If you’re facing a domestic assault, family violence, or related charge in Texas, you should not take these allegations lightly, even if they are false or unjustified. Instead, we urge you to hire a Corinth domestic violence lawyer who will aggressively fight for your legal rights, reputation, and most of all, freedom.
Domestic assault or family violence accusations need to be aggressively challenged. Our team at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg will defend you against criminal charges using proven legal strategies backed by experience and a track record of favorable results. At Randall B. Isenberg, we protect your rights and do everything we can to help you experience a favorable outcome.
What Is Domestic Assault or Family Violence in Texas?
Family violence offenses include domestic assault, dating violence, and child abuse. It is defined as the deliberate actions by a family or household member toward another family or household member that results in physical harm or assault, bodily injury, or sexual assault.
Under Tex. Fam. Code § 71.004, family violence means an action taken by a family or household member against another such member intended to result in physical harm or sexual assault. It also includes threats that place the member in fear of imminent physical harm or sexual assault. Finally, abuse by a family or household member toward a child is also considered family violence.
What Is a Family Member?
Legally, a family member (Tex. Fam. Code § 71.003) is any person related to another by blood, marriage, adoption, or a former spouse or co-parent of a shared child. Also included are stepparents and foster parents. A household member is an individual who currently or formerly resided in the same residence as the offender, such as any non-related roommates.
What Is Dating Violence?
Dating violence (Tex. Fam. Code § 71.0021) is another example of domestic violence. It is defined as an intentional act that results in bodily harm committed by one person against another with whom they are currently or formerly in a dating or romantic relationship.
Domestic Violence Penalties
Legal penalties for domestic violence in Texas include the following:
- If an alleged victim did not suffer physical harm or lasting injuries, a first-time offense is a Class C misdemeanor and punishable by a $500 fine.
- If physical injury or mild pain was experienced by the accuser, such as a slap, the offender could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
- If a defendant has prior family violence-related convictions, they could face a third-degree felony charge punishable by 2-10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
In addition, a first-offense domestic assault involving strangulation or suffocation is also a third-degree felony, and subsequent convictions are second-degree felonies punishable by 2-20 years in prison.
What Is Aggravated Domestic Assault?
Assaultive actions that cause the victim serious bodily injury or were committed while exhibiting or using a deadly weapon are referred to as aggravated domestic assaults and are second-degree felonies. If both circumstances coincide, the accused can be charged with a first-degree felony punishable by 5-99 years to life in prison and a $10,000 fine.
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What Is Continuous Family Violence?
Concerning continuous family violence, defendants already arrested twice for domestic assaults will be charged with a third-degree felony if they are arrested a third time. Penalties include 2-10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Establishing a Defense Strategy
Two of the most common defense strategies attorneys use in domestic violence cases involve (1) demonstrating that the alleged victim’s accusations are false and (2) asserting self-defense or defense of another.
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Fighting Against False Accusations
One of the most disturbing aspects of a domestic violence allegation is that the incident reported may not have even occurred. Unfortunately, false claims of assault or abuse are not uncommon when an angry significant other or spouse has a motive, such as a child custody battle, to have someone accused, arrested, and charged with a serious crime.
The sad truth is that law enforcement will often take a person into custody based on the alleged victim’s word when responding to a domestic disturbance call, even if there is seemingly no proof to back up their allegations. An attorney will immediately see if photographic and medical evidence is available that supports the accuser’s story. If not, the case may be dismissed due to insufficient evidence, or a jury may be reluctant to hold you accountable for any wrongdoing.
The alleged victim’s own statements can also undermine a false accusation. For example, they may tell the police one story and then significantly change details when recounting the same event later. Therefore, you should always seek potential eyewitnesses to the event in question who can support your assertion that you did not commit domestic violence. If you were not even present when the alleged assault occurred, you might know another person who can provide you with an alibi.
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Texas Penal Code § 9.31 states that a person is justified in using an appropriate amount of force against another individual when they have reason to believe the action is necessary to protect them against the other individual’s unlawful force. So, if, for example, a family member pushes you first and you shove them away from you, you have a solid self-defense argument if that member accuses you of assault.
Using appropriate force to protect another individual may also be justified if you had reason to believe you would have needed to defend yourself if you were the person being assaulted. However, regardless of who you were protecting, you cannot claim self-defense if you provoked or escalated the assaultive event. Therefore, you should be completely honest with your legal counsel about whether your reaction to the accuser’s use of force was reasonable and immediately necessary.
Remember, an Allegation Is Not a Conviction
Every day throughout the state, Texans are being unfairly accused of a crime they didn’t commit. For example, accusers may falsely claim spouses or co-parents are guilty of family violence because they seek to gain leverage in divorce proceedings or custody battles. Unfortunately, these allegations can indefinitely compromise the freedom and reputation of the accused.
Consult With a Corinth Domestic Violence Lawyer Today
Don’t let a domestic violence charge or conviction ruin your life. Instead, please seek help from a defense attorney from the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg. Contact us today to schedule a free and confidential case review. Discover how our legal professionals can offer you the support and advocacy you deserve and fight for you throughout the criminal justice process.
Call or text (214) 696-9253 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form