How Is Domestic Violence Defined In Texas?

Generally, it is defined as some type of assault. What makes it domestic violence is that there is some type of dating relationship between the parties, or some type of marriage and or family relationship between the parties.

Are Instances Of Domestic Violence A Common Occurrence In Divorce Cases?

Sometimes when the divorce has been filed, one party of the divorce is to gain some type of advantage in the divorce or in family court that will cause some type of domestic violence assault charge on the other party. For example, a wife or husband who has filed for divorce, one may be bitter or because they are trying to gain some type of custodial or financial advantage in court could cause assault charges just to be filed against the other party. If the family court believes that there is a criminal case concerning domestic violence that occurred during the marriage then very often that family court will have favorable rulings towards the alleged victim of the domestic violence.

How Serious Are Allegations Or Charges Of Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence charges are very serious. They are often called family violence crimes in the State of Texas. For example, I would see what is called a Class A assault and if that is between parties that are related or living in the same household, then family violence charges will be filed. Once a family violence charge has been filed in court then either the police office, prosecutor, the alleged victim can cause a magistrate protective order to be issued. That order can have different conditions on it, but the primary conditions on it would be that the alleged defendant cannot have any contact with the alleged victim in a harassing or threatening manner.

They cannot go to the place of work or employment of the alleged victim. They cannot go within a certain distance, usually two hundred feet of the residence of the alleged victim. If there are children involved they cannot go to the school or daycare where the children are during the day. This often causes problems, these emergency protective orders, since there is a relationship and that relationship makes it a domestic violence or a family assault, if there is an emergency protective order and it is telling the alleged defendant that they cannot go to the residence, they often live at the residence, so therefore it forces them to find a secondary place to live and sometimes that is cost prohibitive on people.

How Is A Domestic Violence Charge Determined To Be Either A Misdemeanor Or A Felony?

Generally, a Class A assault is filed in a domestic violence case and what is defined as a Class C assault is an assault that causes pain. Pain is just basically defined as what we think the pain would be defined as is it hurts someone. There does not have to be bruises, there does not have to be cuts and there does not have to be blood. For example, if someone hits someone in the stomach that is going to cause pain, but it is not necessarily going to leave a bruise or cause any type of bleeding.

So this would be considered a Class A assault. Class A assault is a misdemeanor. It is punishable by up to one year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine. If there is a choking that is alleged in the incident, that raises the assault to a felony. Therefore it is more serious. If someone has a previous conviction or they have received deferred probation for a family violence domestic assault and they are charged with a second family violence domestic assault, then that also raises it to a felony and both of those are felonies of the third degree which carry up to ten years in prison.

Does The Alleged Victim Have To Show An Injury For An Assault Charge To Be Made?

Not technically for a Class A assault. That just requires that the alleged victim experience pain and pain is not defined as that it has to last for a certain duration of time or that there has to be a visible mark or any type of blood or bruises for it to qualify as pain and therefore be filed as a class A assault.

Common Mistakes Committed By People in Domestic Violence Cases

I will often have a client that says “I talked to the police and I told them that I did place my hands on her neck or I did push her” something like that. That is a mistake talking to the police because you just admitted to the offense and basically made a confession that you committed the crime. Often people will delete certain things like Facebook accounts. They will delete text messages or they will block someone’s phone number. The person who is the alleged victim, they think that they are doing the correct thing by deleting their Facebook account or cancelling them as a friend on Facebook and therefore deleting previous text messages.

Often I can use those text messages, future emails or posts from Facebook to help my clients in their case. Very often if the allegations of assault did not occur, or did not occur to the extent or the extreme that the alleged victim alleges that they occurred. After time has passed of the charges being filed, the alleged victim will reach out to their loved one, husband, boyfriend, spouse, their family member and say I am sorry, it did not really happen, or it did not happen that way. Very often I can use those text messages and or Facebook posts to the benefit of my client.

For more information on Domestic Violence Charges in Texas, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (713) 228-1400 today.

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Houston Criminal Lawyer James Alston represents clients in the Houston area, including Pasadena, Sugar Land, Missouri City, Channelview, Conroe, Galveston, Angleton, Richmond, Rosenberg, Beaumont, Galveston County, Ft. Bend County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Harris County and Jefferson County in Texas.