AUSTIN (KXAN) — Last week, the University of Texas men’s basketball coach Chris Beard was arrested on family assault charges, including allegations that he choked his fiancée. The specific charge he faces is assault by strangulation or suffocation, a family violence charge listed as a third degree felony.

The state of Texas recognizes four types of domestic violence charges, according to Fort Worth-based Fulgham Law Firm: domestic violence assault, aggravated domestic assault, domestic assault impeding breath and continuous violence.

Of those four crimes, only domestic violence assault is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, but only if the person charged with the crime is a first-time offender. The rest are classified as felonies.

However, domestic assault impeding breath wasn’t always considered a felony-level offense.

Back in 2009, the Texas Legislature passed a new law that made a family violence strangulation or suffocation a third degree felony, according to San Antonio-based Goldstein & Orr. In Goldstein & Orr’s analysis, the firm writes family violence assault crimes involving strangulation are treated more seriously because studies have shown domestic violence strangulation victims are at a higher risk of being killed by that partner.

Prior to 2009, this type of crime was classified as a misdemeanor. Not long after the state law took effect, the Austin Police Department began using a specific form when interviewing victims of intentional choking or obstruction of airways.

The “National Domestic Violence Hotline,” which is based in the Austin area, says one in four women and one in seven men in America have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

Experts add intimate partner violence by itself impacts more than 12-million people every year.

And the impacts are long-lasting — with survivors more likely to meet the criteria for post-traumatic stress, depressive disorders, developing substance abuse, self-harm episodes or even attempting suicide.

If you or someone you know may need help, please reach out. Call the Hotline 24-7 at 1-800-799- SAFE (7233). You can also reach out online to TheHotline.org where counselors are standing by to chat, or text “START” to 88788. You can be anonymous.