Texas lawmakers understand the risks domestic and family violence can pose to the victims, including the children who may witness it. Under the state’s family violence laws, they allow courts to issue protective orders for victims of domestic abuse or dating violence and mandate harsher penalties for those found guilty of family violence.
The legal definition of “family violence” is in TX Penal Code Ch 71.004. This section of the penal code outlines what types of violent crimes qualify as “family violence” and the relationships that must exist between the victim and the alleged abuser.
Understanding TX Penal Code Ch 71.004
For the purposes of defining a criminal act of family violence in Texas, TX Penal Code Ch 71.004 offers a list of possible relationships that qualify as well as a list of acts. The acts that constitute family violence include:
- Actions that threaten physical harm or bodily injury.
- Actions that put the victim in reasonable fear of imminent physical harm or bodily injury.
- Action intended to result in physical harm or bodily injury.
- Assault, aggravated assault, or sexual assault.
- Under TX Penal Code Ch 25, this could also include continuous violence against the family.
- Abuse of a child.
These actions may fall under the category of family violence when the victim and the perpetrator have a certain relationship. This could include situations when the perpetrator of the violent act is:
- The spouse of the victim
- The parent of a child victim
- Another member of the same family or household as the victim
- In a dating relationship with the victim
For the purposes of this law, the code defines a “dating relationship” as one that is or was ongoing and romantic or intimate in nature. The length of the relationship, the nature of the relationship, and the frequency and type of interactions between the pair all play a role in helping courts define “dating.”
It is important to note that there is an allowance for defensive acts under this definition. A person does not commit family violence when they take actions to defend themselves or their children during a domestic incident perpetrated by another person.
Potential Penalties for Family Violence in Texas
Because family violence can encompass several different crimes, the penalties can also vary widely. This ranges from a Class A misdemeanor to a first-degree felony. Under TX Penal Code Ch 12, possible legal consequences you could face following a conviction for a family violence crime include:
- Class A misdemeanor: Up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000
- 3rd-degree felony: Between 2 and 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- 2nd-degree felony: Between 2 and 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- 1st-degree felony: Between 5 and 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg Can Help You Fight Family Violence Accusations
Attorney Randall Isenberg and the team from the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg can help you fight accusations of family violence. We understand what it takes for prosecutors to build this type of case against you, and we can take aggressive action to dismantle their case.
Whether you acted in self-defense, the alleged victim falsely reported you, or the event was blown out of proportion, we can help you present your side of the story in court. We may be able to stop them from pressing charges, get your charges reduced, negotiate a plea agreement, or take other steps to get you a more favorable outcome in your case.
Randall Isenberg Has the Experience You Need on Your Side
With more than three decades of experience representing those accused of a crime in Texas, criminal defense lawyer Randall Isenberg knows how to approach your case. In fact, he knows the system inside and out because he is not only a criminal defense attorney but previously served as a prosecutor and state district judge.
Talk to a Texas Criminal Defense Attorney About Your Family Violence Case
If local law enforcement accuses you of committing a family violence crime, or if you already face charges in this matter, the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg may be able to help. We represent clients in Dallas-Fort Worth, TX and surrounding areas. Call us today at 214-696-9253 to discuss your family violence case with a member of our team and to learn more about our services.