There’s a culture of domestic violence. Law enforcement and the courts have been trying to change it. You don’t have to hurt somebody to be charged with domestic violence. A single threat of offensive or provocative touching is enough.
The elements of a domestic violence case
Unlike most states, Texas doesn’t have a specific domestic violence statute, but the elements of proof in a domestic violence case are the same as in a simple assault. The prosecution must show that the accused:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly caused bodily harm to somebody
- Intentionally or knowingly threatened somebody with imminent bodily harm
- Intentionally or knowingly made physical contact with somebody when they knew or reasonably should have known that the victim would believe that the physical contact was offensive or provocative
Who can be a victim?
There’s no actual domestic violence statute in Texas, but a domestic violence charge might result if the victim was a:
- Family member
- Former spouse
- The parent of your child
- Person with whom the accused had a romantic relationship
- Foster parent and child
- Party to a dating relationship
Should a judge see the elements of domestic violence to one or more of the above-noted victims, the law permits a finding that there was family violence.
Range of punishment
Once an offense has been established, severity of punishment can be as minimal as a class C misdemeanor with a fine of up to $500 for touching. A class 1 felony conviction can result in life imprisonment if a deadly weapon was used and severe injuries resulted.
Even a class C misdemeanor conviction for domestic violence can have lifelong consequences. A person convicted of assault with a finding of family violence isn’t eligible to have the conviction expunged. Alternative engagement away from a courtroom can be effective in reducing a charge. That’s being part of the change in culture that courts are trying to positively bring about.
A person charged with domestic violence is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. You want to take all legal measures possible to either prevail on a domestic violence case, or have the charge reduced. There are two sides to every story. The professionals at Harron Law will find every fact that operates in your favor. If you’ve been charged, or if you believe that you’re going to be charged with assault, call us at 512-963-8855 right away for a free consultation and case evaluation.