Many people who are charged with domestic violence, known in Texas as family violence, offenses can be relieved if they are able to get their criminal charges reduced to Class C misdemeanors that result only in fines of up to $500. The major catch to this kind of case is that even when a court orders deferred adjudication in a criminal case, the reduced charge will still be considered a conviction as it relates to future domestic violence or family violence offenses.
This kind of concern is what makes it so critical that people seek the help of an experienced Austin criminal defense attorney any time they are facing any kind of domestic violence or family violence charge. While accepting a reduced plea can certainly be an attractive option for any person facing criminal charges, you will want to fight your criminal charges to obtain the outcome that will offer the most long-term benefits and possibly help you avoid more serious criminal charges down the line.
Texas Penal Code § 22.01 is a good example of how enhancements can work in domestic violence cases. The law states that a person accused of intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person, including their spouse, commits a Class A misdemeanor, but an offense will be a third-degree felony if the offense qualifies as domestic violence and the accused has certain prior convictions.
The charge can also be a felony if the domestic violence offense was allegedly committed by intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding normal breathing or circulation of the blood by applying pressure to their throat or neck or by blocking their nose or mouth.
Texas Penal Code § 25.11 establishes the third-degree felony crime of continuous violence against the family, which is an offense that involves an alleged offender during any period of 12 months or less two or more times engaging in domestic violence.
The Texas Family Code specifically defines dating relationships, family, and household members for the purposes of domestic violence. The law establishes that a dating relationship is defined as a relationship between people 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 types of interactions between the persons involved in the relationship. The law defines dating violence as certain acts by an alleged offender committed against a victim or applicant for a protective order with whom the alleged offender has a current or former dating relationship.
Texas Family Code defines family as including people related by consanguinity (one person is a descendant of the other or the two share a common ancestor) or affinity (people are married to each other or the spouse of one person is related by consanguinity to the other individual). This often includes:
Under Texas Family Code, a household is defined as a unit composed of people living together in the same dwelling, without regard to whether they are actually related to one another.
In Texas, domestic violence is a criminal offense that is taken very seriously by law enforcement agencies and the justice system. Penalties for domestic violence in Texas can be severe and may include jail time, fines, mandatory counseling, and other consequences.
The penalties for domestic violence in Texas vary depending on the severity of the offense and whether there are any enhancements to increase the charges.
For a misdemeanor assault against a family or household member, the penalties may include a fine of up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail. If the offender is convicted of an enhanced felony offense or continuous violence against the family, the penalties may include a prison sentence of up to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
In addition to jail time and fines, domestic violence offenders in Texas may also be required to attend counseling or anger management classes as part of their sentence. These programs are designed to help offenders understand the impact of their actions on their victims and to teach them how to manage their emotions and behaviors in a healthy way.
Domestic violence victims in Texas may also be eligible for a protective order, which is a court order that prohibits the offender from contacting or coming near the victim. Violating a protective order can result in additional criminal charges and penalties.
It is worth noting that Texas has a mandatory arrest policy for domestic violence cases, which means that if police officers have probable cause to believe that domestic violence has occurred, they are required to make an arrest. This policy is designed to protect victims and to ensure that offenders are held accountable for their actions.
The penalties for committing this crime can be severe, and even more so if you face enhanced charges. If you are facing any degree of criminal charges for domestic violence, it is crucial to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you present the strongest possible defense and minimize the penalties you face.
Are you currently concerned about domestic violence charges you are facing in Texas? You will want to get The Law Office of David D. White, PLLC on your side immediately because we can aggressively defend you against your charges and help you seek the most favorable possible outcome to your case.
Our firm handles all kinds of cases, from Class C misdemeanors all the way up to federal criminal charges. Call (512) 369-3737 or contact our Austin criminal defense attorney online to set up a free consultation.