The penalties you can receive for domestic violence charges in Texas depend on a few factors, including the type of violence and whether it was the first offense. In general, domestic violence can result in the following possible penalties:
- Jail or prison time
- Misdemeanor or felony charges
- Changes to your permanent, criminal record
- Restrictions to your lifestyle that result from a conviction on your record
Penalties for Different Types of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence occurs when one person commits an act that results in physical harm toward a family member, partner, or another household member.
When that physical harm qualifies as assault or sexual assault, you may receive charges and face the resulting penalties for the offense.
Penalties for Assault Charges
If you caused or threatened bodily harm to a partner, family member, or household member, you may be charged with assault, according to the Texas Penal Code §5.22.01. Assault charges can also result if you committed an offense that you knew would be considered offensive or unwelcome by the other party.
In the state of Texas, assault usually carries a Class A misdemeanor charge. Class A misdemeanors may result in the following penalties, according to Texas Penal Code §5.12.21:
- A fine of not more than $4,000
- Jail time of not more than 1 year
- Both a fine and jail time
Penalties for Sexual Assault Charges
Sexual assault of someone in your household is also considered domestic violence in Texas and carries much stricter charges.
A person charged with sexual assault in Texas typically receives a second-degree felony. This charge may result in the following penalties, according to Texas Penal Code 5.12.33:
- Prison time of no less than 2 years and no more than 20 years
- A fine of no more than $10,000
Who Can Be Charged with Domestic Violence?
You may be charged with domestic violence in Texas if you committed an act that could be considered harmful or threatening toward members of your household or former household. This includes children, intimate partners, other family members, and other dependents, according to the Office of the Attorney General.
You do not have to be married to your partner to be charged with domestic assault, and “family member” can refer to:
- Relatives who are blood relations or related by marriage
- Your child’s other parent
- Foster children
- Foster parents
Other Consequences of Domestic Violence Charges
In addition to receiving a criminal record, possible jail or prison time, and fines, you may experience other long-term consequences, depending on your individual charges.
Penalties That Affect Everyday Life
Some possible long-term penalties for those charged with domestic violence in Texas include:
- Losing the right to legally hunt
- Losing the right to legally fish
- Losing the right to bear arms (owning or possessing firearms)
Penalties That Affect Your Career and Family
Having a felony charge could mean you lose your job and can affect your ability to obtain future employment. This could mean a change in career and other employment barriers.
If you are going through a divorce, having domestic violence charges could also mean you see effects to custody arrangements, such as losing the right to see your child unsupervised.
Your Legal Options if You Have Been Charged with Domestic Violence
What will happen after you are charged with domestic violence will depend on your individual circumstances.
Affidavit of Non-Prosecution
If your spouse, partner, or other family member does not want charges brought against you, they may be able to file an affidavit of non-prosecution.
This form persuades the prosecutor to stop the charges. However, a prosecutor can choose to ignore this affidavit, regardless of the person’s wishes.
The prosecutor may consider such factors as whether this was your first offense, if you have a previous criminal record associated with violence, and other related factors.
Getting Help from a Texas Domestic Violence Lawyer
Because there is no guarantee that charges brought against you will be dropped, it may be in your best interest to seek help from a lawyer.
A Texas domestic violence lawyer can explain your charges, your possible penalties, and your legal rights and provide you with information on your legal options.
If you work with a lawyer, they can gather evidence to help you work toward the best possible outcome by building a strong defense.
Find Help for Domestic Violence Charges in Texas with an Attorney
A domestic violence charge does not have to define the rest of your life, even if it results in penalties. Consider working with a domestic violence lawyer in Texas to learn what steps you can take after being charged.
Call the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today at (214) 696-9253 for your free consultation and to get started on your case.