Anytime force is used in a domestic situation and results in bodily injury, threatens to cause bodily harm, or results in physical contact that another person may find offensive, it is called domestic violence. Texas domestic violence laws don’t just apply to spouses, but anyone residing in the same household. This may include foster parents, foster children, those in a dating relationship and more.
Who Can Domestic Violence Be Committed Against?
Violence committed against the following people is considered domestic violence:
- Child of a former or current spouse;
- A person with whom the offender has a child or children;
- A foster parent or foster child of the offender;
- A family member of the offender by adoption, blood, or marriage;
- Someone with whom the offender lives; or
- A person with whom the offender has had or currently has a dating or romantic relationship.
Crimes of Domestic Violence
The state of Texas recognizes three different crimes when it comes to domestic violence: continuous violence against a family, aggravated domestic assault, and domestic assault.
- Domestic assault – A person may be found guilty of domestic assault when they commit assault against one of the people as defined above. Assault consists of intentionally, recklessly, or knowingly causing bodily harm to another person, threatening to cause harm to another person, or causing physical contact that the offender knows the victim will find offensive or provocative. This is a Class A misdemeanor if there are no previous assault convictions, or a third-degree felony if there are past convictions. It is punishable by anywhere from a few months in jail to 10 years in prison and as much as a $10,000 fine.
- Aggravated domestic assault – If a person intentionally, recklessly, or knowingly causes serious physical harm to another person or uses or exhibits a deadly weapon when committing a domestic assault crime, this is considered aggravated domestic assault. Serious physical injuries include broken bones, disfigurement, serious head injury, loss of a limb, or injuries that require surgery or hospitalization. Deadly weapons may include large knives, firearms, rope, metal pipes, brass knuckles, motor vehicles, and many more. If there were no previous convictions, aggravated domestic assault is a first-degree felony, but may be considered a second-degree felony if there were other convictions. It is punishable by two years to life in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
- Continuous violence against the family – In addition to the above assault crimes, a person who commits continuous violence against a family, or two domestic assaults in a twelve-month period, can be convicted of continuous violence against a family. The assaults do not have to be committed against the same victim. This is considered a third-degree felony and is punishable by two to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
How an Experienced Attorney in Galveston or League City Can Help
It is easy to see why a person who is facing charges of domestic violence would need an attorney. An experienced Houston criminal defense attorney can help in reducing or dismissing the charges or penalties when the law permits. The attorneys at the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates have years of experience helping people who have been charged with domestic violence crimes. Contact or call them today at (281) 280-0100 to schedule a consultation to see how they can help you protect your rights.