Texas Domestic Violence Laws
For info and resources regarding Texas domestic violence laws, contact the professionals from Spangler Law. Our team is here to help.
What Are the Laws for Domestic Violence in Texas?
The consequences of a criminal conviction for an assault charge for violence against the family can be devastating. A misdemeanor or felony conviction can result in criminal penalties and have serious consequences, including loss of professional license, loss of employment, loss of immigration status, and loss of personal relationships.
In light of the recent spate of high-profile domestic assault cases, prosecutors are taking no chances and will not drop charges unless the defense can show that the prosecution has no evidence.
Texas domestic violence laws impose harsher punishments for offenses involving violence against the family than for comparable crimes involving non-family members. The law also sets restrictions on firearms, arrest procedures, and bail procedures to reduce instances of family violence.
Knowing Texas domestic and family violence laws is essential if you face charges in the State. You can then proceed with your legal defense by hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney in Dallas, Texas.
The Crime of Domestic Violence in Texas
Sections 71.0021 to 71.006 of the Texas Family Code define the acts that constitute domestic violence and who committed them. Domestic violence is:
- An act of family violence by a family member against another threatening or resulting in serious bodily injury, physical harm, sexual assault or abuse, or general assault
- Any form of child abuse occasioned by a family member
- Dating violence or abuse
Family or household members are people with any of the following relationships:
- Spouses, both former and current
- Relatives by adoption, blood, or marriage
- Foster parents or a foster child
- Co-residents – former and present, and
- Intimate partners in a dating relationship, including previous partners such as an ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend
Common family violence offenses include:
- Domestic assault and aggravated domestic assault
- Continuous violence against a family or household member, and
- Violating protective orders
Kidnapping, stalking, homicide, and unlawful restraint against a family member are also family violence offenses.
Call criminal defense attorneys whose practice areas include domestic violence law if you are facing domestic violence charges in Texas.
Domestic Violence Accusation in Texas
It is essential for you to know your rights when you are accused of domestic violence in Texas. When you hire a criminal defense attorney, they will explain your rights and options to protect your interests.
Here’s what you should know if you’re accused of domestic violence in Texas:
Violent crimes and misdemeanors defined by state law can be prosecuted as felonies under special circumstances.
If the accused has any prior conviction for an act of family violence that resulted in serious bodily injury to another person, they may face a first-degree felony charge even if the crime isn’t categorized as a violent crime or misdemeanor under state law.
If the accuser is a live-in partner, the alleged victim can seek a temporary protective order even if the incident that led to the criminal charge occurred outside their home.
After an arrest, an arraignment will occur where the defendant can plead guilty, not guilty, or no contest to the charges. The judge will set a trial date and schedule a hearing to decide on the temporary protective order.
Texas Domestic Violence Arrest
In some cases, prosecutors may wait before charging a suspect. The State may seek more evidence in some circumstances in preparation for a possible trial. Nonetheless, the prosecution must formally submit these accusations by a deadline. This time limit is called the statute of limitations. In most jurisdictions, the clock starts on the statute of limitations from the day the offense was committed or was discovered.
A misdemeanor charge of domestic assault has a two-year statute of limitations, whereas a felony charge of continuous domestic violence has a three-year statute of limitations.
Penalties for Domestic Violence Crimes in Texas
Factors influencing the severity of a domestic violence conviction include whether the victim sustained severe bodily injury and whether the defendant has a criminal background.
- A Class A domestic violence misdemeanor warrants a one-year county jail term and a maximum fine of $4,000.
- A 3rd Degree domestic violence felony conviction is punishable by 2 to 10 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.
- A 2nd Degree domestic violence felony conviction is punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- A 1st Degree felony (aggravated domestic violence) warrants a jail term of between 5 to 99 years and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Consequences For Domestic Violence Convictions
Apart from paying fines and serving jail time, the defendant may also lose their right to bear arms, restitute the victim, and undergo counseling. Having a criminal record makes it harder to find a job, rent a house, or even apply for government assistance. A history of domestic violence may also lead to a reduction in visitation rights or even disqualification from parenting planning in child custody cases.
Even after you’ve served your sentence, a conviction for domestic abuse could negatively influence your life. That’s why it’s essential to get in touch with a skilled criminal lawyer to review your options or avoid a conviction altogether!
How Can a Criminal Defense Attorney in Dallas, Texas, Help You?
To avoid the life-long consequences of a criminal record, contact a Dallas criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible if you’ve been accused of domestic abuse. An accomplished lawyer will review your situation and your legal options with you.
Spangler Law is an experienced law firm with a track record of resolving more than 2,000 criminal defense cases favorably. Our lawyers will passionately fight for you, regardless of the charges you are facing, and use their legal knowledge and skills to ensure that you obtain a favorable outcome. DUIs, theft law, and drug laws are among the many areas of law that our attorneys are experienced in.
Find out how we can help you by scheduling a free consultation today.