Under Texas law, domestic violence can be charged as three different types of crimes depending on the circumstances of the case. These three types include assault, aggravated assault, and continuous violence against the family and they are described in more detail below. Domestic violence charges are taken very seriously in Texas and the consequences that come with convictions can be severe and life-changing.
Our domestic violence attorneys understand the severity of domestic violence convictions and if you have been accused of domestic violence, they recommend calling an experienced attorney as soon as possible. The consequences that are meant to punish offenders and deter this type of conduct in Texas are too serious to leave to chance, especially when the allegations are exaggerated or false. Consequences can affect your freedom, your livelihood, your rights, and your finances, which is why you need aggressive representation to protect your future.
When Violence Is Considered ‘Domestic’
Violence is considered domestic when it involves people that are in a current relationship or have had a prior relationship with each other. These relationships may include people living in the same house, spouses, ex-spouses, parents of the same child or children, family members, foster parents and foster children, current significant others, and former significant others.
Three Domestic Violence Crimes
Assault – In general, a domestic assault occurs when an offender intentionally or recklessly causes or threatens physical harm, or when an offender touches a victim in an offensive or provocative manner.
Aggravated assault – When serious bodily injuries are caused by domestic violence or when a weapon is used during an assault, the violence classification is upgraded from a simple assault to the more serious charge of aggravated assault. Serious bodily injuries include injuries that create a substantial risk of death or those that result in the victim’s disfigurement or impairment.
Continuous violence against the family – When two or more assaults against family members take place within twelve months of each other, the assaults can be charged as Continuous violence against the family. It is important to note that the assaults do not have to involve the same family member victims for this type of charge.
Domestic Violence Felonies
A first-time simple domestic violence charge is a misdemeanor, but when certain aggravating circumstances are present, domestic violence will be charged as a felony. See below for examples of circumstances that lead to felony charges.
- If the defendant has a prior history of domestic assault, subsequent domestic assaults will be charged as a felony. This is true even if an offender previously avoided a criminal record by pleading guilty or nolo contendere in exchange for a deferred adjudication.
- The offender impedes the victim’s normal breathing or circulation of the blood by applying pressure to the victim’s throat or neck or by blocking the victim’s airways.
- A domestic assault committed with a weapon.
- A domestic assault in which the victim sustains serious bodily injuries.
- Continuous violence against the family is also a felony.
Consequences Of Domestic Violence Convictions
As mentioned above, a first-time simple domestic violence is a misdemeanor and the punishment is up to 12 months in prison and a fine of up to $4,000. Consequences become more severe for felony domestic assault and can result in up to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for the most serious cases involving a weapon and serious injuries.
Additional consequences may include loss of the right to possess a firearm, protective orders such as those that limit proximity and prohibit contact with the victim, probation, and fines and fees. Defendants may also be ordered to pay for the victims’ counseling, attorney fees, and other restitution.
Protective Order Violations
There are many different protective orders, including those mentioned above, that can be put in place before a defendant sees his or her day in court. These orders may seem unfair to innocent defendants, but violating those orders may result in steep consequences such as prison time and fines.
Contact A Domestic Violence Attorney
If you have been accused of domestic violence, contact an attorney at Vinas & Graham, PLLC to discuss your case and available defenses. As previously mentioned, these accusations are too serious to be taken lightly and only an experienced attorney should handle these matters.
You can follow us on our Facebook page and contact us to schedule a consultation at 713-229-9992 or submit an online form and we will contact you. We understand the stress and anxiety that comes along with domestic violence accusations and we will fight for the best possible outcome on your behalf.