family assault

Texas Domestic Violence Claims Highest Number of Women’s Lives in 10 Years

By Peek & Toland on December 27, 2016

Domestic violence against women is spiking in Texas. A report released in the fall revealed it claimed its highest number of victims in more than a decade.

A report from the Round Rock-based Texas Council on Family Violence revealed 157 women were killed in the state in domestic violence scenarios last year. The figure was a 20 percent hike on 2014.

The figure marked the highest tally of domestic violence deaths in 25 years of annual reports from the council.

The rise in domestic violence in Texas has seen more women killed

Domestic violence is increasing in Texas

During Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, the TV station KXAN published some warning signs that you may be a victim of domestic violence. They include:

  • The exertion of strict control over a partner. It could relate to social, financial or controlling another’s appearance.
  • Demanding constant contact including excessive phone calls and texts.
  • Emotional abuse including insulting your partner in public.
  • Demonstrating fear around a partner.
  • Extreme jealousy.
  • Isolating your partner from their friends and family.
  • Unexplained injuries and explanations for them that don’t make sense.

Texas Council on Family Violence released its report at an event in Round Rock to highlight the increase in domestic violence related deaths in the Austin area and further afield.

Counties that recorded an upsurge in deaths linked to family violence included Travis, Bastrop and Williamson.

The upsurge in violence among families came at the same time as a rise in gun crime.

The federal prohibition on gun ownership by people with a domestic violence conviction was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court this year.

Many states like Texas have passed their own legislation to supplement the federal prohibition.

An article in The Trace stated domestic assaults with firearms are more than 12 times more likely to be deadly than assaults with other weapons.

South Carolina has the highest number of women killed by men in the United States. It has finally enacted legislation limiting firearms access for domestic abusers.

You can read more about domestic assaults here on our website.

Penalties for Domestic Violence Offenses in Texas

The punishment for domestic violence offense assaults in Texas ranges from a “Class C” misdemeanor, which carries a possible fine of up to $500, up to a second degree felony, with a penalty of two to 20 years in a prison and a fine up to $10,000.

There are also some defenses to domestic violence, including:

  • Mistake or a lack of intention
  • Lack of knowledge of the crime
  • No offense occurred
  • Self-defense.

If you have been charged with a family assault, the prosecution will take it very seriously. It’s important to hire a seasoned criminal defense attorney in Austin as soon as possible. Call us at (512) 474-4445.




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Outlining the Three Types of Domestic Violence Offenses in Texas

By Peek & Toland on November 7, 2016

There are three main kinds of domestic violence in Texas. The state has a wide range of domestic abuse laws. They apply to offenses against spouses, former spouses or other family members.

Domestic violence can be a misdemeanor or a felony. If the defendant has no prior convictions for assault it’s likely to be treated as a Class A misdemeanor.

There are three kinds of domestic violence in Texas

If there are previous convictions the crime becomes a third-degree felony.

If you are convicted of a domestic assault, you have intentionally, knowingly or recklessly caused bodily harm or injury to another individual. You can also be found guilty of domestic assault for threatening another party with imminent bodily injury.

Three Main Types of Domestic Violence Offense

Assault on a Family Member

A first time assault on a family member is charged as a Class A Misdemeanor. It carries a jail sentence of up to a year and a fine of $4,000. A conviction means you will have an affirmative finding of domestic violence that stays on your record even of you have a deferred adjudication and complete it. You will be barred from owning a firearm under federal law.

If you have a previous domestic violence conviction, the new indictment will be a third-degree felony. The punishment will range from two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Aggravated Domestic Assault

If you cause serious bodily injury or use a weapon in a domestic assault, you are likely to face an aggravated assault charge. It’s a second-degree felony. Punishment ranges from 2 to 20 years in prison and you may be fined as much as a $10,000.  If you cause serious bodily injury to the victim and use a weapon, you may face a first-degree felony.  You would face punishment ranging from 5 years to life in prison, and a fine of up to $10,000.

What is Serious Bodily Injury in Domestic Violence Cases?

A broken bone, loss of a limb, disfigurement such as an acid injury, a serious head or brain injury, all constitute serious bodily injury.

However, any injury that requires hospital treatment or a type of surgery can be a serious body injury.

What is a Deadly Weapon in Domestic Violence Cases?

Firearms are the weapons most likely to fall into the deadly weapons category, but there are many others. Large knives, bats and brass knuckles are also considered deadly weapons. A motor vehicle can be a deadly weapon if it’s used to run someone down.

Continuous Domestic Violence Against Members of Your Family

When a defendant commits two domestic assaults within 12 months against a family member, it’s considered continuous domestic violence. It’s a third degree felony. You can be convicted of continuous violence against family without having two previous assaults resulting in an arrest.

However, there are a number of defenses to assault and domestic violence. An experienced Texas criminal defense lawyer can also make effective arguments about whether an assault even took place in a legal sense. If you are facing assault or domestic violence charges and you want an experienced and knowledgeable Austin attorney to defend you, please contact our office.

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