Domestic violence charges carry heavy penalties and a negative social stigma. A domestic violence charge can look menacing on a public record. Many people have issues with their employers or educational institutions if they discover domestic violence charges.
You could lose your professional or academic career because of a situation that’s been blown way of proportion. Family relationships are intricate and complex. The jury might not understand your side of the story because of the shame a domestic violence charge carries. Thankfully, you can start making steps to take your life back.
If you or someone you know has been charged with a domestic violence crime, it’s imperative you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Attorney for Domestic Violence in Houston, Texas
A domestic violence charge can result in serious penalties including fines in the thousands and time behind bars. It’s important you have a defense plan ready before going to trial. Start your defense now with the attorneys at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc..
Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. is a group of experienced attorneys who have a primary focus in criminal defense. Our team will battle for your rights utilizing all available resources. We can collect evidence, file motions, and fight for you. Call us at (713) 224-5529 to schedule a case consultation today.
We defend all types of domestic violence cases including:
- Domestic Assault;
- Aggravated Domestic Assault;
- Assault by Strangulation;
- Child Abuse;
- Child Abandonment;
- Stalking or Aggravated Stalking; and
- Continuous Violence Against the Family
Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. accepts clients throughout the greater Harris County area including Houston, Bellaire, Tomball, and Pasadena.
Overview of Domestic Violence in Texas
- Definitions of Family Under Texas Law
- Domestic Assault in Texas
- Aggravated Domestic Assault in Texas
- Additional Resources
Definitions of Family Under Texas Law
Domestic violence is any type of violent crime directed towards a family or household member. It can also include certain dating relationships if they meet the listed requirements. Texas law states you’re committing domestic violence if you:
- Attempt to or do physically harm, assault, sexually assault or cause bodily injury to another family or household member; or
- Threatened a household member or family member with imminent physical harm, assault, sexual assault or bodily injury.
The court has specific definitions for who is considered family under Texas Family Code § 71.004. These definitions include:
- Family Violence – An assaultive act between relatives of consanguinity (blood relatives) or affinity (related by marriage). This can include violence between parents of the same child, foster children and foster parents.
- Members of a Household – A single living unit where multiple people share the same residence. They’re not required to be related by blood or marriage. People who have moved out of the household can still be considered members of the household under Texas law.
- Dating Relationship – When two individuals share a continuing romantic or intimate relationship. The relationship is defined by its length, the nature of the relationship, how often both people saw each other and what types of interactions they had.
- Dating Violence – Assaultive violent acts against someone you had a dating relationship with. This also includes applicants of protective orders that were pointed towards you.
Domestic Assault in Texas
Typically, the most common domestic violence crime is assault. Texas Penal Code § 22.01 states you’ve committed domestic assault if you intentionally, knowingly or recklessly:
- Caused bodily harm;
- Threatened the victim with imminent bodily injury; or
- Made physical contact with the victim which was provocative or offensive.
The penalties for domestic assault rely on your criminal history and what happened during the offense. Threatening a family or household member with bodily injury or offensive physical contact is a class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by a $500 fine.
If you caused bodily injury to the victim, then your crime will be a class A misdemeanor. The penalties for a class A misdemeanor include up to 12 months in county jail and a possible fine of up to $4,000. If this is your second domestic violence conviction, the court will charge you with a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Texas has established laws specifically for assaults by strangling. If you impede the normal breathing or circulation of a family member’s throat or neck, then you’ll face a second-degree felony. Second-degree felonies can result in up to 20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Aggravated Domestic Assault
Your crime could be reclassified as aggravated domestic assault if certain factors are present. If you do any of the following, your crime will be elevated to an aggravated domestic assault.
- Cause serious bodily injury to the victim;
- Present or use a deadly weapon during the assault
Texas defines “serious bodily injury” as any injury which creates a substantial risk of death, serious permanent disfigurement, or impairment or loss of a bodily member or organ. Some serious bodily injuries include paralysis, traumatic brain injuries or amputations.
A deadly weapon is any firearm or weapon created solely for inflicting serious bodily injury. Aggravated domestic assault is a second-degree felony, which is punishable by up to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
If a deadly weapon was involved in the offense, then your charges will be reclassified to a first-degree felony. A first-degree felony has a maximum prison sentence of 99 years or life in prison.
Domestic Violence Laws in Texas – Visit the official website of Texas Penal Code to learn more about domestic violence. Access the site to learn more about domestic violence offenses, their penalties, possible enhancements and other assaultive offenses.
Domestic Violence Services – Visit the official website of the Houston Bar Association to learn more about the domestic violence services they offer. Access the site to learn more about their domestic violence hotline and a list of shelters for victims of family violence.
Domestic Violence Attorney in Harris County, Texas
If you or someone you know has been charged with a domestic violence crime, it’s imperative you seek a skilled attorney. Hiring an attorney can significantly increase your chances of reducing or dismissing your charges.
Call Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. now to set up a case consultation. We can review your charges to discover all your available legal options. The attorneys at Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. will work with and for you to create a strong defense plan. Contact us today by calling this number (713) 224-5529.
Flood Lewis & Associates, Inc. accepts clients throughout the greater Houston metroplex area including River Oaks, Uptown and Pasadena.
This article was last updated on March 8th, 2019.