Domestic violence is a serious issue affecting individuals across the country, including many right here in Texas. As October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it seems appropriate to discuss what domestic violence is, who it can affect and what criminal penalties may be associated with accusations of this type of behavior. The state of Texas does have some strict laws regarding domestic violence that include harsh penalties for convicted offenders.
Domestic violence is typically defined as any act that takes place in a domestic situation that causes or threatens bodily harm, or the occurrence of any physical contact that is considered provocative or offensive. To qualify as domestic violence, these acts must be performed intentionally or occur as the result of reckless behavior. What differentiates domestic violence from a basic assault charge is the relationship between the supposed offender and the victim. Physical altercations between spouses, relatives — such as children or parents — and non-married couples could qualify as domestic violence.
The penalties associated with this type of charge can vary. A basic domestic violence charge is typically considered a Class C misdemeanor, and the penalty at this level is a fine of up to $500. Those offenses that are considered more severe may result in a felony charge, and a conviction could result in prison time, ranging from two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Just as domestic violence can have a dramatic impact on relationships, the criminal consequences of these actions can hurt those accused of such behavior both personally and professionally. While Texas does have domestic violence laws in place to offer protection to victims, those facing criminal charges of domestic violence are also guaranteed certain rights, including the right to defend themselves. A variety of defense strategies may be available to help those accused of this type of activity seek the best possible outcome for the situation at hand.
Source: FindLaw, “Texas Domestic Violence Laws“, , Oct. 5, 2014