Domestic Violence in TX: What You Need to Know
Stress, financial issues, and the overall pressures of daily life can lead to various issues. One issue for many couples and families across Texas is domestic violence.
However, domestic violence isn’t simply brushed under the rug and treated as an argument between people who live together. In Texas, it can be a crime that can lead to harsh penalties that can dramatically impact your life.
What does the state of Texas consider domestic violence, and what consequences are faced by those convicted of this crime? Read on to find out all you need to know.
Domestic Violence in Texas: What Is It?
Under Texas law, domestic violence falls under the state’s assault statutes. The penalties for assault against a person in your household, a family member, or someone you are dating can be subject to additional consequences in cases where there were prior assaults. The state of Texas does recognize violence between family and household members even under these assault statutes and outlines what acts committed constitute family violence.
Family violence occurs in Texas in situations where any of the following apply:
- An act is committed by one member of the household or family against another, and that act results in injury, harm, sexual assault, or assault
- Family or household members that commit abuse against a child
- Dating violence
The state considers household and family members to be people who share any of these relationships:
- Anyone who is married or has been married
- Anyone who shares a child
- Foster children and their parents
- Those related by adoption, blood, or marriage
- Those who have previously shared a home or currently do
- Those who have dated or are currently dating
When crimes happen between those with these relationships, it can be considered family violence. Any crime can be considered family violence, though the most common are assault and aggravated assault. Kidnapping, unlawful restraint, stalking, and homicide are also often charged in connection with family violence.
Family Assault in Texas
Assault is a very specific crime under Texas law. It is committed when someone carelessly or purposefully causes bodily injury to another person or threatens them intentionally with impending bodily injury. It is also perpetrated when someone engages in offensive or provocative contact intentionally. And when any of these actions are taken against someone in your household or family, it is considered domestic assault.
Aggravated assault is perpetrated when the assault causes bodily injury to someone else or the use of a deadly weapon in the commission of the crime. Deadly weapons are considered items such as knives, ropes, firearms, and even baseball bats.
The Penalties for Domestic Violence in Texas
The penalties for domestic violence in the state cover a wide range. They can be a Class C misdemeanor or a first-degree felony. What you are charged with depends on a few different factors, including:
- The relationship between you and the victim
- Your criminal history
- The type of abuse involved
When the court looks at your criminal history, your record does not need to reflect convictions for previous domestic violence crimes. An arrest for domestic assault or other domestic violence crime is enough – and the victim does not even need to be the same person.
The penalties you face depend on the crime you have committed. In general, Texas provides the following penalties for these charges:
Class A Misdemeanor
A Class A misdemeanor in Texas is punishable by up to 12 months behind bars and fines of as much as $4,000.
Felony in the Third Degree
A third-degree felony can put a person in prison for up to 10 years and make them responsible for fines of as much as $10,000.
Felony in the Second Degree
A second-degree felony in Texas can send a person to prison for up to 20 years and result in fines of as much as $10,000.
Felony in the First Degree
A felony at this level can lead to a prison sentence of up to 99 years and can include the order to pay fines of as much as $10,000.
Domestic assault, for example, can be charged as either a Class A misdemeanor or a third-degree felony. Aggravated domestic assault can result in a first or second-degree felony charge, depending on the circumstances involved in the crime.
If you are facing charges involving family violence in Texas, then you need an experienced attorney on your side. They can help guide you through the court process, making sure you understand each step and that your rights are defended.