Family violence or domestic violence accusations in Texas can arise from a number of situations. Sometimes an alleged victim will falsely claim another family member has harmed or threatened them in some way. These false allegations may arise out of spite, jealousy or to gain favor in divorce proceedings involving custody of a child or children. No matter the circumstances, the charges associated with domestic violence cases are very serious.
Domestic violence charges are associated with severe penalties in Texas such as jail or prison time, an inability to possess or own a firearm, a possibly permanent criminal record, steep fines an even losing custody of any shared children. If you have been charged with a domestic violence offense, it is imperative you hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to effectively represent you. An experienced lawyer can collect evidence, file motions and do whatever in their power to contest your criminal charges.
Georgetown Domestic Violence Attorney
Domestic violence is normally seen as a complicated crime. It can involve years of tension, abuse that ultimately boils to a breaking point. These situations are intricate and can be read badly if someone isn’t aware of all the facts. That is why many people are falsely accused of domestic violence and arrested on unfounded allegations. If you are facing allegations of domestic violence it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney. It is common for a spouse or a partner to accuse a defendant of domestic violence when tensions arise and actions are be misunderstood, or when there are open family cases such as divorce or custody proceedings.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for domestic violence, then we urge you to contact Law Office of Price & Wiggins, P.C.. Attorney Michael J. Price is an experienced criminal defense attorney who will make every effort to help you avoid the most serious penalties to the allegations against you. It’s time you to take your life back again and fight these accusations. Call Law Office of Price & Wiggins, P.C. for a free consultation at (512) 354-1880 about your alleged family violence. His office can be found in Georgetown, but Law Office of Price & Wiggins, P.C. represents people throughout the greater Williamson County and Bell County, Texas area.
Overview of Domestic Violence in Texas
- How Family Violence is Defined in Texas
- Types of Domestic Violence Offenses in Texas
- Domestic Assault Penalties in Texas
- Aggravated Domestic Assault Penalties in Texas
- Why should I hire a Domestic Violence Lawyer?
- What are the reports of Domestic Violence during the coronavirus pandemic for Texas State?
- Additional Domestic Violence Resources in Texas
How Family Violence is Defined in Texas
Domestic violence is a unique crime because it can only involve people with specific relationships. In Texas, you can only be accused of domestic violence if you assaulted or threatened a family, household member or someone you’re in a dating relationship with. Under the Texas statutes, you are guilty of domestic violence if you:
- Attempt to or inflict physical harm, assault, sexual assault or cause bodily injury to another family, household member or person you’re in a dating relationship with; or
- Threatened a family, household member, or person you’re in a dating relationship with a type of imminent physical harm, assault, sexual assault or bodily injury.
The court has specific definitions for who is considered family under Texas Family Code § 71.004. These definitions include:
- Family Violence – An assaultive crime or threat between relatives of consanguinity (blood relatives) or affinity (related by marriage). It can include parents of the same child, foster children and foster parents.
- Dating Violence – Committing assaultive violent crimes or threats against someone you are in or had a dating relationship with. This can include applicants or plaintiffs of protective orders you were the subject of.
- Dating Relationship – When two people share a continuing romantic or intimate relationship for at least six months. The relationship is defined by the judge based on its length, the nature of the relationship, how often both people saw each other and what types of interactions they had.
- Members of a Household – When multiple people share the same residence or single living unit. You’re not required to be related by blood or marriage to be labeled as a member of the household. People who have moved out of the household can still be considered members of the household if it was relatively recent.
- Protective Order Hearing – This type of hearing is held after an individual in a family or dating relationship files an application for protective order. At the hearing, the court will make a decision whether a family violence has occurred and whether it will probably occur in the future.
Types of Domestic Violence Offenses in Texas
Some of the most common charged family violence offense in Texas can include, but are not limited to the following:
- Domestic Assault– An individual can be charged with this offense if they intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause bodily injury, threaten or cause physical contact to another person, including their spouse. This offense is generally punishable as a Class A misdemeanor or a felony of the third degree.
- Sexual Assault – An individual can be charged with this offense if they intentionally or knowingly penetrate the sexual organs or mouth of another person without their consent. This offense is generally punishable as a felony of the first or second degree.
- Aggravated Domestic Assault– An individual can be charged with this offense if they commit assault against another person with a deadly weapon or cause serious bodily injury to the other person. This offense is generally punishable as a felony of the second or first degree.
- Stalking / Cyberstalking– An individual can be charged with this offense if they repeatedly and knowingly engage in conduct specifically directed at another person that is perceived as threatening, causes that person to be afraid of bodily injury or death, and would cause a reasonable person to fear bodily injury or death to themselves or their family members.
An example of stalking includes following another person. Also, cyberstalking can occur when an individual communicates with another through e-mail or another electronic means of communication for sole purpose of harassing the other person. Stalking and cyberstalking are generally punishable as a felony of the second or third degree.
- Violation of Protective Order– An individual can be charged with this offense if they knowingly or intentionally violate any terms of a protective order against them, such as communicating with the other person or goes to the other person’s residence or place of business. This offense is generally punishable as a Class A misdemeanor or a third-degree felony.
- Abandoning or Endangering a Child– When a family or household member intentionally abandons a child in a situation that could be neglectful or dangerous to the child. It also includes letting a child be allowed hazardous substances or environments that could possibly endanger their physical and mental health.
- Child Abuse– An individual can be charged with this offense if they
intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with criminal negligence cause serious bodily injury, bodily injury, or serious mental deficiency, impairment or injury to a child or an elderly adult. This offense is punishable as a felony of the third, second or first degree.
Domestic Assault Penalties in Texas
The most commonly charged family violence crime is domestic assault. Texas Penal Code Section 22.01 states you’re guilty of domestic assault if you intentionally, recklessly or knowingly:
- Inflict bodily harm;
- Threaten the victim with imminent bodily injury of some sort; or
- Make physical contact with the victim that could be viewed as offensive or provocative
The consequences for the crime depend on your criminal record and the circumstances of the case. For instance, if you only threaten a family or household member without any physical harm then you could be charged with a class C misdemeanor. The penalties for a class C misdemeanor can result in a fine of up $500.
Intentionally causing bodily injury to the other person will ramp up your charges to a class A misdemeanor. The consequences for a class A misdemeanor include up to 12 months in a county jail as well as a fine of up to $4,000. If it’s your second domestic assault conviction, then you could be charged with a third-degree felony which is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Strangling a person is a considered a separate and more severe assaultive offense under Texas law. Impeding the breathing or circulation of a family members throat or neck is a second-degree felony. A second-degree felony can result in up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Aggravated Domestic Assault Penalties in Texas
The penalties for domestic assault can be elevated even further if certain factors were present in the crime. If you cause serious bodily injury to the victim or present or use a deadly weapon during the assault, then you could have your criminal charge enhanced.
The term “serious bodily injury” refers to any injury where there is a substantial risk of death, impairment or loss of bodily member or organ, or serious permanent disfigurement. Some examples of serious bodily injuries include traumatic brain injuries and amputations.
Aggravated domestic assault is a second-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. If a deadly weapon was used during the crime, then it’s reclassified as a first-degree felony. This is one of the highest level crimes a person can commit and can lead to up to 99 years in prison with a minimum sentence of 15 years.
Hiring a Domestic Violence Defense Attorney
Charges of domestic violence have very severe and life altering consequences, as stated above. Domestic offenses are usually extremely complicated, full of emotions, and with a long history. Recently due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its unforeseen consequences tensions are high and misunderstandings happen. The stress of job loss, homeschooling, and other unexpected circumstances can increase tension. If you are facing a domestic violence allegation it is in your best interest to retain legal representation.
Below are some of the common reasons why hiring a domestic violence defense attorney can be helpful:
- An experienced domestic violence defense attorney will explain all your legal options available to you based on the facts of your case
- Help you develop a strong defense
- Will represent your best interest
- Defend against a restraining order
- Having a skilled and experienced criminal defense attorney can help get your charges reduced or dismissed
The skilled domestic violence attorneys at Law Office of Price & Wiggins, P.C. have years of experience and a deep understanding of what defendants may face. Every case is different and consulting with an experienced attorney can help you figure out how the coronavirus pandemic may affect your case. At Law Office of Price & Wiggins, P.C., our dedicated and highly qualified attorneys are here to help you at every stage of your case, offer you the resources necessary, and help build a defense.
Domestic Violence Reports in Texas
According to the document released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse and/or neglect in the past year.” With COVID-19 and social distancing becoming the new normal, domestic violence cases are spiking among women and men. There were a total of 196,902 incidents of family violence reported in Texas State.
The Texas Department of Public Safety tracks reports of family violence and other offenses. The data below reflects the current information on family violence that has been reported to law enforcements:
Family Violence Incidents
Texas State Domestic Violence Offenses in 2019
|Offense||Percentage of reported offense|
|Aggravated Domestic Assault||13.2%|
Domestic Violence Resources for Texas
Texas Penal Code – Assaultive Offenses – This link is to Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code, which contains many of the state’s laws regarding assault and sexual assault. This chapter defines all prohibited domestic assault, sexual assault offenses and other family violence-related crimes and the penalties for committing such offenses.
Texas Penal Code – Offenses Against the Family – Chapter 25 of the Texas Penal Code contains many prohibited family offenses and penalties for convictions of such crimes, including violations of protective orders and continues violence against the family.
Texas Department of Family and Protective Services – This state department’s website provides information on child protective services (CPS), adoption and foster care and generally family laws in the state. This link provides methods to report child or family abuse and miscellaneous resources on family and protective services in Texas.
An Abuse, Rape, Family violence Aid and Resource Collection – AARDVARC is a national organization that provides information and various resources on family violence throughout Texas. Visit the site to view statistics, information about certain family violence crimes and how to get help if you’re a victim.
National Domestic Violence Hotline – This nonprofit organization provides crisis intervention, information, and referrals to victims of domestic violence, individuals accused of domestic violence, friends and families. The Hotline provides support through advocacy, safety planning, and resources for anyone affected by domestic violence.
Texas State Crime Report – Follow the link to view the Texas State Crime Report. It includes statistical information for offenses such as child abuse, domestic violence, juvenile crime, drug related offenses, and much more.
Family Violence Lawyer in Georgetown, Texas
If you or someone you know has been charged with a domestic violence crime, it’s imperative you seek a skilled attorney. Hiring an attorney can significantly increase your chances of reducing or dismissing your charges. That is why we urge you to get in contact with the Law Office of Michael J. Price today for a consultation about your alleged family violence case.
Michael J. Price is a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer in Georgetown, Texas who will make every effort to defend the charges against you and help you achieve the best possible outcome in your particular situation. He has years of experience, skills and resources he can utilize for your charges so you can get your life back on track.
Contact Law Office of Price & Wiggins, P.C. at (512) 354-1880 or submit an online form for a confidential consultation about your domestic violence charges throughout Williamson County and Bell County in Texas.