Being convicted of an act of violence can cause a court system to levy heavy penalties upon you. Those penalties can significantly increase if the act of violence is committed against a family member.

This post will discuss how Texas defines ‘Family Violence,’ the immediate punishment one should expect when faced with Family Violence charges, and who to speak with regarding your Family Violence case.

What Sort of Crimes are Considered to be ‘Family Violence’ Charges?

First, we must define what the laws of Texas consider ‘Family.’ A family or household member would share one of the following relationships with the other party:

● Relative by blood, adoption, marriage, or legal partnership
● Current or former spouses
● Parents of shared children
● Current or former dating partners
● Current or former roommates or other co-residents

Then, we should determine what is considered “violence.” An act of violence is one that threatens or results in physical harm, bodily injury or assault (physically, emotionally, or sexually) of another person.

Some of the crimes that are considered acts of family violence are;

● Domestic assault
● Aggravated domestic assault
● Continuous violence against the family
● Violation of protective orders
● Stalking
● Kidnapping
● Unlawful restraint
● Homicide

What Punishment Awaits Those Convicted of Family Violence Crimes?

● Domestic Assault
○ Misdemeanor:
■ Punishable by a fine of up to $500 as a class C (provocative or offensive contact).
■ As a class A, when the victim suffers bodily injury, the maximum fine increases to $4,000, and there is up to one year of jail time.
○ Felony: If the defendant has prior domestic assault convictions or the offense involves strangulation or suffocation, it can elicit a punishment of up to 10 years in prison with a $10,000 fine

● Aggravated Domestic Assault
○ The assault becomes ‘aggravated’ if;
■ Committed during the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon
■ It involves serious bodily injury such as a broken bone, loss of limb, or an injury that requires surgery or hospitalization
○ 2-20 years in prison; $10,000 fine
○ It can become a first-degree felony if involving a deadly weapon and results in serious injury

● Continuous Violence Against Family
○ Two or more domestic assaults within 12 months
○ 2-10 years in prison and $10,000

● Violation of a Family Protective Order
○ Class A Misdemeanor – one year in jail, $4,000 fine
○ Repeated Violations within 12 Months – 2-10 years prison and a $10,000 fine

● Stalking, Kidnapping, Unlawful Restraint, and Homicide
○ Punished similarly to non-family versions of the crime, but with additional punishment added.

How Can a Family Violence Lawyer Help Me?

If you have been accused of a crime, including family violence, it is always pertinent to talk with a criminal defense attorney that is local and has experience with such crimes. Allow an experienced lawyer to review your case and help you combat the criminal conviction from its lasting consequences, including incarceration, fines, and loss of occupation or firearms. Call us today at 469-423-8467.