Don’t let a domestic violence charge take over your life. The dependable Texas criminal defense lawyers at Peek Toland & Castañeda PLLC can help you maintain your innocence against the prosecution’s claims. Past clients can attest to our legal skills and effective defense strategies. If we are not able to get your charges dropped in the preliminary criminal processes, then we will fight aggressively for you in trial. If you need legal representation for your criminal case, please contact us as soon as you can. Dial (512) 474-4445 to schedule a consultation with one of our dedicated legal staff.
What Constitutes Domestic Violence in Texas?
There are three types of domestic violence crimes recognized in the state of Texas: domestic assault, aggravated domestic assault, and continuous violence against the family. Victims of this crime can be:
- A current or former spouse
- A child of a current or former spouse
- The other parent of the offender’s child or children
- A foster child or foster parent
- A relation by blood, marriage, or adoption
- A domestic partner, and
- A past or current romantic partner.
It is not uncommon that a false allegation of domestic violence arises from a heated conflict between individuals with volatile family or romantic relations, especially when a divorce issue is involved.
Domestic Assault Laws in Texas
According to Tex. Penal Code Ann. §22.01, domestic assault occurs when any of the following actions are committed against a family member, household member, or a current or past romantic relation:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person;
- Intentionally or knowingly threatening another person with imminent bodily injury; or
- Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another that the offender knows or reasonably should know the victim will find provocative or offensive.
To clarify, recklessness is characterized not by intention but by complete disregard for the safety of others. For example, pushing someone to get him/her out of the way can constitute assault if s/he gets hurt in the process.
Furthermore, a victim of assault does not have to experience physical harm. Provocative or offensive contact that upsets the victim is enough to constitute a legitimate assault charge.
Domestic assault is generally treated as a Class A misdemeanor, unless there is a prior domestic assault conviction, in which case the crime becomes a third degree felony.
Aggravated Domestic Assault Laws in Texas
Aggravated domestic assault involves the infliction of serious bodily injury and/or the use or show of a deadly weapon to harm or threaten the victim. Injuries that qualify as serious include broken bones, traumatic brain damage, or any injury that requires extensive medical treatment, like surgery. A deadly weapon can be a knife, gun, rope, or any object that has the potential to kill or cause serious harm to another.
An aggravated domestic assault involving the infliction of bodily injury with a deadly weapon is usually treated as a first degree felony. Otherwise, it is a second degree felony.
Continuous Violence against the Family
If an individual commits two domestic assaults against his/her family within 12 months, s/he may face a charge of continuous violence against the family, a third degree felony, even if the separate incidents themselves never resulted in arrest or conviction.
Why You Need an Attorney
A domestic violence conviction can result in an exorbitant fine and a long prison term. Other effects may include the loss of future employment and licensing opportunities, and even the loss of access to your children. If you are facing a domestic violence charge, you need to reach out to an attorney who will treat your case with the seriousness it warrants. Start protecting your family and your future today and contact the Austin-based law firm of Peek Toland & Castañeda PLLC.