If you have been arrested or accused of domestic assault or family violence in Texas, you are not alone and it’s important to know more about what you have been charged with. Here’s what you need to know about family domestic violence and how it can affect you.
Talk to a Lawyer
Dealing with a charge of domestic abuse can make it feel like your world has been turned upside down and flipped inside out all at the same time. The emotions of dealing with domestic violence are a lot for one person to handle, and navigating the legal system can be overwhelming. An experienced law firm like The Law Office of Eric Harron can help. Call us today to find out how we can help you.
The Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction
Because there’s such a wide range of violence and abuse that is part of domestic assault and family violence charges, there is a wide range of consequences. Depending on the intensity and frequency of the violence that is charged, an individual can be convicted of anything from a misdemeanor to a felony. This can lead to jail time, a criminal record, and fines. But a conviction doesn’t stop affecting your life when you’re done with serving your time—you will feel the effect of a domestic violence conviction for the rest of your life. For example:
- You cannot own or possess any firearms, even if you were previously licensed to carry them.
- You cannot obtain a Texas hunting or fishing license.
- Current or future employment may be affected. This is especially true for pilots, military personnel, teachers, health care workers, and government employees.
- There may be ramifications during any divorce or child custody cases.
If you have been charged with domestic assault, you need an effective defense to avoid a conviction. Just because you have been charged does not mean it is guaranteed that you are going to have a criminal record. The most common defenses include:
- Unintended or mistaken action
- Lack of knowledge
- No offense occurred
What Is Family Domestic Violence?
Family domestic violence is categorized as any time someone uses abusive behavior to control and/or harm a member of their direct family or someone they have an intimate relationship with. It’s important to understand that family in this definition does not limit domestic violence to parents, siblings, or children, but can stretch to roommates, extended family, step-family members, and adopted family members. This law covers heterosexual, homosexual, and non-binary relationships.
No matter if you call it family violence, domestic assault, domestic violence, or intimate partner violence, it is illegal. Just because the abuse does not leave visible bruises or scars does not mean that the abuse is not real. It can include emotional, psychological, financial, or sexual abuse. Threats of any form of violence in any of these areas are also classified as abuse.
Forms of Violence
While physical violence is the most obvious form, it’s important to know about the different types of violence and how it is possible for someone to be charged with more than one form of violence or abuse.
Physical abuse is the intentional use of force against another person, without that person’s consent. While physical violence is generally understood as when the victim is harmed and can show injury, it can still apply to any form of physical trauma. This includes anything from a shove or a push all the way to murder. Some examples include:
- Throwing objects at someone
- Tying someone down
If it physically hurts someone, even if you don’t think it would, or that you’ve dealt with worse, it is physical violence.
Sexual abuse can include:
- Any sexual touching or activity without consent
- Continued contact or activity when asked to stop (even after initial consent might have been given)
- Forcing someone to commit sexual acts
Any sexual contact without consent is a crime. This includes a spouse, common-law partner, or dating partner. Even when married, a spouse must consent to sexual acts. There are additional laws that might be included in the charge if the abuse is directed towards or includes minors.
Emotional violence and abuse happen when a person uses words or actions to control, frighten, or isolate someone. This is also frequently referred to as psychological abuse or violence. It can include acts like:
- Threats of other forms of violence
- Insults, including name-calling and put-downs
- Forcing a family member from seeing family or friends
- Preventing someone from practicing their faith or religion
- Destroying belongings
- Hurting pets or threatening to do so
- Bullying which includes intimidation or humiliation in person or online
Financial abuse or violence is when someone uses money or property to control or exploit someone else. This can include, but is not limited to:
- Taking money or property without permission
- Withholding or limiting money with the intent to control someone
- Pressuring someone to sign legal financial documents
- Forcing someone to change a will or sell things
Most forms of financial abuse can be stand-alone charges. These are crimes like theft and types of fraud such as credit card fraud or fraudulent use or possession of identifying documents.
Multiple Forms of Abuse
Often, abuse is not limited to only one form of abuse. It is possible that multiple forms of violence are used in one situation of domestic assault. For example, if a person uses violence as an initiating step in receiving non-consensual sexual activity it can be considered as both assault and sexual violence.
Depending on the nature of the violence, a wide range of charges can be held against you. These include, but are not limited to:
- Rape and sexual offenses
- Violation of Protective Order
- Criminal Trespass
- Terroristic Threat
The Law Office of Harron Law Can Help
If you have been charged with an account of assault and family violence in Texas you are not alone. The Law Office of Harron Law is on your side and ready to be in your corner. Contact us to find out how our team can help you.