What Qualifies As Domestic Violence?

police officer arrests man for domestic violence

Being charged with Domestic Violence is serious and ramifications can affect your family, job, social life and career. If you are wrongly charged with domestic violence always remember that you have rights. In many cases, your arrest can be weaponized and used against you in a pending divorce civil case to gain leverage in a child custody battle. It’s important to mount an aggressive defense to protect both you and your children.

The Texas Family Code defines domestic violence as:

An act by a family or household member against another that results in physical harm, assault, sexual assault, bodily injury, or a reasonable threat that places fear of physical harm, assault, or sexual assault, but doesn’t include defensive measures to protect oneself.

A violent act constitutes domestic violence if it’s committed against a household member, a family member, an individual the alleged offender is currently dating or once dated in the past. It can also be:

  1. A foster child of the alleged offender
  2. A current or former spouse
  3. An individual the alleged offender lives with
  4. A family member by blood, marriage, or adoption

This list is not exhaustive.

Texas recognizes three types of domestic violence:

  1. Domestic assault
  2. Aggravated domestic assault
  3. Continuous violence against family

In this post, we’ll explain each type and the associated penalties. It’s important that you understand these laws by reaching out to an experienced and skilled domestic violence defense attorney.

Domestic Assault

Domestic assault is an act or threat of violence against a person with whom the alleged offender has an intimate relationship.

This is an act of knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly causing bodily injury to an individual.

It also involves knowingly threatening someone of imminent bodily injury or involving physical contact which can be reasonably considered as offensive by the victim.

A first-time domestic assault conviction is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000.

In case of prior convictions, the punishment will be escalated to a third-degree felony—with a fine up to $10,000 and 2 to 10 years in prison.

Aggravated Domestic Assault

Aggravated domestic assault applies for acts of intentionally causing serious bodily injury to a family member, romantic partner, or spouse as listed above.

Serious bodily injuries include broken bones, loss of a limb, disfigurement, or an injury that requires hospitalization.

An Aggravated Domestic Assault crime that is committed using a deadly weapon, causing serious bodily injury to the victim, is classified as a first-degree felony which is punishable with 5 to 99 years in prison along with a fine up to $10,000.

Other aggravated domestic assault convictions will result in a second-degree felony charge punishable with a fine of up to $10,000 and 2 to 20 years in prison.

Closeup view of a man arrested and wearing handcuffs behind his back

Continuous Violence Against Family

A charge of continuous violence against family is applicable if the defendant commits two or more domestic assaults within a 12-month span.

This charge can apply even if one of the two assaults never resulted in an arrest or conviction. A conviction of continuous violence against family is a third-degree felony.

The state of Texas doesn’t tolerate domestic violence crimes. The arresting police may arrest the defendant on the spot when their domestic partner accuses them of domestic violence. That’s why if you are wrongly accused and arrested of domestic violence, it’s important to hire an experienced attorney quickly.

Attorney J.L. Carpenter, a DWI/DUI lawyer serving Clear Lake and Friendswood, Texas. She will work hard and exhaust every avenue with the goal of getting your case dismissed. If you’ve been arrested, call now and start protecting your rights and your family.

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