Domestic Violence & Abuse Defense Attorney in Texas
Domestic violence, formally referred to as assault with injury family violence, most commonly addresses violent behavior between spouses. However, it also includes child abuse, elder abuse, or violence between family members, roommates, partners, ex-partners, ex-spouses, or even co-habitants.
Here’s what you need to know about the basics of a domestic violence charge in Texas.
Are There Different Types of Domestic Violence Offenses?
In the state of Texas, there is no distinction between assault and battery; rather, they are both defined by the law and are termed assault.
While assault is used as the coverall term for most domestic violence offenses, there are important variations of assault that can affect sentencing. These distinctions change the charges which may be presented against you.
Domestic Violence Offenses Include:
Assault with Injury Family Violence
A person commits assault when they cause bodily injury to another. Bodily injury can simply mean that the person felt pain.
Domestic assault can be either a misdemeanor or a felony. Lesser cases will constitute a Class C misdemeanor, but if the victim suffers bodily injury, the charge increases to a Class A misdemeanor.
If there is a history of domestic assault convictions, or if the offense involved strangulation or suffocation, the charge becomes a third-degree felony.
Aggravated Domestic Assault
While there is no specific crime for aggravated domestic assault, it is actually a variation of the aggravated assault law. Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon (penal code section 22.02) becomes a more serious crime if committed against a family member.
Impeding breathing in relation to family violence is a serious charge in Texas. If there are signs of strangulation or impeding breath, the charge becomes a third-degree felony. If serious bodily injury occurs and a deadly weapon was used, it becomes a first-degree felony, which comes with a sentence of up to 99 years or life in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Continuous Violence Against the Family
A person who commits two or more domestic assaults in twelve months can be charged with continuous violence against the family. It is not a requirement that either of those assaults have a previous conviction or be committed against the same victim. For example, an individual who assaults their spouse and their child within the same 12-month period could be charged with continuous violence against the family.
This is considered a third-degree felony and carries penalties of up to ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Domestic violence in Texas doesn’t have to cause bodily injury—threats of imminent injury are enough to be charged with terroristic threat. This is a type of offense that is also more serious if committed against a family member or someone in a dating relationship. If you have been accused of committing family violence, make your first call to me, your family violence defense lawyer in Austin, TX.
What Happens If You Are Accused of Family Violence in Austin, TX?
If you have been accused of a crime, then you need the help I can provide as a family violence lawyer. It’s important to know that everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. If you are found guilty and convicted of domestic abuse, it comes with some very heavy consequences.
The penalties for a conviction of family violence could be as much as $4,000 and one year in jail if found guilty of a misdemeanor, or up to $10,000 and 20 years in prison if it is upgraded to a third-degree felony charge.
In addition to jail time and a fine, your life could be drastically affected by a domestic abuse charge. You will be banned from ever owning a firearm forever. And, it could also directly affect your employment and your ability to rent housing.
What Are the Consequences of Being Falsely Accused?
If you have been falsely accused, you need professional legal counsel. While we all hope that you will receive a fair trial, an innocent person can be found guilty of a crime they did not commit.
Hopefully, if you have been falsely accused, the case will be dismissed or thrown out. If your case is dismissed, you will face no sentencing. However, there will still be a record of any arrests made. The only way to fully clear your record of all documents pertaining to an arrest is to seek an expunction.
Defending Against Domestic Violence Charges
Usually, if you have been charged with a domestic violence crime, a restraining order or protective order is filed against you. Understanding and respecting the restrictions of the order will go a long way toward helping your case.
An aggressive defense against any domestic violence charge is your best chance at a lesser sentence or dismissal of your case.
Only with the help of an experienced domestic violence lawyer can you get the strong defense needed for a successful outcome. Some defenses that have proved successful in the past are: the injury was accidental, the offense was unintentional, the injury was sustained in self-defense, and that the offense occurred without the defendant’s knowledge.
Whichever defense fits your case best, we have the experience you need as a domestic violence defense attorney in Austin, TX. Call the Law Office of Eric Harron today to find out how I can help with your case and give you the representation you deserve.