- Texas Domestic Violence
- Texas Domestic Violence Laws
- Consequences of Family or Dating Violence Charges in Texas
- Domestic Assault – Tex. Penal Code § 22.01
- Aggravated Domestic Assault – Tex. Penal Code § 22.02
- Stalking – Tex. Penal Code § 42.072
- Violation of a Protective Order – Tex. Penal Code § 25.07(g)
- Domestic Violence Protective Orders
- Texas Domestic Violence Defense
- Consult a Skilled Family Violence Defense Attorney
Texas Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is a serious matter in Texas and the state’s penal code strongly condemns any behavior that constitutes family violence or dating violence. This includes acts of actual physical violence, threats of bodily harm or forced sexual contact perpetrated by one family member, household member or dating partner against another. It is also a criminal offense in Texas to violate a domestic violence protective order. If you have been arrested or accused of any crime related to domestic violence in Texas, you need the assistance of a capable defense attorney who has extensive experience handling cases like yours. Domestic violence crimes carry severe criminal penalties and other consequences upon conviction and you don’t want to leave the outcome if your case in the hands of an untested attorney.
Texas Domestic Violence Laws
Tex. Fam. Code §§ 71.0021 through 71.006 contain the definitions of domestic violence, also known as family violence, domestic abuse or dating violence. Under Texas law, domestic violence is defined as an intentional act by one family or household member or dating partner against another that is intended to cause bodily injury, physical harm, sexual assault or assault, or a threat that reasonably places that person in fear of imminent bodily injury, physical harm, sexual assault or assault. Dating partners and family or household members in Texas include the following individuals:
- Persons who have or have had a continuing intimate or romantic relationship,
- Persons who are current or former spouses of each other,
- Persons related by blood or marriage,
- Persons who have a child in common, without regard to marriage,
- A foster child and foster parent, regardless of whether or not those individuals reside together, and
- Persons living together in the same residence, without regard to whether they are related to each other.
Consequences of Family or Dating Violence Charges in Texas
Texas domestic violence charges carry a wide range of penalties depending on the nature and severity of the offense, and there are certain factors, like the alleged victim’s age, the defendant’s criminal history and whether a weapon was used in the commission of the alleged crime, that can play a role in determining the severity of the sentence imposed by the court. The following are some examples of family violence-related crimes in Texas and their associated penalties:
Domestic Assault – Tex. Penal Code § 22.01
Domestic assault is one of the most common domestic violence crimes in Texas. A first offense domestic assault in Texas is punishable as Class A misdemeanor, carrying a penalty of no more than one year in jail, a fine not exceeding $4,000, or both. However, if the defendant has prior convictions, the offense is categorized as a third-degree felony under Texas law.
Aggravated Domestic Assault – Tex. Penal Code § 22.02
Aggravated assault is among the most severe family or dating violence crimes in Texas. It involves causing severe bodily injury or committing assault while threatening to use a lethal weapon, like a firearm. Pursuant to Tex. Penal Code § 22.02(b), a conviction for aggravated assault is punishable as a second-degree felony, which can lead to imprisonment for two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Stalking – Tex. Penal Code § 42.072
If you are facing criminal charges for stalking a family or household member or dating partner in Texas, you could be found guilty of a third-degree felony. This crime carries a prison sentence ranging from two to 10 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000 upon conviction.
Violation of a Protective Order – Tex. Penal Code § 25.07(g)
Violating one or more of the provisions of a domestic violence protective order in Texas constitutes a separate criminal offense that carries its own penalties. If you are found guilty of knowingly or intentionally violating the condition(s) set forth in a domestic violence protective order, you could be found guilty of a class A misdemeanor.
Domestic Violence Protective Orders
If an alleged victim of domestic violence in Texas petitions the court for a protective order and the judge has reason to believe that family violence has occurred or is likely to occur in the future, a protective order may be issued against you. In this type of order, the court may require you to:
- Refrain from committing any acts of family or dating violence against the protected individual (the petitioner),
- Avoid any form of communication with the petitioner,
- Leave your home, if you live with the petitioner,
- Refrain from transferring or otherwise disposing of property that you own or lease with the petitioner,
- Comply with any custody and/or visitation terms included in the order,
- Attend counseling that addresses family and dating violence, and/or
- Complete a batterer’s intervention program.
Texas Domestic Violence Defense
The repercussions of a domestic violence charge in Texas can be very serious, even if the allegations at the center of the charges are false. The unfortunate truth is that false or exaggerated claims of family or dating violence are sometimes used to get revenge or gain the upper hand in divorce or child custody proceedings. And because the law leans strongly in favor of domestic violence victims, successfully defending yourself against these charges can feel like a hopeless cause. That is why you need a skilled criminal defense lawyer who understands the intricacies of Texas domestic violence law and can aggressively defend you against the criminal charges. An experienced domestic violence defense attorney can review your case and determine what type of defense strategy offers you the best chance of success, while also protecting your legal rights.
Consult a Skilled Family Violence Defense Attorney
Facing criminal charges for domestic violence in Texas can have a significant impact on your life. In addition to the prospect of serving time in jail or prison, a misdemeanor or felony conviction for domestic violence can also adversely affect your personal relationships, your career and nearly every other aspect of your life. But just because you have been arrested or charged with family or dating violence does not mean you will be found guilty and sent to jail. As a criminal defendant, you have important rights, including the right to legal counsel. By contacting a knowledgeable Texas criminal defense attorney as soon as you are arrested or charges are filed against you, you can maximize your chances of securing a favorable outcome in your case.