According to the Texas Attorney General, someone in Texas can be charged with domestic violence if they committed a harmful act toward a family member, household member, or domestic partner. You may be charged with domestic violence if you acted in a way that resulted in the following toward someone you are dating, live with, or are related to:
- Physical harm
- Sexual assault
People Who Can Be Charged with Domestic Violence
As explained by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), you may be charged with domestic violence if you committed felony- or misdemeanor-level acts against people who fall into the following categories.
Domestic violence charges may be brought against you if you assaulted or otherwise hurt a family member. Texas defines a family member as someone related to you by blood or marriage.
These members could include:
- Spouses and former spouses
- The mother or father of your child
- Foster children
- Foster parents
If you hurt someone you live with, even if they are not related to you, you may be charged with domestic violence in Texas.
This could include a current or former romantic partner, even if you are not married, or a partner’s family members, roommates, or unrelated dependents.
You can be charged with domestic violence for assaulting your girlfriend, boyfriend, ex-wife, or ex-husband.
This form of domestic violence is commonly referred to as “dating violence.” It occurs when one person harms someone with whom they have an ongoing intimate or romantic relationship.
What is Considered Domestic Violence in Texas?
Domestic violence is considered an act that can result in physical harm or be defined as assault or sexual assault under Texas law.
Physical violence occurs when one person harms a domestic partner, household member, or family member, by hitting them, kicking them, or hurting them using another kind of force.
In order to be charged with domestic violence, physical harm had to have taken place. However, there is a difference between physical violence and assault.
In some cases, you may be charged with abuse if you are found to have emotionally or mentally scarred a household or family member by threatening to harm them.
According to Texas Penal Code §5.22.01, you could receive a domestic violence assault charge in Texas if you committed an offense that:
- Caused bodily injury to another
- Threatened bodily injury to another
- Caused physical contact to another that you know, or should know, would be offensive or unwelcome
To be considered assault, the court would have to prove that you intentionally, knowingly, or even recklessly committed the act.
You can be charged with sexual assault in Texas if you committed a sexual assault against a household member, family member, or romantic partner without their consent.
Sexual assault charges apply if the act was nonconsensual and involves:
- Penetration of another person’s anus or sex organ
- Penetration of another person’s mouth with your sex organ
- Causing another person’s sex organ or mouth to come into contact with your mouth or sex organ
Any sexual act with a child under the legal age is not consensual, can be considered a form of domestic violence, and can result in charges against you. This is true even if you are unaware of the child’s age at the time of the offense.
Charges for Domestic Violence in Texas
Charges for domestic violence in Texas may carry a number of different legal consequences depending on the type of offense, whether you have been charged with domestic violence before, and other factors.
Misdemeanor and Felony Charges
According to Texas Penal Code §5.22.01:
- Assault is typically a Class A misdemeanor charge.
- Sexual assault is a second-degree felony.
Texas Penal Code §§5.12.21 and 5.12.33, respectively, explain that these charges come with the following penalties:
- Class A misdemeanor: a fine up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail, or both
- Second-degree felony: prison time of two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000
Changes to One’s Permanent Record
In addition to the jail or prison time and fines, such changes could leave a mark on your permanent record and affect other aspects of your life as well.
Get Help from an Attorney If You are Being Charged with Domestic Violence in Texas
As a former senior chief felony prosecutor and state district trial judge with 30 years of experience, attorney Randy Isenberg knows what can lead to a domestic violence charge in Texas. He is ready to put his experience to work on your case.
Learn what a lawyer can do for you and explore your legal options today. Contact the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg at (214) 696-9253 now for your free consultation.