In some cases, the circumstances of what occurred could make domestic violence a felony in Dallas. The courts do not always charge family violence incidents as felonies, but this is a possibility.
If you believe you will face this type of charge in Dallas, you should consider hiring a domestic violence criminal defense attorney as early on as possible. They may be able to help you reduce the severity of the charges you face, present evidence to prevent charges, or take other steps to get a better outcome for you.
Possible Charges Related to Domestic Violence in Dallas
In general, the potential charges stemming from a family violence arrest could range from a Class C misdemeanor to a first-degree felony. The details of what happened and the injuries suffered, if any, will determine the possible punishment if you are convicted of the crime. These penalties could vary from fines to community supervision to incarceration.
Under Penal Code Chapter 22, there are four possible criminal charges that generally arise out of a domestic violence situation and arrest. Which of these four crimes they accuse you of committing will play a significant role in the severity of the charges you could face.
Domestic Violence Assault
When an assault occurs between two people with a familial or household relationship, the aggressor could face charges of domestic violence assault. This could occur when one party causes another to suffer bodily injury or when they threaten to do so because of their intentional actions or recklessness.
This is generally charged as a misdemeanor. It may be a Class A misdemeanor if a bodily injury occurred. Jail time and a fine are possible.
Aggravated Domestic Violence Assault
When a serious bodily injury occurs, or a weapon is used, the charges may include aggravated domestic assault. In some cases, you could face this type of charge if the victim claims you threatened bodily harm with a weapon or had access to a weapon. These are felony charges. The penalties for the most serious aggravated domestic violence assault charges include life in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Domestic Violence Assault Bodily Injury—Impeding Breath
This is sometimes referred to as “assault by choking,” although there are other ways an aggressor could impede breath that might also call for this type of charge. When one party intentionally hinders or stops the breathing of another person in their family or household, this could be the charge they face. This is a felony charge. A conviction could come with at least two years in prison and significant fines.
Continuous Domestic Violence
If there are ongoing issues with the aggressor and the victim or the aggressor is convicted and faces additional arrests, they could face allegations of continuous domestic violence. This includes at least two domestic violence incidents within a single 12-month period. This is a felony charge. Significant fines and prison time could occur if convicted.
What Is Domestic and Family Violence Under Texas Law?
Under Texas Family Code § 71.004, domestic violence occurs when any of the following happens between two or more people who have a family or household connection:
- Any act “intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault”
- Any threat that “reasonably places the member in fear” of physical harm
- Child abuse
- Dating violence between partners, per Texas Family Code § 71.0021
While anyone can be a victim of assault, threats, or abuse, the police and courts take these situations more seriously when there is a domestic or family relationship between the parties. The relationships that may support domestic abuse charges include:
- Are family members by blood or adoption
- Are or were legally married
- Are or were romantic partners
- Live in the same household regardless of relation
- Share a child or have a relationship through a child, such as a step-parent
- Are in-laws
What Should I Do If I Am Accused of a Dallas Domestic Violence Action?
If you were arrested or face allegations of a family violence act, we encourage you to speak with a Dallas criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Your lawyer will assess your options and explain the possible outcomes of your case. This conversation may include information about:
- The circumstances of your arrest and facts of your case
- The possible defenses
- Any applicable sentencing guidelines
- The potential consequences if convicted
A lawyer may be able to help you get a better outcome in your case than you could get on your own. Having an attorney on your side could help you avoid charges, reduce your charges, or avoid a conviction.
Time is of the essence, however. There are certain time frames, called statutes of limitations, that determine the amount of time you have to file your case. Depending on what type of charge you get, you will need a lawyer working on your case right away before time runs out.
Connect With Our Team Today
The team from the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg can talk to you about your case today. We may be able to go to work for you immediately, fighting for a more positive outcome from this difficult and stressful situation. Reach out now to get started with a free consultation.