Family Violence Charge in Texas: Understanding the Law and Penalties

Apr 15, 2023   Legal Tips

Family violence is a serious issue that affects many families across the United States, including Texas. When it comes to family violence charges in Texas, the law is strict and the penalties can be severe. It is important for individuals to understand the law and the consequences of a family violence charge. In this article, we will explore the topic of family violence charge in Texas, including its definition, types of charges, penalties, and more.

What is Family Violence?

Family violence, also known as domestic violence, is a pattern of behavior in which one person in a household uses physical, emotional, sexual, or economic abuse to control and dominate another person. In Texas, family violence is defined as an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault.

Types of Family Violence Charges

There are various types of family violence charges in Texas, including:

  • Domestic assault
  • Aggravated domestic assault
  • Continuous violence against the family
  • Violation of protective order
  • Child abuse or neglect
  • Elder abuse or neglect

Penalties for Family Violence Charges

The penalties for family violence charges in Texas vary depending on the severity of the offense and the offender’s criminal history. Some of the potential penalties include:

  • Fine of up to $10,000
  • Imprisonment for up to 99 years
  • Community supervision (probation)
  • Mandatory counseling or anger management classes
  • Loss of gun ownership rights
  • Protective orders
  • Revocation of professional licenses

Defenses Against Family Violence Charges

If you are facing a family violence charge, it is important to know that there are defenses available. Some of the common defenses against family violence charges include:

  • Self-defense or defense of others
  • Lack of intent or knowledge
  • False accusations
  • Mistaken identity
  • Insufficient evidence

Process of a Family Violence Charge

The process of a family violence charge typically involves the following steps:

  • Arrest and booking
  • Bond hearing
  • Arraignment
  • Discovery
  • Plea bargaining or trial
  • Sentencing

Impact of a Family Violence Charge

A family violence charge can have significant impacts on an individual’s life, including:

  • Criminal record
  • Employment consequences
  • Housing consequences
  • Immigration consequences
  • Personal relationships
  • Loss of custody or visitation rights

Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney

If you are facing a family violence charge in Texas, it is important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help protect your rights and advocate for your best interests. A criminal defense attorney can review the evidence against you, identify any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, negotiate plea deals, and represent you in court.

Legal Assistance for Victims of Family Violence

If you are a victim of family violence in Texas, there are legal resources available to help you. These resources include:

  • Protective orders
  • Divorce and custody proceedings
  • Victim advocacy programs
  • Shelters and other safe housing options

Resources for Family Violence Prevention and Support

Prevention and early intervention are key to addressing family violence. In Texas, there are various resources available to help prevent family violence and support victims, including:

  • Hotlines for victims of family violence, such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the Texas Abuse Hotline
  • Educational programs and campaigns, such as the Texas Council on Family Violence’s “Love is Respect” campaign and the Texas Attorney General’s “Texas Crime Victim Clearinghouse”
  • Nonprofit organizations and advocacy groups, such as the Texas Advocacy Project and the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault
  • Community-based services, such as counseling, legal aid, and emergency shelters

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What is the difference between domestic violence and family violence? Domestic violence refers specifically to violence between intimate partners, such as spouses or dating partners. Family violence, on the other hand, includes violence between any members of a household or family.
  2. What should I do if I am a victim of family violence in Texas? If you are a victim of family violence in Texas, you should seek help immediately. Contact a local domestic violence hotline or law enforcement agency, and consider seeking a protective order or other legal remedies.
  3. Can I be charged with family violence if I did not physically harm anyone? Yes, Texas law allows for charges of family violence even if no physical harm is caused. Threats or intimidation that place a family or household member in fear of physical harm can also constitute family violence.
  4. Can I lose my gun ownership rights if I am convicted of a family violence charge in Texas? Yes, a conviction for family violence can result in the loss of gun ownership rights under federal law. It is important to understand the potential consequences of a family violence charge.
  5. How can I find a qualified criminal defense attorney in Texas to represent me in a family violence case? You can search for qualified criminal defense attorneys in Texas through the State Bar of Texas or by asking for recommendations from trusted friends, family members, or legal professionals.

Conclusion

Family violence charges in Texas are a serious matter that can have significant impacts on an individual’s life. It is important to understand the law, the penalties, and the available resources for prevention and support. If you are facing a family violence charge or are a victim of family violence, seek legal assistance and support to protect your rights and ensure your safety.