Denton Domestic Violence Lawyers
Texas Domestic Violence Laws & Penalties
If you're accused of harming a family or household member, you could be charged with family violence. Also referred to as domestic violence, an offense can be either a misdemeanor or felony. The conviction penalties can be harsh and may include jail or prison time and/or fines. Additionally, the state and federal governments are staunch in protecting victims from future harm. As such, various laws restrict certain rights of people accused or convicted of a domestic violence offense. If you're facing allegations, too much is at stake to leave your case in the hands of an inexperienced attorney. You need a lawyer on your side who knows not only how to fight charges but also how to get results.
At Marsala Law Group, our Denton domestic violence lawyers have over 20 years of combined experience and have handled thousands of cases. We know the law, and we know the justice system. Our team can help effectively navigate the complexities of the judicial process. Recognizing the seriousness of your charges and the effects a conviction can have on your life, we'll provide an honest and realistic assessment of your matter and give real answers to your questions. Our approach will allow you to make informed decisions about how to proceed with your case.
What Is Family Violence in Texas?
Texas law defines family violence as causing physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault to a family or household member, as well as a dating partner. However, an offense isn't only committed when physical contact is made with the alleged victim. A person may be criminally charged if they threaten to cause such a result to a family or household member and the alleged victim reasonably fears they are in imminent danger of harm.
A family or household member includes the following:
- Relatives by blood or marriage
- Current or former spouses
- People who have a child (or children) together, regardless of whether or not they're married
- Foster parents and children
- Current or former roommates
- People who are or were in a continuing romantic or intimate relationship
Terroristic Threat of Family/Household
Under Texas Penal Code §22.07, assaultive offenses are addressed. A terroristic threat occurs when someone threatens to commit violence upon a person or property with intent to place fear of serious bodily harm ensuing. In Texas, terroristic threats having to do with domestic violence include threats toward family members, household members, or a person with whom they have a dating relationship.
What is Domestic Assault in Texas?
To be charged with domestic assault in Texas, it must be proved that you injured or threatened to physically injure someone you’re in a relationship with. The violent act also has to be intentional, knowing, or reckless, meaning a genuine accident wouldn’t be considered domestic assault.
Though domestic assault is most commonly associated with married spouses or those in a romantic relationship, domestic assault is defined as a threat or act of violence against a person you’re in an intimate relationship with. For that reason, it also applies to roommates, children of your current or former spouse, foster children, foster parents, and relatives (both blood and adopted).
Common examples of domestic assault include:
- Pushing or shoving
What is Aggravated Domestic Assault in Texas?
In Texas, to be charged with aggravated domestic assault, the alleged victim needs to sustain “serious bodily injury.” Serious injuries would include:
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
You can also be charged with aggravated domestic assault if you used something that could be considered a deadly weapon, such as a knife, gun, or baseball bat.
Unlike aggravated assault, which is considered a misdemeanor, the serious nature of aggravated domestic assault makes it a second degree felony charge in Texas.
What Are the Conviction Penalties for Family Violence?
Various types of conduct are considered domestic violence. Thus, if you're convicted, the penalties you could face depend on the specifics of the alleged offense.
The types of charges and punishments levied in a Texas family violence case include:
Domestic Assault Penalties in TX
- Class C misdemeanor: An offense is charged at this level when the alleged offender intentionally or recklessly threatens a family or household member, or they intentionally or knowingly physically contact the person in an offensive manner. This level of offense is punishable by a fine of up to $500.
- Class A misdemeanor: This level of charge is imposed when someone intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to a family or household member. A conviction may result in up to 1 year in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000.
- Third-degree felony: This is charged when the individual intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes harm to a family or household member and they have been previously convicted of assault or a related offense. A conviction carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
- Second-degree felony: If someone intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly harms a family or household member, they have a prior conviction, and the current offense was committed by choking or strangling the alleged victim, they face this level of charge. If convicted, they may be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and or fined up to $10,000.
Aggravated Domestic Assault Penalties in Texas
- Second-degree felony: A person may be charged at this level if they cause serious bodily injury to a family or household member or they use or exhibit a deadly weapon while committing the offense. Such conduct is punishable by between 2 and 20 years' imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
- First-degree felony: An individual faces this level of charge when they use a deadly weapon and cause serious bodily injury to a family or household member. A conviction is penalized by a prison term of up to 99 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
Continuous Violence Against the Family Penalties in TX
If a family member has been accused of two or more domestic assaults within a 12 month period, they can be charged with continuous violence against the family. It’s important to note that a person doesn’t need to be formally charged with domestic assault, just accused.
- Third-degree felony: This level of charge is levied when a person commits an assaultive offense 2 or more times within 1 year. A third-degree felony is penalized by a prison term of up to 20 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
What Restrictions Can Be Placed on an Individual Accused of Domestic Violence?
In Texas, even before a person is convicted of a domestic violence offense, they can face various limitations. That's because an alleged victim can seek a protective order against the alleged perpetrator that places restrictions on them while the criminal case is pending (and even beyond the conclusion of the case).
If a protective order is issued in your name, you could be prohibited from:
- Contacting the alleged victim
- Going to the alleged victim's home or work
- Possessing a firearm
- Committing or attempting to commit an offense against the alleged victim
- Remaining at a residence you share with the alleged victim
Violating any of the conditions is a crime, and you can be sentenced to jail time and ordered to pay a fine if you're convicted.
Retain Legal Representation for Your Domestic Violence Case
If you've been charged with a family violence offense, our Denton domestic violence attorneys can provide the legal counsel you need to fight it. At Marsala Law Group, we deliver an aggressive defense and will zealously advocate on your behalf as we seek a favorable result in your case.
A.G. – Denton Misdemeanor Assault Family Violence Not Guilty
State presented seven eye-witnesses to dispute our claim of self-defense.
A.P.G. – Denton Aggravated Sex Assault of Child & 3 Counts of Indecency with a Child Not Guilty - Jury Trial
C.D. – Denton Felony Violation of Protective Order Case Dismissed
Dismissed and we are now suing the arresting agency.
Clay County-DWI 2nd and Resisting Arrest Dismissed
Dallas County - Felony Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon Dismissed
Denton County - Felony Theft Dismissed
Denton County - Motion to Revoke Probation Reduced Charge
Dr. J.B. – DWI with Multiple Drug Charges Cases Dismissed
All drug cases dismissed as well as a subsequent DWI while the client was on Probation.
Dr. R.C. – Tarrant DWI Not Guilty
E.D.M. Denton Felony Assault with Priors Reduced to Misdemeanor Time-Served
Charge reduced; client served one day in jail.
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