Family and domestic abuse is a common problem and affects 10 million people in the United States each year, according to the publication Domestic Violence. In Texas, a domestic violence violation conviction can result in a permanent criminal record and may limit your future opportunities in your career, housing, and other aspects of your life.
If you have been accused of a family or domestic abuse crime in Desoto, a domestic abuse lawyer from our firm can advise you of your rights and help you understand your options.
Domestic Violence Laws in Texas
There is no specific domestic violence statute in Texas, so family and domestic violence fall under Texas assault statutes (Texas Penal Code § 22.01). However, additional penalties and restrictions may be issued when the assault is committed against a family member, household member, or those in a dating relationship. In Texas, simple assault occurs when a person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:
- Threatens another person with bodily injury,
- Causes bodily injury to another person, or
- Causes physical contact with another person knowing, or reasonably should have known, the person would find it offensive.
Aggravated assault occurs when a person commits simple assault and also:
- Causes serious bodily injury to another person, or
- Uses a deadly weapon during the assault
Additionally, the alleged abuser and alleged victim’s relationship can increase the classification of the crime from a misdemeanor to a felony or raise the degree of a felony charge. In Texas, the following are considered family or household members:
- Two people related by marriage or blood
- Two people who are married or were formerly married
- Two people who have a child together
- Foster children and foster parents
- Two people currently dating or who were formerly dating
Definition of Family Violence Laws in Texas
According to Texas Family Code § 71.004, family violence is an act against a family member intended to cause harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault. Family violence can also include threats that put the other family member in fear of injury, harm, or assault.
What is Considered Household Member Violence?
Texas Family Code § 71.005 states that household member violence occurs when a violent act is committed against someone who lives in the same dwelling, regardless of the two individuals’ relationship. Household member violence can also include acts committed against someone who previously lived in the household.
For a free legal consultation with a Domestic Abuse Lawyer serving DeSoto, call (214) 696-9253
Dating Violence is Considered Domestic Abuse in Texas
Texas Family Code § 71.0021 defines dating violence as an act against a victim or applicant for a protective order with whom the defendant has or had a dating relationship. Dating violence also includes marriage and any current or past relationships. Dating relationships also include any individuals who have or have had a romantic or intimate relationship.
Protective Orders in DeSoto Domestic Violence Cases
If a victim of domestic violence makes an accusation that meets the Texas Family Code’s definition of family violence, they may seek an Emergency Protective Order (EPO) against the accused. An EPO hearing will take place, which the defendant will not be able to attend. An EPO can last for 90 days and is often issued following the arrest of the accused.
Victims may also request protective orders that last longer than 90 days. These types of protective orders require a hearing to be scheduled, which the defendant will be given notice of, along with the opportunity to contest the protective order.
At a hearing for a protective order, you can be represented by a Desoto domestic abuse attorney from our firm who will advocate on your behalf.
Domestic Violence Penalties in Texas
In Texas, penalties for domestic violence can include protective orders and other collateral penalties, like losing the ability to carry a firearm. Penalties for domestic violence can depend on several factors, including if the victim was seriously injured and if the defendant has a prior criminal history. The punishment will also depend on the classification of the offense:
- First-degree felony: Prison time of 5 to 99 years or life sentence, and a fine of up to $10,000
- Second-degree felony: Prison time of 2 to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000
- Third-degree felony: Prison time of 2 to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000
- Class A misdemeanor: Jail time of up to a year, and a fine of up to $4,000
- Class B misdemeanor: Jail time of up to 180 days and a fine of up to $2,000
- Class C misdemeanor: Fine of up to $500
Texas’ No Drop Policy May Affect Your Case
In Texas, if domestic violence occurs and the claimant later decides they do not want to press charges, prosecutors in Desoto will still proceed with the case. The Dallas County district attorney has a “No Drop” policy for domestic assault cases, meaning the prosecutor will pursue the case even if the victim no longer wishes to press charges.
You have an option if you wish to convince the Dallas County prosecutor to drop the case and if you and your loved one have reconciled. Our domestic abuse lawyer serving Desoto combined with an Affidavit of Non-Prosecution can be convincing to the judge when considering your case.
How Our Domestic Abuse Attorney Can Help You
After being arrested for domestic violence, the case is out of your hands whether the victim decides to press charges or not. It can be beneficial to consult with our domestic violence lawyer who can:
- Advocate on your behalf
- Help you understand your rights and options in a domestic abuse case
- Guide you through the complex criminal justice process
- Gather necessary evidence to provide the prosecutor in order to negotiate your charges or stop charges from being filed,
- Represent you in court hearings
- File necessary documents and keep up with important deadlines
- Protect your rights and make sure your voice is heard
Contact the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg Today
The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg will help you understand your options when facing a domestic violence charge. We will advocate on your behalf and keep you informed throughout the legal process. Call (214) 696-9253 today for your free consultation.