Domestic Violence In Texas
In This Article, You Will Discover…
- How Texas defines domestic violence,
- What potential charges accompany family violence, and
- When an arrest may be made for a domestic call.
How Does Texas Define Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is referred to as “family violence” in the Texas Family Code. In this legal context, family is defined as any members of the same household and related by blood. In addition, former spouses, parents of the same child, regardless of marital status, foster parents, and foster children are considered family. Another form of domestic violence is dating violence which occurs between individuals who have or have had a relationship.
The Texas Penal Code prohibits any act or behavior intended to or resulting in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, as well as threats that reasonably places the threatened party in fear of the aforementioned actions.
After An Arrest For Family Violence In Texas, What Potential Charges Might You Face?
Charges as a result of family violence vary from situation to situation.
For example, suppose it is a first offense, and the allegation is a mild physical altercation with a sibling. In that case, the charge may be Assault Causing Bodily Injury Family Violence, a Class A misdemeanor. If you have a prior, that will change the charge to a Third-Degree Assault Causing Bodily Injury Family Violence With Prior Conviction.
If you have been on deferred probation for a prior allegation, you can be charged with a third-degree felony even without a conviction.
If choking is alleged, it is an automatic Third-Degree Assault Causing Bodily Injury Family Violence Impeding Breath.
If a deadly weapon is alleged, it will likely be charged as Aggravated Assault With A Deadly Weapon, a second-degree felony.
Charges are also heightened when the victim is a child, elderly, or disabled person.
When Police Are Called To The Scene Of An Alleged Domestic Violence Incident In Texas, Is An Arrest Generally Made?
Arrests are commonly made when police are called to address domestic violence situations. Even with mutual contact or combat between non-disabled individuals, whomever the police deem to be the aggressor or less hurt of the two is typically arrested. Sometimes these charges are dropped; however, very rarely do domestic violence situations not lead to an arrest.
If An Alleged Victim Changes Their Story After Domestic Violence Related Charges Are Filed In Texas, Does That Mean The Charges Against Me Will Be Dropped?
While a victim changing their story after charges are filed should mean that the charges will be dropped, that is not necessarily the case. Cases can still go to trial even after a witness has changed their story multiple times.
Suppose someone who is an alleged victim believes that the police misreported the situation or does not wish for prosecution to occur. In that case, they can go to the DA’s office and file an Affidavit of Non-prosecution. The state may or may not drop the case in response.
Is An Order Of Protection Or A Restraining Order Automatically Put In Place When Someone Is Charged With A Domestic Violence Related Offense In Texas?
When an arrest is made for a family violence charge, the arresting officer will automatically apply for an Emergency Protective Order through the magistrate judge, which typically lasts 60 days but can last for 90 days. The Emergency Protective Order states that the arrested person is to have no contact with the alleged victim or the complaining witness.
Often, the complaining witness will reach out to the person charged with the crime, who thinks it is okay to talk to them since the complaining witness broke the restraining order first. That is a common misconception; there is no duty or burden on the protected person to stop communication with the person charged with the crime. However, if the person accused of the crime reaches back out, they could be charged with an additional charge of violating a protective order, so clients are advised not to take the bait as it will lead to further peril.
For more information on Domestic Violence Related Offenses In Texas, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (903) 865-3803 today.