couple fighting at dinner table

Texas Domestic Violence Laws Explained

It’s estimated that one in three women and one in four men experience some form of violence against them from someone they love during their lifetime. Unfortunately, acts of violence between spouses, partners, and children are much more common than most people believe.

In Texas, domestic violence is a crime that comes with stiff penalties, and I’m sure most would agree that everything that can be done to prevent these crimes from happening, should be. However, as the nation begins to crack down on domestic violence, the consequences of being falsely accused of domestic violence continue to increase.

What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence falls under the Texas Penal Code Title 5 Chapter 22. When family violence is involved, the laws cover:

  • Family members
  • Other members of the household (including children that aren’t blood-related)
  • Current or previous partners

The laws also state that in order for the offense to be considered domestic violence, you have to:

  • Knowingly harm someone you know
  • Intentionally threaten somebody you know

It’s important to note that for a violent incident to be considered domestic violence, the individual must have caused the harm knowingly. Additionally, if the accused’s behavior was “reckless,” it could be regarded as domestic violence.

Examples

Let’s pretend that you’re helping get your child out of their car seat. While doing so, you accidentally shut the door on your partner’s finger. You causing harm to your partner was unintentional and wouldn’t be considered domestic violence.

Now, let’s pretend that you’re at home, and you and your partner get into a heated argument. You let the heat of the moment get the best of you, and you harm them on purpose. In this situation, you would be facing domestic violence charges because your actions were intentional.

Domestic Violence Penalties

The consequences associated with domestic violence charges range from a misdemeanor to a first-degree felony, with crimes including:

  • Assault & battery
  • Kidnapping
  • Sexual assault

Additionally, the severity of your charges are based on a few things:

  • Your criminal history
  • The relationship you have with the victim
  • The type of violence/abuse involved in the incident

Lastly, the consequences of being convicted depend on the charge you’re given:

  • Misdemeanor - You can expect to face up to 12 months in prison and a fine of up to $4,000.
  • Third-degree Felony - You can expect to face anywhere from two to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Second-degree Felony - You can expect to face anywhere from two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • First-degree Felony - You can expect to face anywhere from five to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Fighting Your Charges

As you can see, being convicted of domestic violence comes with severe penalties. Unfortunately, even false accusations can completely reshape one’s life, if not handled properly.

However, with the right legal representation and a proper strategy, you can beat your charges.

Some of the most common defenses include:

  • Proving the allegations were false
  • Proving you acted out of self-defense
  • Arrest errors
  • A lack of evidence

Following an arrest, it’s crucial to discuss your situation with a trusted Texas domestic violence defense attorney at your earliest convenience.

At Smith & Vinson Law Firm, our team has been helping individuals fight for their freedom for countless years. We have the knowledge and expertise to help fight your charges and get you back to your best life possible.

Call us today (512) 359-3743 to learn more about how our team can help you over the phone.

Categories