Survivors of domestic violence often do not report the offense. Figures from the Bureau of Justice show that over a period of 10 years, only 56 percent of the victims reported domestic violence. Anyone facing these charges should immediately consult with a skilled Houston domestic violence attorney to mitigate the legal consequences.
Assaulting a Pregnant Woman is Now a Felony
Texas has recently passed a new law that makes it a felony to assault a woman who is pregnant. This means that an individual convicted of this crime may face imprisonment for two to 10 years. Before this law was passed, assaults on pregnant women were grouped into a broader assault category called class A misdemeanors. Under this category, a convict would face maximum jail time of one year.
Widespread Abuse During Pregnancy
Supporters of the new law in Texas have said that assaults on pregnant women are more common than what most people would think. Statistics reveal the seriousness of the situation, but people are still largely unaware. According to data published by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), as many as 320,000 women annually suffer abuse from their partners during pregnancy.
ACOG also said that one in six of these victims suffers their first abuse during pregnancy. Analysts have also wondered for long whether pregnancy makes women more vulnerable to domestic violence. The International Journal for Women’s Health published a research study that showed that several surveys disagree that domestic violence reduces during pregnancy.
Reasons Behind these Assaults
According to researchers, in many situations involving abuse of pregnant women, the abuser may feel threatened that with the arrival of a baby, the woman’s attention would shift away from them. This could trigger violent incidents. The manipulation and control exercised by the abuser can make it hard for victims to report.
The best hope for someone charged with this crime is to have a capable Houston domestic assault attorney on their side who is determined to protect their rights.
Will a Stronger Punishment Work?
Those who advocate this new law in Texas also agree that although it may help in holding some abusers accountable, it may not be enough to bring such incidents to an end. Prevention is the only credible way to end domestic violence.
According to Maisha Colter, who heads the nonprofit AVDA (Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse) in Houston, it is not certain whether increasing the offense to a felony would result in reducing the frequency of assaults against pregnant women. Offenders are usually not even aware of the increased punishment, and offenses don’t occur based on the severity of the legal consequences of the crime.
Seek Legal Help if You are Arrested for Domestic Assault
If you have been arrested for violating the assault and battery laws in Texas, you should urgently reach out to a competent Houston criminal defense attorney. The attorney will review the facts and circumstances of your case and explain to you the best possible defenses that may be available. If required, they will provide you robust legal representation for a plea negotiation or in the court.
An arrest doesn’t mean you’re guilty. Your case can be fought and won. Flood-Lewis & Associates has a team of dedicated domestic violence defense attorneys that will fight tooth and nail for victory on your behalf. Call our team 24/7, 365 at 713-224-5529 for a free case review or contact us online to request a free consultation with one of our attorneys.