Texas takes any violent assault case seriously. If you were recently accused of domestic or family violence, you could be facing heavy penalties and the loss of certain rights.
Understanding Family Violence in Texas
The Texas Family Code defines family violence as any of the below:
- An act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself.
- Abuse…by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household.
- Dating violence… which is an act by an individual against another individual with whom that person has or has had a dating relationship and is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself.
Many relationships (even those that are not blood or legally recognized) fall under the umbrella of family and household members:
- Current or former spouses;
- Parents of the same child;
- Foster child and parent;
- Relatives by blood, marriage, or adoption;
- Current or former co-residents;
- Current or former dating or romantic partners.
If a person commits any of the below acts, they could be found guilty of assault:
- Purposely or carelessly causing bodily injury to another;
- Intentionally threatening another with imminent bodily injury;
- Intentionally engaging in provocative or offensive contact.
An assault charge could be elevated to domestic assault if any of these actions are committed by family and household members. Domestic assault charges can be either misdemeanors or felonies.
Aggravated Domestic Assault
For a crime to be considered aggravated domestic assault, it must cause serious bodily injury to another and/or involve the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon (ie. firearm, baseball bat, rope, certain large knives). Typically, “serious bodily injury” includes broken bones, the loss of a limb, or any injury that requires hospitalization.
Aggravated domestic assault charges range from second-degree felony to first-degree felony.
Continuous Violence Against the Family
Continuous violence against the family is defined as committing two or more domestic assaults in a twelve-month period.
It’s important to know that the previous domestic assaults do not have to result in an arrest or guilty verdict in order to be convicted of continued violence against the family. Both offenses alsodo not have to be against the same person.
Continuous violence against the family is a third-degree felony in Texas.
What if I Was Wrongly Accused of Family Violence?
A family violence conviction carries heavy penalties, including an arrest record, prison sentence, no contact order, and the loss of certain firearm rights. If you believe you were wrongly accused of assault or family violence, our team will work tirelessly to find the truth and clear your name.
As a former federal prosecutor, criminal court judge, and U.S. Marine Corps officer, Patrick McLainknows what you are up against and what it takes to win a fight. If you’re being accused of family violence, contact us online or at (214) 238-9392 to schedule a consultation with our accomplished Dallas federal criminal defense lawyers.