words places the victim in fear that any person will become the victim of an offense under Section 20A.02(a)(3), (4), (7), or (8) or that death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping will be imminently inflicted on any person;
(iii) by acts or words occurring in the presence of the victim threatens to cause any person to become the victim of an offense under Section 20A.02(a)(3), (4), (7), or (8) or to cause the death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping of any person;
(iv) uses or exhibits a deadly weapon in the course of the same criminal episode;
(v) acts in concert with another who engages in conduct described by Subdivision (1) directed toward the same victim and occurring during the course of the same criminal episode; or
(vi) administers or provides flunitrazepam, otherwise known as rohypnol, gamma hydroxybutyrate, or ketamine to the victim of the offense with the intent of facilitating the commission of the offense;

(B) the victim is younger than 14 years of age; or
(C) the victim is an elderly individual or a disabled individual.

(b) In this section:

(1) “Child” has the meaning assigned by Section 22.011(c).
(2) “Elderly individual” has the meaning assigned by Section 22.04(c).
(3) “Disabled individual” means a person older than 13 years of age who by reason of age or physical or mental disease, defect, or injury is substantially unable to protect the person’s self from harm or to provide food, shelter, or medical care for the person’s self.

(c) An aggravated sexual assault under this section is without the consent of the other person if the aggravated sexual assault occurs under the same circumstances listed in Section 22.011(b).
(d) The defense provided by Section 22.011(d) applies to this section.
(e) An offense under this section is a felony of the first degree.
(f) The minimum term of imprisonment for an offense under this section is increased to 25 years if:

(1) the victim of the offense is younger than six years of age at the time the offense is committed; or
(2) the victim of the offense is younger than 14 years of age at the time the offense is committed and the actor commits the offense in a manner described by Subsection (a)(2)(A).

Sec. 22.04. INJURY TO A CHILD, ELDERLY INDIVIDUAL ,OR DISABLED INDIVIDUAL.

(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, by act or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly by omission, causes to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual:

(1) serious bodily injury;
(2) serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury; or
(3) bodily injury.

(a-1) A person commits an offense if the person is an owner, operator, or employee of a group home, nursing facility, assisted living facility, intermediate care facility for persons with mental retardation, or other institutional care facility and the person intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence by omission causes to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual who is a resident of that group home or facility:

(1) serious bodily injury;
(2) serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury; or
(3) bodily injury.

(b) An omission that causes a condition described by Subsection (a)(1), (2), or (3) or (a-1)(1), (2), or (3) is conduct constituting an offense under this section if:

(1) the actor has a legal or statutory duty to act; or
(2) the actor has assumed care, custody, or control of a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual.

(c) In this section:

(1) “Child” means a person 14 years of age or younger.
(2) “Elderly individual” means a person 65 years of age or older.
(3) “Disabled individual” means a person:

(A) with one or more of the following:

(i) autism spectrum disorder, as defined by Section 1355.001, Insurance Code;
(ii) developmental disability, as defined by Section 112.042, Human Resources Code;
(iii) intellectual disability, as defined by Section 591.003, Health and Safety Code;
(iv) severe emotional disturbance, as defined by Section 261.001, Family Code; or
(v) traumatic brain injury, as defined by Section 92.001, Health and Safety Code; or

(B) who otherwise by reason of age or physical or mental disease, defect, or injury is substantially unable to protect the person’s self from harm or to provide food, shelter, or medical care for the person’s self.

(4) Repealed by Acts 2011, 82nd Leg., R.S., Ch. 620, Sec. 11, eff. September 1, 2011.

(d) For purposes of an omission that causes a condition described by Subsection (a)(1), (2), or (3), the actor has assumed care, custody, or control if he has by act, words, or course of conduct acted so as to cause a reasonable person to conclude that he has accepted responsibility for protection, food, shelter, and medical care for a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual. For purposes of an omission that causes a condition described by Subsection (a-1)(1), (2), or (3), the actor acting during the actor’s capacity as owner, operator, or employee of a group home or facility described by Subsection (a-1) is considered to have accepted responsibility for protection, food, shelter, and medical care for the child, elderly individual, or disabled individual who is a resident of the group home or facility.
(e) An offense under Subsection (a)(1) or (2) or (a-1)(1) or (2) is a felony of the first degree when the conduct is committed intentionally or knowingly. When the conduct is engaged in recklessly, the offense is a felony of the second degree.
(f) An offense under Subsection (a)(3) or (a-1)(3) is a felony of the third degree when the conduct is committed intentionally or knowingly, except that an offense under Subsection (a)(3) is a felony of the second degree when the conduct is committed intentionally or knowingly and the victim is a disabled individual residing in a center, as defined by Section 555.001, Health and Safety Code, or in a facility licensed under Chapter 252, Health and Safety Code, and the actor is an employee of the center or facility whose employment involved providing direct care for the victim. When the conduct is engaged in recklessly, the offense is a state jail felony.
(g) An offense under Subsection (a) is a state jail felony when the person acts with criminal negligence. An offense under Subsection (a-1) is a state jail felony when the person, with criminal negligence and by omission, causes a condition described by Subsection (a-1)(1), (2), or (3).
(h) A person who is subject to prosecution under both this section and another section of this code may be prosecuted under either or both sections. Section 3.04 does not apply to criminal episodes prosecuted under both this section and another section of this code. If a criminal episode is prosecuted under both this section and another section of this code and sentences are assessed for convictions under both sections, the sentences shall run concurrently.
(i) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Subsection (b)(2) that before the offense the actor:

(1) notified in person the child, elderly individual, or disabled individual that he would no longer provide any of the care described by Subsection (d); and
(2) notified in writing the parents or person other than himself acting in loco parentis to the child, elderly individual, or disabled individual that he would no longer provide any of the care described by Subsection (d); or
(3) notified in writing the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services that he would no longer provide any of the care set forth in Subsection (d).

(j) Written notification under Subsection (i)(2) or (i)(3) is not effective unless it contains the name and address of the actor, the name and address of the child, elderly individual, or disabled individual, the type of care provided by the actor, and the date the care was discontinued.
(k) It is a defense to prosecution under this section that the act or omission consisted of:

(1) reasonable medical care occurring under the direction of or by a licensed physician; or
(2) emergency medical care administered in good faith and with reasonable care by a person not licensed in the healing arts.

(l) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section:

(1) that the act or omission was based on treatment in accordance with the tenets and practices of a recognized religious method of healing with a generally accepted record of efficacy;
(2) for a person charged with an act of omission causing to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual a condition described by Subsection (a)(1), (2), or (3) that:

(A) there is no evidence that, on the date prior to the offense charged, the defendant was aware of an incident of injury to the child, elderly individual, or disabled individual and failed to report the incident; and
(B) the person:

(i) was a victim of family violence, as that term is defined by Section 71.004, Family Code, committed by a person who is also charged with an offense against the child, elderly individual, or disabled individual under this section or any other section of this title;
(ii) did not cause a condition described by Subsection (a)(1), (2), or (3); and
(iii) did not reasonably believe at the time of the omission that an effort to prevent the person also charged with an offense against the child, elderly individual, or disabled individual from committing the offense would have an effect; or

(3) that:

(A) the actor was not more than three years older than the victim at the time of the offense; and
(B) the victim was a nondisabled or disabled child at the time of the offense.

(m) It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Subsections (a)(1), (2), and (3) for injury to a disabled individual that the person did not know and could not reasonably have known that the individual was a disabled individual, as defined by Subsection (c), at the time of the offense.

Sec. 22.041. ABANDONING OR ENDANGERING CHILD.

(a) In this section, “abandon” means to leave a child in any place without providing reasonable and necessary care for the child, under circumstances under which no reasonable, similarly situated adult would leave a child of that age and ability.
(b) A person commits an offense if, having custody, care, or control of a child younger than 15 years, he intentionally abandons the child in any place under circumstances that expose the child to an unreasonable risk of harm.
(c) A person commits an offense if he intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, by act or omission, engages in conduct that places a child younger than 15 years in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment.
(c-1) For purposes of Subsection (c), it is presumed that a person engaged in conduct that places a child in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment if:

(1) the person manufactured, possessed, or in any way introduced into the body of any person the controlled substance methamphetamine in the presence of the child;
(2) the person’s conduct related to the proximity or accessibility of the controlled substance methamphetamine to the child and an analysis of a specimen of the child’s blood, urine, or other bodily substance indicates the presence of methamphetamine in the child’s body; or
(3) the person injected, ingested, inhaled, or otherwise introduced a controlled substance listed in Penalty Group 1, Section 481.102, Health and Safety Code, into the human body when the person was not in lawful possession of the substance as defined by Section 481.002(24) of that code.

(d) Except as provided by Subsection (e), an offense under Subsection (b) is:

(1) a state jail felony if the actor abandoned the child with intent to return for the child; or
(2) a felony of the third degree if the actor abandoned the child without intent to return for the child.

(e) An offense under Subsection (b) is a felony of the second degree if the actor abandons the child under circumstances that a reasonable person would believe would place the child in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment.
(f) An offense under Subsection (c) is a state jail felony.
(g) It is a defense to prosecution under Subsection (c) that the act or omission enables the child to practice for or participate in an organized athletic event and that appropriate safety equipment and procedures are employed in the event.
(h) It is an exception to the application of this section that the actor voluntarily delivered the child to a designated emergency infant care provider under Section 262.302, Family Code.

Sec. 22.05. DEADLY CONDUCT.

(a) A person commits an offense if he recklessly engages in conduct that places another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury.
(b) A person commits an offense if he knowingly discharges a firearm at or in the direction of:

(1) one or more individuals; or
(2) a habitation, building, or vehicle and is reckless as to whether the habitation, building, or vehicle is occupied.

(c) Recklessness and danger are presumed if the actor knowingly pointed a firearm at or in the direction of another whether or not the actor believed the firearm to be loaded.
(d) For purposes of this section, “building,” “habitation,” and “vehicle” have the meanings assigned those terms by Section 30.01.
(e) An offense under Subsection (a) is a Class A misdemeanor. An offense under Subsection (b) is a felony of the third degree.

Sec. 22.06. CONSENT AS DEFENSE TO ASSAULTIVE CONDUCT.

(a) The victim’s effective consent or the actor’s reasonable belief that the victim consented to the actor’s conduct is a defense to prosecution under Section 22.01 (Assault), 22.02 (Aggravated Assault), or 22.05 (Deadly Conduct) if:

(1) the conduct did not threaten or inflict serious bodily injury; or
(2) the victim knew the conduct was a risk of:

(A) his occupation;
(B) recognized medical treatment; or
(C) a scientific experiment conducted by recognized methods.

(b) The defense to prosecution provided by Subsection (a) is not available to a defendant who commits an offense described by Subsection (a) as a condition of the defendant’s or the victim’s initiation or continued membership in a criminal street gang, as defined by Section 71.01.

Sec. 22.07. TERRORISTIC THREAT

(a) A person commits an offense if he threatens to commit any offense involving violence to any person or property with intent to:

(1) cause a reaction of any type to his threat by an official or volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies;
(2) place any person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury;
(3) prevent or interrupt the occupation or use of a building, room, place of assembly, place to which the public has access, place of employment or occupation, aircraft, automobile, or other form of conveyance, or other public place;
(4) cause impairment or interruption of public communications, public transportation, public water, gas, or power supply or other public service;
(5) place the public or a substantial group of the public in fear of serious bodily injury; or
(6) influence the conduct or activities of a branch or agency of the federal government, the state, or a political subdivision of the state.

(b) An offense under Subsection (a)(1) is a Class B misdemeanor.
(c) An offense under Subsection (a)(2) is a Class B misdemeanor, except that the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if the offense:

(1) is committed against a member of the person’s family or household or otherwise constitutes family violence; or
(2) is committed against a public servant.

(d) An offense under Subsection (a)(3) is a Class A misdemeanor, unless the actor causes pecuniary loss of $1,500 or more to the owner of the building, room, place, or conveyance, in which event the offense is a state jail felony.
(e) An offense under Subsection (a)(4), (a)(5), or (a)(6) is a felony of the third degree.
(f) In this section:

(1) “Family” has the meaning assigned by Section 71.003, Family Code.
(2) “Family violence” has the meaning assigned by Section 71.004, Family Code.
(3) “Household” has the meaning assigned by Section 71.005, Family Code.

(g) For purposes of Subsection (d), the amount of pecuniary loss is the amount of economic loss suffered by the owner of the building, room, place, or conveyance as a result of the prevention or interruption of the occupation or use of the building, room, place, or conveyance.

Sec. 22.08. AIDING SUICIDE.

(a) A person commits an offense if, with intent to promote or assist the commission of suicide by another, he aids or attempts to aid the other to commit or attempt to commit suicide.
(b) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor unless the actor’s conduct causes suicide or attempted suicide that results in serious bodily injury, in which event the offense is a state jail felony.

Sec. 22.09. TAMPERING WITH CONSUMER PRODUCT

(a) In this section:

(1) “Consumer Product” means any product offered for sale to or for consumption by the public and includes “food” and “drugs” as those terms are defined in Section 431.002, Health and Safety Code.
(2) “Tamper” means to alter or add a foreign substance to a consumer product to make it probable that the consumer product will cause serious bodily injury.

(b) A person commits an offense if he knowingly or intentionally tampers with a consumer product knowing that the consumer product will be offered for sale to the public or as a gift to another.
(c) A person commits an offense if he knowingly or intentionally threatens to tamper with a consumer product with the intent to cause fear, to affect the sale of the consumer product, or to cause bodily injury to any person.
(d) An offense under Subsection (b) is a felony of the second degree unless a person suffers serious bodily injury, in which event it is a felony of the first degree. An offense under Subsection (c) is a felony of the third degree.

Sec. 22.10. LEAVING A CHILD IN A VEHICLE.

(a) A person commits an offense if he intentionally or knowingly leaves a child in a motor vehicle for longer than five minutes, knowing that the child is:

(1) younger than seven years of age; and
(2) not attended by an individual in the vehicle who is 14 years of age or older.

(b) An offense under this section is a Class C misdemeanor.

Sec. 22.11. HARASSMENT BY PERSONS IN CERTAIN CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES; HARASSMENT OF PUBLIC SERVANT.

(a) A person commits an offense if, with the intent to assault, harass, or alarm, the person:

(1) while imprisoned or confined in a correctional or detention facility, causes another person to contact the blood, seminal fluid, vaginal fluid, saliva, urine, or feces of the actor, any other person, or an animal; or
(2) causes another person the actor knows to be a public servant to contact the blood, seminal fluid, vaginal fluid, saliva, urine, or feces of the actor, any other person, or an animal while the public servant is lawfully discharging an official duty or in retaliation or on account of an exercise of the public servant’s official power or performance of an official duty.

(b) An offense under this section is a felony of the third degree.
(c) If conduct constituting an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under another section of this code, the actor may be prosecuted under either section.
(d) In this section, “correctional or detention facility” means:

(1) a secure correctional facility; or
(2) a “secure correctional facility” or a “secure detention facility” as defined by Section 51.02, Family Code, operated by or under contract with a juvenile board or the Texas Juvenile Justice Department or any other facility operated by or under contract with that department.

(e) For purposes of Subsection (a)(2), the actor is presumed to have known the person was a public servant if the person was wearing a distinctive uniform or badge indicating the person’s employment as a public servant.

Sec. 22.12. APPLICABILITY TO CERTAIN CONDUCT.

This chapter does not apply to conduct charged as having been committed against an individual who is an unborn child if the conduct is:

(1) committed by the mother of the unborn child;
(2) a lawful medical procedure performed by a physician or other health care provider with the requisite consent;
(3) a lawful medical procedure performed by a physician or other licensed health care provider with the requisite consent as part of an assisted reproduction as defined by Section 160.102, Family Code; or
(4) the dispensation of a drug in accordance with law or administration of a drug prescribed in accordance with law.

Frequently Asked Question's

Assault Family Violence

1. What’s the difference between “domestic violence” and “family violence”?

Not much. “Domestic violence” commonly refers to violence between adults who are married, but “family violence” as defined in the Texas Family Code is broader and includes individuals who are:
  • Related by blood or marriage
  • Current and/or former spouses
  • Parents of the same child
  • Foster parents and children
It doesn’t matter for the above groups whether they live together or not. But the definition also includes:
  • Roommates
  • Individuals who are or were in a dating relationship

2. What are the different kinds of charges for family violence cases?

Several different offenses can fall under the “family violence banner,” but the most common cases are:
  • Assault (offensive touching, sometimes a reduction from a higher charge) – Class C Misdemeanor, $0 to $500 fine
  • Assault Family Violence – Class A Misdemeanor, 0 to 365 days jail and/or up to $4,000 fine
  • Assault Family Violence with prior FV conviction – 3rd and/or up to $10,000 fine
  • Continuous Family Violence (2 or more incidents alleged in one year) – 3rd to 10 years prison and/or up to $10,000 fine
  • Aggravated Assault causing Serious Bodily Injury with Deadly Weapon with Family Violence
  • 1st Degree Felony, 5 to 99 years or life in prison and/or up to $10,000 fine

3. Does it matter if it was a punch or “just a push”?

Yes and no. Bodily injury means any “physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.” It can be as serious as a stab or gunshot wound, or as simple as pulling someone’s hair. The issue is “did it hurt?” or “did it cause pain?” Some felony offenses allege “serious bodily injury,” meaning “injury that creates a substantial risk of death, serious permanent disfigurement, or [extended] loss or impairment of the function of” part of the body. The more serious the injury, the higher level the offense will be charged. And if the officers aren’t sure, they will usually err on the side of charging the higher offense.

4. What if I’ve been convicted of a case with a finding of Family Violence case before?

If you’ve already been convicted once before of a case with a finding of family violence, then the second arrest will be charged as a 3rd Degree Felony. A 3rd Degree Felony is punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. If the State can’t prove the enhancement (the prior case), they may still prosecute the case as a lower offense, usually a Class Assault Family Violence Misdemeanor.

5. I was issued an Emergency Protective Order. What does that mean?

An EPO can be issued on request from a police officer, an alleged “victim”, a guardian, or an attorney for the State. It may require you to not commit family violence or assault, communicate in a harassing or threatening manner, or go near a particular residence. An EPO can be effective for anywhere from 31 to 91 days, and it can be “replaced” upon request by a complainant with a standard Protective Order.

6. What happens if the complaining party doesn’t want to prosecute?

If the person who is alleged as the “victim” doesn’t want to prosecute, then he or she can file an Affidavit of Non-Prosecution with the District Attorney’s office. This can be done through an attorney or, sometimes, DA’s offices have their own protocol. This does not mean the case will dismissed – if the DAs feels they should go forward with the case or even if they can prove it without his or her testimony, they may still prosecute the case. But filing an ANP doesn’t hurt.

7. Can I still own a gun once if I plead guilty to Assault Family Violence?

No. If you are convicted of a Family Violence offense, like Assault Family Violence, you forfeit your rights to ever possess or transport a firearm or ammunition under federal law. If you violate the law, you will be subject to penalties under federal – not state – law.

Drug Offenses

1. What’s the difference between “possession” and “distribute” or “manufacture”?

“Possession” is the basic charge for any drug offense, whether it is marijuana or methamphetamine.  Proving possession requires a showing of “actual care, custody, control, or management.” To “distribute,” a person must deliver a drug in some way other than “administering or dispensing” it. But “manufacture” is the broadest definition of all, including the creation and altering of any drug (other than marijuana), by chemical synthesis and/or extracting natural substances. It can also include the packaging and labeling of a drug.

2. What’s a “penalty group” and how does it affect how I’m charged?

The legislature has divided controlled substances into 4 penalty groups, and each one has its own punishment range, depending on whether the offense is possession or manufacture and distribution, the amount of the substance, and generally based on the dangerousness of the drug itself. Some common drugs and their associated penalty groups are:
  • PG 1 – Methamphetamine, Cocaine, Heroin, Hydrocodone (over 300 mg)
  • PG 2 – Ecstasy, PCP
  • PG 3 -  Valium, Xanax, Ritalin, Hydrocodone (under 300 mg)
  • PG 4 – Morphine, Buprenorphine

3. How will the amount affect how I’m charged?

Charges are divided up by the amount involved, based on the penalty group. For example,  marijuana possession is charged as:
  • Less than 2 oz – class B misdemeanor
  • 2 to 4 oz – class A misdemeanor
  • 4 oz to 5 lbs – 3rd degree felony
  • 5 lbs to 2000 lbs – 2nd degree felony
  • Over 2000 lbs – 1st degree felony
For Penalty Groups 1 and 2 –
  • Less than 1 gr – state jail felony
  • 1 to 4 grams – 3rd degree felony
  • 4 to 200 grams (or 4 to 400 grams for PG2) – 2nd degree felony
  • 200 or more grams (or over 400 grams for PG2) – 1st degree felony

4. What is SAFP?

SAFP stands for the Substance Abuse Felony Punishment program.  This is an intense treatment program for probationers and parolees who need substance abuse treatment.   It includes an “in-prison” phase consisting of orientation, treatment, and then re-entry and relapse prevention.  Then there is a 3 month stay at a transitional treatment center, similar to a half-way house, followed by 9 months of outpatient treatment.  The program can last up to 30 months, depending on successful progress towards recovery and sobriety.  SAFP is perhaps the most intense drug treatment program available, but it is also considered one of the most effective.

DWI

1. I was arrested for DWI. What happens next?

Please remember that you have only FIFTEEN DAYS from the date of arrest to request a hearing on the potential suspension of your driver's license. If you do not request a hearing your license will be automatically suspended 40-days from the date of the arrest. In a typical case, the arresting police agency will send your arrest report to the District Attorney’s Office (“DA”). The DA will then file the formal charge against you in one our six County Courts at Law and you will receive a notice to appear. Generally, there is a four to six week time lapse between the time of your arrest and your fist court appearance.  The period between the arrest and the filing may be much longer in blood draw cases where lab results are pending.

2. How long will it take to resolve the charge against me?

The length of time it takes to resolve a DWI charge will vary. Each case is as unique as a snowflake based on the underlying facts as well as your goals and the prosecutor’s stance on your particular case.  Cases can be resolved as quickly as three months or as long as a year.

3. I failed or refused to submit to a breath or blood test. Is my driver's license automatically suspended?

No. If you request hearing through the Administrative License Revocation (ALR) process within fifteen days of your arrest, your license will remain valid until such time as a hearing takes place. We will personally handle all aspects of the ALR process on your behalf.  At the hearing the State must prove certain facts. If they fail to do so, your license will not be suspended.

4. WHY REQUEST AN ALR HEARING?

The ALR hearing will likely be the only opportunity you have to question the police officer that arrested you under oath prior to trial. If a hearing is set our attorneys will compel the State's lawyers to turn over all the evidence they intend to use against you at the hearing. This will include all police reports and frequently breath or blood test results. Also, unless strategy suggests otherwise, our attorneys will require the presence of the arresting officer at your hearing. The ALR hearing is a tremendous opportunity to test the strength of the State's case against you and to look for weaknesses in their case. At the ALR hearing we will be looking for ways to challenge all aspects of the state's case in an effort to maintain your right to drive. By way of example only:
  • Did the police stop your vehicle in violation of the law?
  • Did the police properly perform the HGN test according to their training?
  • Did the police properly administer the other Standardized Field Sobriety Tests in accordance with their training and the standards of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration?
  • Do the recorded police observations concerning alleged intoxication rise to the level of probable cause?
  • Was there a valid refusal of a breath or blood test?
  • Did the police comply with the observation period prior to requesting a breath test?
  • Was discovery provided in a timely manner by the State's lawyers?
  • In blood test cases, is there proof that shows that the blood test was taken in a sanitary place, and by a qualified person?
  • In a Chapter 524 case, is there admissible, sufficient proof of operation?
  • Did the police provide any erroneous or extra statutory advice concerning the consequences of refusing or submitting to a breath test.
If you prevail at the ALR hearing the civil case is dismissed and you WILL RETAIN YOUR RIGHT TO DRIVE.

5. What happens if my license is suspended?

If your license is suspended you will likely be able to petition the court for an Occupational Driver's License (ODL). An ODL is a restricted driver's license that will allow you to drive up to twelve hours a day.

6. Why do I need an attorney who focuses his practice on DWI defense?

Defending DWI cases properly requires intricate knowledge of the applicable law; the science involved in breath, and the procedure used by the police to obtain and evaluate evidence in a DWI case. Most attorneys, even those who practice criminal law, do not focus on DWI defense. An experienced DWI attorney may see defenses that may be overlooked by some other attorney. In selecting a DWI attorney, just a few questions to consider are:
  • Does the attorney have experience and success trying DWI cases?
  • Can the attorney explain in clear terms the basic operation of the breath testing device known as the Intoxilyzer 5000?
  • Does the attorney remain current on DWI focused continuing legal education?
  • What specific strategy does the attorney plan to advance in your ALR hearing?
  • Does the attorney try blood draw cases to a jury?

7. I refused to submit to the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, am I in trouble?

No. You have a lawful right to refuse to submit to any field sobriety test, including the One Leg Stand, the Walk and Turn, the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, and the Preliminary Breath Test. You may also refuse to submit to the Breath Test, however your refusal may trigger certain consequences for your driver's license.

8. I am guilty, do I still need a lawyer?

The short answer is yes. Even a first offense DWI carries a potential punishment range of up to one hundred eighty days in the County Jail and up to a $2,000 fine. Even if you are sure that you are factually "guilty" you should still seriously consider an experienced DWI lawyer who knows the law, the science, and the ins and outs of the court system. First and foremost, we will always force the State's Attorney's to turn over ALL of the evidence to me. The evidence should include, at a minimum, all of the police generated documents, the DVD or video of both the roadside and Intoxilyzer room, and witness statements, the Intoxilyzer breath testing slip, and a lab report in blood test cases. Only when all of the evidence is available can you make intelligent decision about how to proceed. Even if you feel that you were intoxicated, and experienced DWI attorney should be looking at issues such as:
  • How do you look on video?
  • Was the breath or blood evidence obtained lawfully?
  • Was the breath or blood evidence obtained in such a way that its analytical reliability or validity may be compromised?
  • Was the stop of your car by police lawful?
  • Did the police officer administer the Standardized Field Sobriety Tests correctly?
  • Does the police report contain internal contradictions, or is it contradicted by the video?
  • Will the State be able to locate and secure the attendance of the witnesses at trial?
So, even if you think you are guilty, do yourself a favor and hire an experienced DWI attorney who can analyze your case for weaknesses that may benefit you.

9. Am I able to obtain a Deferred Adjudication for a Driving While Intoxicated Charge?

Not under the current state of the law. However legislation was introduced recently introduced which would authorize people charged with a first driving while intoxicated case in Texas to receive deferred adjudication.  The legislation failed, however it may be raised again at a future date in the Legislature. In a deferred adjudication situation, no judicial finding of guilt is made and and the end of the deferral period the case is dismissed.

10. When would I need SR-22 Insurance?

Ordinarily, SR-22 insurance will be required after a DWI conviction or when a person needs an occupational driver's license due to a driver's license suspension. Frequently the suspension is the result of a DWI conviction or an ALR suspension. You may obtain SR-22 insurance by contacting your own insurance company or by contacting another agency. Our office regularly recommends two separate agencies that have provided excellent service to our clients.

Theft Laws

1. I was arrested for Theft, what happens next?

The State typically files a criminal case within 1-2 months. Theft cases can range from a Class C Misdemeanor all the way to a First Degree Felony. The level of offense will depend on the value of what is alleged to have been stolen. Misdemeanor Theft is the most common form of Theft prosecuted in Collin County. Class C Theft (property less than $50), Class B Theft (property $50 - $500); Class A Theft (property $500 - $1,500). Felony Theft involves property valued at $1,500 or more.

2. What are the possible punishments for Misdemeanor Theft?

Potential punishment increases with each degree of theft:
  • Class C: $0 - $500 fine
  • Class B : 0 days  – 180 days in jail and/or $0 - $2,000 fine
  • Class A: 0 days – 1 year in jail and/or $0 - $4,000 fine
The vast majority of Theft cases resolved by a plea or finding of guilt result in some form of probation. Misdemeanor probation can last up to 24 months and can include a wide array of probation terms and conditions, including payment of hefty fines and fees.

3. How will a Theft case affect my record?

Theft is a crime of moral turpitude. If you are convicted of a theft offense, it will remain on your record for life. Unlike some criminal offenses, a Theft conviction will usually raise the concern or disapproval of a current or potential employer.

4. Is there a way to keep a Theft case off my record

There are a few of ways to keep a Theft off your record. The likelihood of doing this will depend upon a variety of factors, including the circumstances of the case and the person who is accused of committing Theft. 

5. What happens at my first court appearance?

The first appearance is more like a work session than anything else. It is an opportunity for your attorney to meet with the prosecutor and discuss the case. Typically, the prosecutor will have a police report, video, and witness statements to share with your attorney along with an initial recommendation for a punishment that the you can receive in exchange for a guilty plea. The first appearance date is usually concluded by selecting another appearance date.

6. What evidence is there that I stole something?

In a shoplifting case, there is usually one or more store employee who claim to have seen something take place inside the store. Frequently, a shoplifting case will involve camera footage shot from one or more angles. Depending upon the circumstances, the police may have conducted further investigation when they arrived, but they don’t always. The State does not need a police officer to testify to prove their case.

7. A store employee was harassing and humiliating to me, did he violate my rights?

Many places of business employ a loss prevention department. These are people who can be dressed up like officers or in plain clothes secretly watching customers. The law allows these people to use limited force to prevent shoplifting. They may grab you, detain you, and question you until the police come. They are not required to play by the same rules that police do because the law considers them to be private, as opposed to government, entities… therefore their thoughtless conduct rarely negates an arrest – but judges and juries have little tolerance for such conduct by store employees and may give them little credibility as witnesses.

8. Why am I in trouble when my friend did it?

The law allows the State to try and put you on the hook for the conduct of another person. Specifically, the law says “A person is criminally responsible for an offense committed by the conduct of another if, acting with the intent to promote or assist the commission of the offense, he solicits, encourages, directs, aids, or attempts to aid the person to commit the offense.” However, mere presence alone will not make someone a party to the offense. In this type of case, the prosecution has the burden to show you did something to affirmatively aid the person committing the theft.  Mere presence alone is not enough.

9. How did they come up with a dollar amount greater than what was on the sticker?

The law also allows the State to try and prove a dollar amount that varies from the sticker price. Specifically, the law says that “the value of the property taken is the fair market value of that property at the time and place of the offense,” and “fair market value is . . . the amount the property would sell for in cash, giving a reasonable time for selling it.”  Merchants are aware of the statutory amounts, and it’s not uncommon for them to attempt to find creative ways to ‘pile-on’ the price.  This is a specific area a trained attorney knows to attack.

10. Is there a link between shoplifting and depression?

Studies have shown that there is a link between shoplifting and depression especially for middle-aged women. While this may not be a circumstance which leads to a jury finding someone not guilty, it is something to consider when talking about punishment.

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