If you have charges of domestic violence against you in the state of Texas, the consequences could be dire. Domestic violence charges will negatively impact both your personal and professional life. Having an understanding of domestic violence charges is important, so you can make informed decisions about how to proceed in your case.
Though domestic violence is not precisely defined in Texas law, the state penal code and family code both refer to relationship types that are used to help determine the exact charges regarding domestic violence, as well as the consequences that will befall you if you are convicted, which are numerous! The Texas Family Code (§ 71.004) refers to crimes of this type as “family violence” crimes, defining it as violence between spouses and/or against children and other blood relatives, and violence against former spouses and/or former members of a single household; it even includes violence between foster parents and children. Further, the code adds “dating violence” as a valid crime of this nature, and defines a ”dating relationship” as an association between two people who are currently involved or were previously involved romantically and/or intimately. There is no required timeframe for these definitions to be applied, so living in the home one single day, and one single date is often sufficient for prosecutors to charge.
It is also extremely important to recognize the offenses that are most commonly implicated in domestic violence cases in Texas. Specific crimes that are often associated with what is defined as family violence are acknowledged in the Texas Penal Code, even though domestic violence is not defined explicitly as an offense in and of itself. Examples of the main crimes most often involved in these cases include assault, strangulation, aggravated assault, sexual assault, stalking, harassment, interfering with a 911 call, terroristic threats, along with many others.
The Assault charge itself refers to physical/bodily injury and threats that cause an individual to fear imminent harm. It is usually categorized as a class A misdemeanor in Texas (though it might be designated as a third-degree felony depending on whether there is a continuing course of conduct or record of a previous family violence conviction in family or dating relationships). Aggravated assault differs from assault in that it refers to an attack with a deadly weapon, and/or resulting in serious bodily injury to the complainant. Aggravated assault is usually designated as a second-degree felony by law. Sexual assault involves coercion or forcible sexual intercourse, usually referred to as rape. While there are other associated crimes, these three types of assault are the most often documented in family violence cases.
A conviction for any case where a Court makes a “family violence” finding (one of the relationships described above) results in far more consequences than just probation or jail time. If you are ever accused again, regardless of how minor any injury may seem (a push or even a scrape), it is automatically a felony. A conviction means you are no longer allowed to legally own a firearm or ammunition, and that includes firearms solely used for hunting. A conviction counts as a “crime of moral turpitude,” meaning it can be used against you in other Court matters, even those not involving family violence. A conviction can and likely will affect your ability to get housing, loans, jobs and other normal day-in-day-out necessities. A conviction cannot be expunged, and prior convictions can be used against you even with the completion of a deferred probation resulting in a non-disclosure.
Contacting a qualified domestic violence attorney who will fight for your rights is your best course of action if you have been charged in the Austin, Texas area. The caring and competent team at Jarvis, Garcia, & Erskine Law understands Texas statutes regarding family violence. They can answer your questions about assault charges or any other charge related to your domestic violence case. For a free consultation and more information about the legal services available from the experienced, professional team at Jarvis, Garcia, & Erskine Law, contact them online or call 512-359-3030.