Continuous Violence Against the Family
The Texas Legislature added the crime of continuous violence against the family to the Texas Penal Code in 2009. The new statute allows prosecutors to seek felony charges against alleged offenders who are accused of having committed two or more domestic assaults within a calendar year.
Unlike domestic assault charges that are usually based on single isolated incidents, continuous violence against the family charges involve multiple alleged acts that can be more challenging to defend against. Furthermore, jurors do not need to unanimously agree on the specific conduct that constituted an offense or the exact date each assault occurred in order to convict an alleged offender.
Lawyer for Continuous Violence Against the Family Arrests in Georgetown, TX
Have you been charged with alleged continuous violence against the family in Central Texas? Do not say anything to authorities until you have legal counsel. Law Office of Michael J. Price can help you achieve the most favorable possible outcome to your case.
Michael J. Price is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Georgetown who represents individuals accused of domestic violence offenses in Cedar Park, Harker Heights, Hutto, Belton, Georgetown, and several surrounding areas of Williamson County and Bell County. Call (512) 354-1880 today to have our lawyer review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free, confidential consultation.
Texas Continuous Violence Against the Family Information Center
- What constitutes continuous violence against the family?
- Can an alleged offender be separately convicted of assault if charged with this crime?
- Where can I learn more about continuous violence against the family in Georgetown?
Under Texas Penal Code § 25.11(a), an alleged offender commits continuous violence against the family if, during a period that is 12 months or less in duration, he or she two or more times engages in conduct that constitutes assault causing bodily injury under Texas Penal Code § 22.01(a)(1) against a family or household member or a person with whom the alleged offender had a dating relationship. For the purposes of this statute, the three relationships that can constitute victims of this crime are defined as follows:
- Family — Under Texas Family Code § 71.003, family includes individuals related by consanguinity (one is a descendant of the other or the two individuals share a common ancestor) or affinity (they are married to each other or the spouse of one of the individuals is related by consanguinity to the other individual), individuals who are former spouses of each other, individuals who are the parents of the same child, without regard to marriage, and a foster child and foster parent, without regard to whether those individuals reside together; or
- Household — Under Texas Family Code § 71.005, a household is defined as a unit composed of persons living together in the same dwelling, without regard to whether they are related to each other.
- Dating Relationship — Under Texas Family Code § 71.0021(b), a dating relationship is defined as a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship is determined based on consideration of the length of the relationship, the nature of the relationship, and the frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. A casual acquaintanceship or ordinary fraternization in a business or social context does not constitute a dating relationship.
Continuous violence against the family is a third-degree felony offense in Texas. A conviction is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
The alleged assaults involved in continuous violence against the family charges may have the same or different victims. Texas Penal Code § 25.11(b) establishes that jurors are not required to unanimously agree on the specific conduct in which the alleged offender engaged that constituted assault causing bodily injury or the exact date when that conduct occurred, but they must agree unanimously that the alleged offender, during a period that is 12 months or less in duration, two or more times engaged in conduct that constituted continuous violence against the family.
Under Texas Penal Code § 25.11(c), an alleged offender cannot be separately convicted of one of the assault alleged to be part of the continuous violence against the family conduct unless the separate alleged assault:
- is charged in the alternative;
- occurred outside the 12-month period; or
- is considered by the trier of fact to be a lesser included offense.
Texas Penal Code § 25.11(d) also states that an alleged offender cannot be charged with more than one count under Texas Penal Code § 25.11(a) if all of the specific conduct that is alleged to have been engaged in is alleged to have been committed against a single victim or members of the same household.
Texas prosecutors’ first use of the Continuous Family Violence law | Texas Council on Family Violence (TCFV) — Read this 2011 article written by an assistant district attorney about handling what was believed to be the first continuous family violence case to be tried in Texas. The article discusses the challenges of the case, the statute, and the trial itself. The recommendations provided in this article can give you a better idea of how prosecutors approach these types of cases.
Ellison v. State, 425 S.W.3d 637 (Tex.App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2014) — Philip Wade Ellison was convicted of continuous violence against the family and adjudicated guilty of continuous violence against the family in separate indictments. He was sentenced to five years for each offense, to run concurrently. Ellison argued in his appeal that his double jeopardy rights were violated because the conviction for the former offense constituted a second prosecution for the same offense after conviction and subjected him to multiple punishments for the same offense. The Fourteenth Court of Appeals sustained Ellison’s issue on March 24, 2014, affirming the trial court’s judgment adjudicating guilt in one case but vacating the trial court’s judgment on the conviction in the other case.
Law Office of Michael J. Price | Georgetown Continuous Violence Against the Family Defense Attorney
If you were arrested in Central Texas for alleged continuous violence against the family, it is in your best interest to seek legal representation as soon as possible. Law Office of Michael J. Price aggressively defends clients accused of all kinds of domestic violence offenses in communities throughout Williamson County and Bell County, including Round Rock, Liberty Hill, Taylor, Temple, Killeen, Leander, and many others.
Georgetown criminal defense lawyer Michael J. Price understands the most effective ways to challenge the evidence of prosecutors in these cases and will work tirelessly to possibly get the criminal charges reduced or dismissed. He can provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (512) 354-1880 or submit an online contact form to take advantage of a free initial consultation.