top of page
South Texas Defense Attorney




Proudly Serving All of Texas

Criminal Defense Blog


Criminal Jury Selection
Bexar County Criminal Defense Attorney Brad Thornton


  1. Board Certified

  2. Former Prosecutor

  3. 100+ Courtroom Victories


Prison Cell


Family Violence
Drug Crimes
Murder & Manslaughter


Hamburger Menu
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

© 2023 by Thornton Criminal Defense, PLLC. 

Atascosa County Criminal Defense Attorney

San Antonio Office:

111 Soledad, Suite 401

San Antonio, Texas 78205

Tel: 210-439-5627

Atascosa Office:

216 N Bryant St

Pleasanton, Texas 78064








Attorney Brad Thornton is a highly experienced and Board-Certified criminal defense lawyer. With his background as a former Chief Prosecutor, he has a unique understanding of the criminal justice system and is able to provide comprehensive and effective representation to his clients. He is also deeply committed to ensuring that all individuals receive fair treatment in court, regardless of their background or circumstances.

Brad Thornton is dedicated to helping his clients achieve the best possible outcome for their case, whether it is in San Antonio or elsewhere in South Texas. He recognizes the stress and anxiety that can come with being accused of a crime, and approaches his clients with compassion while keeping them informed at every step of the process. His knowledge and experience make him a strong advocate for his clients.

San Antonio Family Violence Attorney

Assault Family Violence

Texas Penal Code § - 22.01(a)(1) ASSAULT BODILY INJURY- FAM/HOU

Less than .008% of lawyers are Board Certified in Criminal Law. Click below to find out what that means and why hiring a Board Certified attorney is the only was to make sure you are getting a lawyer with the experience to handle your case.

Assault Family Violence Defense Attorney in San Antonio, Texas

Assault Family Violence (AFV) is a serious crime in Texas and carries a wide range of possible punishments, depending on the severity of the offense. AFV includes physical violence or threats of physical violence against a family member by another family member, including spouses and other relatives.  

Under Texas law, AFV is defined as “an act by one family or household member against another that is intended to cause bodily injury or offensive physical contact”. It also includes the threat of such an act, as well as any physical contact that is intended to cause harm or insult.  

The consequences of AFV in Texas may be serious and far-reaching. Depending on the severity of the offense, a person convicted of AFV may face jail time, fines, community service, probation, court-mandated counseling or treatment programs, loss of parental rights and privileges (such as gun ownership), and a permanent mark on their criminal record.

Protective Orders and Bond Conditions

In order to protect victims and families from abuse, Texas has implemented laws allowing for protective orders and other remedies against perpetrators of AFV. Protective orders are issued by courts upon request by someone alleging they have been subjected to domestic violence or threatened with it. The Court can also make staying away from your family a condition of any bail that they set which would allow you to get out of jail. A violation of a protective order or bond condition is considered a criminal offense and may result in jail time or other punishments.

Evidence in Family Violence Cases


The hearsay rule is a rule of evidence that prohibits the introduction of statements made by a person who is not present in court as evidence in a criminal or civil trial. The purpose of the hearsay rule is to ensure the reliability and trustworthiness of the evidence presented in court.

In a criminal trial, the prosecution may attempt to introduce the statements of a victim as evidence through one of the recognized exceptions to the hearsay rule. The specific exception that may be used will depend on the nature of the statement and the circumstances under which it was made.

One exception that may be used to introduce the statements of a victim is the excited utterance exception. This exception allows the introduction of a statement made while the declarant was under the stress of excitement caused by the event or condition being described. In order for this exception to apply, the statement must be made shortly after the event or condition occurred, before the declarant has had a chance to reflect on the event or fabricate a story.

Another exception that may be used to introduce the statements of a victim is the present sense impression exception. This exception allows the introduction of a statement that describes or explains an event or condition made while the declarant was perceiving the event or condition, or immediately thereafter. This exception is typically used to introduce statements that are made spontaneously, in the moment, and that accurately reflect the declarant's perception of the event or condition.

It is important to note that these are just a few examples of the exceptions to the hearsay rule that may be used to introduce the statements of a victim in a criminal trial, and the specific exception that may be used will depend on the unique circumstances of the case.

Forfeiture by Wrongdoing

In Texas, the doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing allows a party to a criminal or civil trial to present evidence of a witness's out-of-court statements despite the witness's unavailability to testify, if the party can show that the witness's unavailability was caused by the wrongdoing of the party against whom the statements are being offered. This doctrine is based on the principle that a party should not be able to benefit from their own wrongdoing by preventing a witness from testifying against them.

In a family violence trial in Texas, the doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing may be used to introduce the statements of a victim as evidence, even if the victim is unavailable to testify due to the defendant's actions. For example, if the defendant has intimidated or threatened the victim in an attempt to prevent them from testifying, the prosecution may be able to use the victim's prior statements as evidence under the doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing.

For the doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing to apply in a family violence trial in Texas, the prosecution must show that:

1. The witness is unavailable to testify.

2. The defendant engaged in wrongdoing that caused the witness's unavailability.

3. The defendant had the intent to make the witness unavailable.

If the prosecution can satisfy these requirements, they may be able to introduce the victim's out-of-court statements as evidence, despite the victim's unavailability to testify.

Punishment Ranges

Level of Offense

Potential Incarceration

Potential Fine

First-degree Felony

Second-degree Felony

Third-degree Felony

State Jail Felony

Class A Misdemeanor

Class B Misdemeanor

2 - 10 years in prison

180 days - 2 years in jail

Up to 1 year in jail

Up to 180 days in jail

2 - 20 years in prison

5 - 99 years in prison

Up to $10,000

Up to $10,000

Up to $10,000

Up to $10,000

Up to $4,000

Up to $2,000

Defense Strategies for Assault Family Violence in Texas

It is important for defendants charged with Assault Family Violence (AFV) to understand the criminal process, the potential consequences of a conviction and the options available for building an effective defense. A strong defense strategy can make all the difference between a successful outcome and a conviction that carries serious repercussions.  

The first step in developing any defense strategy is understanding the charge or charges against you. Attorney Brad Thornton will review your case thoroughly to identify any legal defenses or mitigating factors that may be used to reduce or eliminate some or all of these punishments.  

Common defense strategies include arguing self-defense, challenging the credibility of witnesses, and attacking evidence that has been obtained illegally or improperly. For example, if a defendant can demonstrate that he/she was acting in self-defense because he/she reasonably believed their life was in danger, this may be used to reduce the charges or secure an acquittal. Similarly, if witnesses are deemed unreliable by the court due to lack of consistency or evidence of bias against the accused, this may help weaken the prosecution’s case.  

Collateral Consequences

In addition to the criminal punishments that may result from a conviction of AFV, there are other serious collateral consequences. These can include loss of employment, restricted access to public housing or federally-funded benefits, ineligibility for certain professional licenses, and loss of military privileges or security clearance. In cases involving children or minors, parents may be stripped of custody rights or face restrictions on visitation.  

People convicted of certain domestic violence misdemeanors in Texas are prohibited from possessing firearms for a period of five years after the completion of confinement or supervision. This restriction applies to persons found convicted or placed on deferred adjudication for Class A Family Violence in Texas.  

Texas has some limitations when it comes to firearms prohibition - those convicted of assaults against a current or former dating partner are not subject to any such regulation, unless they were married or have lived with the victim in question. Furthermore, individuals found guilty or placed on deferred adjudication only face five years away from guns after their sentence is completed.

In contrast, federal law provides for an entirely different set of restrictions that ban people who committed domestic violence misdemeanors from firearm access forever.

Attorney Brad Thornton

If you have been charged with assault family violence in San Antonio, Texas, it is important to take the charges seriously and seek the advice of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Board-certified criminal defense attorney Brad Thornton is an excellent choice for anyone facing charges of assault family violence in San Antonio.

As a former chief prosecutor, Mr. Thornton has a unique understanding of the criminal justice system and how the prosecution will approach your case. He will use this knowledge to develop a strong defense strategy on your behalf, with the goal of obtaining the best possible outcome in your case.

Mr. Thornton is a highly skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney who has the knowledge, resources, and determination to fight for your rights and protect your interests.

In addition, Mr. Thornton is dedicated to providing personalized, compassionate representation to his clients. He understands that being charged with assault family violence can be a stressful and overwhelming experience, and he will do everything in his power to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible.

If you have been charged with assault family violence in San Antonio, Texas, we highly recommend that you contact Brad Thornton for a free consultation. He will be happy to discuss your case with you and provide you with the guidance and support you need to navigate the criminal justice system.

Call Attorney Brad Thornton today for a free consultation.


San Antonio Criminal Defense Attorney Brad Thornton has spent years in court rooms fighting for justice. As a prosecutor, Brad was a leader on cases ranging from marijuana to murder from arrest to appeal. Who better to fight for your rights than someone who knows the "other side" and has tried the toughest of cases out there. Put his experience and knowledge to work for you.  

Family Violence Crimes
Drug Crimes
Violent Crimes
Property Crimes
Homicide Crimes
Theft Crimes
Weapons Crimes
Fraud and  White Collar Crimes
Internet and Electronic Crimes
Obstruction of Justice Crimes

Crimes & Criminal Matters


Daryl M.

Elmendorf, Texas

If you need a criminal lawyer, Brad Thornton is an excellent choice. He is intelligent, trustworthy, and highly professional, with an amazing understanding of the law.


Choosing the right lawyer can shape the rest of your life, so make sure to make the right decision and choose Brad Thornton.

Brian F. 

San Antonio, Texas

I have had the opportunity to know Brad both personally and professionally for a while now. As a fellow attorney, I am consistently impressed by his passion and innovative approach to legal issues. He is exceptionally intelligent and is always willing to go above and beyond for his clients. When I refer clients to Brad, I have full confidence that they will receive top-quality representation.

Stephanie S.

San Antonio, Texas

We recently faced a stressful family matter and turned to Brad for legal guidance. He was extremely compassionate and helped us understand our options and the legal process in an easy-to-follow way. We are thrilled with the outcome of our case and are grateful to Brad for his help. Thank you!

Garry T.

San Antonio, Texas

I cannot emphasize enough how understanding and compassionate Brad Thornton was during a difficult situation. He helped us navigate the legal aspects of our case and provided us with a clear understanding of our options. I highly recommend Brad Thornton for anyone in need of legal representation.