Criminal Defense Against Domestic Violence Charges In Texas

According to state law, domestic abuse can be a felony. Therefore, if the court finds you guilty of a domestic violence charge, you may suffer reputational damage and harsh penalties like hefty fines and prison time. In addition, domestic abuse charges carry a lot of stigmas, and regardless of the circumstances, many people automatically think harshly of the accused individual.

It would be wise to seek legal representation if you face a family violence offense to defend yourself in court, maintain your legal rights, and avoid damaging your reputation.

Seek Legal Defense Against Domestic Violence Charges In Texas

Domestic Violence Vs. Assault

When someone purposefully hurts another person or makes them worry for their safety, it is considered an assault, a severe crime in Texas. In Fort Worth, even attempting to injure someone or threatening to do so is an assault. Contacting a domestic violence attorney as soon as possible is crucial because it is a severe offense under state law and can result in harsh punishments following a conviction.

Instead of an assault charge, someone accused of committing violence toward a family member or romantic partner may face domestic violence charges. The alleged victim’s identity is the primary distinction between a domestic violence allegation and an assault charge.

Domestic violence occurs when someone purposefully, knowingly, or recklessly causes injury or attempts to cause harm to the following:

  • Blood or married relatives.
  • A romantic interest or partner.
  • Biological or adopted child.
  • An acting parent of a biological child.
  • Household members, including roommates.

Examples Of Conduct Constituting Domestic Assault

Domestic assault includes hitting, kicking, slapping, choking, or threatening to do anything that will cause harm. In Texas, it also covers recklessness and disrespectful or provocative behavior.

For instance, shoving someone out of the way in a crowd without intending to hurt them can constitute assault if it hurts the victim after falling. Other examples include poking someone in the chest during a disagreement, invading someone’s personal space, or touching someone inappropriately.

Domestic Violence Charges In Texas

Various offenses concerning domestic violence bring forth a few potential charges. Depending on the circumstances, their severity can range from a Class C misdemeanor to a first-degree felony. The possible punishments upon conviction can be as mild as a fine or as severe as life in prison. 

Some of these offenses, like domestic assault, are typically misdemeanors, while law enforcement frequently considers others as felonies. The specifics of each case will determine whether the charge is a felony or a misdemeanor.

Assault With Injury Family Violence

Assault refers to when someone injures another person physically, causing them pain. Less severe offenses fall under the classification of a Class C misdemeanor. However, law enforcement will enhance the charge to a Class A misdemeanor if the victim sustains physical harm.

Authorities will further enhance the charge to a third-degree felony if there is a history of domestic violence convictions or if strangulation or suffocation occurred during the offense.

Aggravated Domestic Assault

Although aggravated domestic violence is not a separate offense, it is a subset of the aggravated assault statute. When committed against a family member, law enforcement treats aggravated assault with a deadly weapon as a more severe offense.

In Texas, strangling in connection with domestic abuse is a criminal offense. The accusation elevates to a third-degree felony if there are indicators of strangling or breathing obstruction. In addition, authorities consider severe bodily harm with a deadly weapon a first-degree crime, punishable by up to 99 years in prison or a life sentence and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Continuous Family Violence

A person can face a continuous family violence charge if they assault another person in the home twice or more within twelve months. Either of those assaults doesn’t need to have involved the same victim or have a criminal history.

For instance, they will face a charge of continuous family violence if they assault their spouse and child within twelve months. The maximum sentence for this third-degree felony is ten years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

When two or more domestic attacks occur in twelve months, a Texas court can find the accused guilty of a felony for perpetrating continuous violence against the family. There is no necessity that the prior domestic attacks were against the same victim, resulting in arrests, convictions, or both. Constant domestic violence is a third-degree felony with a $10,000 fine and two to ten years in prison.

How Does Domestic Violence Affect You?

Physical assault and trapping someone in a bedroom with threats of actual harm if they try to exit are examples of domestic violence. It can come from various sources, such as persistent denigration, social exclusion, emotional abuse, or financial reliance. But do you know how it can impact your life? Here’s how accusations of domestic abuse affect the victim and the accused.

The Accuser

A person who declares themselves a victim of domestic violence can get priority admission to several social services and additional legal protections. Unfortunately, there may be people who make fraudulent domestic violence claims.

Some may embellish events or make victim claims for mistakes that were also their fault. What advantages do they enjoy? Among these are eviction protection, preferential access to public housing if they reside in a homeless shelter, and legal assistance.

It is why some divorce lawyers advise clients to make a domestic abuse claim. After all, it may lead to a restraining order that forbids the other party from visiting the house and contacting the kids.

In Texas, the person found guilty of domestic abuse must make restitution, covering the price of any medical expenses, lost revenue, and counseling.

The Accused

An allegation of domestic abuse or violence can completely upend your life. However, your reputation isn’t the only thing that could face harsh consequences.

For instance, if you work in the caregiving industry, the accusation may result in a suspension of your employment. If the court finds you guilty of domestic violence, you cannot work as a medical professional, teacher, or childcare provider. A unique feature of Texas licensing legislation is the requirement for outstanding moral character to hold numerous professional licenses.

Facing Accusations Of Family Violence

If you face domestic violence accusations, you need the assistance of a family violence attorney. A domestic violence conviction carries severe repercussions.

A misdemeanor conviction for family violence carries a maximum sentence of $4,000 and a year in jail. Meanwhile, a third-degree felony charge carries a maximum penalty of $10,000 and 20 years in prison.

A domestic abuse charge might significantly impact your life, in addition to the potential for jail time and a fine. In addition, you will always face limitations in employment, accommodation, and possession of firearms.

Receive Experienced Legal Representation For Domestic Violence Charges In Texas

Defense Against Domestic Violence Charges

An accusation of domestic abuse could be the worst feeling in the world, especially if the allegations are false. It is why you need a defense attorney that can help you build strategies to fight for your rights in the courtroom. 

You Unintentionally Or Unknowingly Did The Act

The prosecution must demonstrate that the act was purposeful, careless, or perpetrated knowingly against the claimed victim for it to qualify as domestic violence under Texas state law. Therefore, the incident would not qualify as domestic violence if an accident caused the alleged victim’s injuries rather than a deliberate act.

It Was An Act Of Self-Defense

In some instances of domestic violence, the accused acted in self-defense. For example, suppose a wife was provoking her husband physically. When the husband reaches his breaking point, he decides to push the wife away from him with force.

If the wife is pushed and hurts herself due to this incident, she can try to accuse her husband of abuse. Law enforcement may detain the husband and charge him with domestic violence even if he honestly says he acted in self-defense.

In situations like this, a competent criminal defense attorney will contend that the claimed violence was merely an act of self-defense to defend yourself from physical harm.

Keeping a record of a partner’s threats of using violence in writing, whether through text messages or social media posts, is crucial. Your defense attorney could likely use these to support your claim of self-defense.

Police Misconduct

In some cases, police personnel may allow personal biases to interfere with their duties. For example, when responding to a domestic violence report, an officer could arbitrarily choose a side and make an illegal arrest.

Obtaining all pertinent police records relating to your arrest is crucial. You and your attorney will examine these records for rights violations or contradictions.

Moreover, suppose you informed the responding authorities that a family member assaulted you, but they decided not to place your partner under arrest. In this case, this vital information could support your claim that officials treated you unfairly and improperly.

Contact A Defense Attorney

Contact a local Criminal Defense Lawyer immediately if you face charges linked to family violence or a similar offense. A conviction for domestic violence may have long-term repercussions, and a good defense may just be your saving grace.

Read Also: How Can Domestic Violence Conviction Affect Me
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