What is Family Violence?

Family violence is “violence that occurs between family members, within households, or between dating partners,” according to the Attorney General of Texas. Family can mean those related by marriage or blood, foster children and foster parents, and people who co-parent. 

Households refer to those living in the same home, whether they are related or not. Dating violence refers to violence that occurs between two people who are in a relationship but not married.

Family violence may also be referred to as domestic violence. Domestic violence statistics are staggering and involve several age groups, all races, and income levels. While many think that domestic violence often occurs in marriages, as noted above, violence between roommates, co-parents, and more can be considered domestic.

What Is the Punishment for Family Violence in Texas?

If you are a first-time offender, the charges may result in a fine of up to $4,000 and up to one year in jail if found guilty. Most first-time offenses will result in a misdemeanor unless there are aggravating factors, such as a deadly weapon being used during the violence or if serious bodily injury resulted from the violence. Serious bodily injury can include severe head trauma, loss of limb, or other various injuries that may need significant medical attention.

Family violence can result in felony charges if the alleged is a repeat offender. If this is the case, the punishment can result in up to a $10,000 fine and up to ten years in prison.

When is Family Violence Considered a Felony?

If the violence occurred against a family member, the courts may decide your punishment should reflect a second-degree felony, which can result in up to twenty years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

First-degree felonies are the most serious and can result if the violence includes family members and the offender used a deadly weapon or inflicted serious bodily injury. First-degree felonies can result in up to 99 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

How Does a Family/Domestic Violence Charge Affect You?

Aside from the jail time and fines that you will likely be punished with, there are many other inconveniences to consider if you have a domestic or family violence charge on your record.

Owning firearms – you may not be legally able to own firearms in the future, depending on the level of your charges. In most cases, even with a misdemeanor charge, you can lose your right to own a gun in Texas.

Employment Eligibility – another frustration you may encounter is limiting your employment opportunities due to the charges. Convictions are public records, and employers will typically review any past criminal history before scheduling an interview or hiring you.

Parental Rights – your parental rights may be affected if you have a criminal history involving domestic violence. Courts may revoke your visitation or custody of your children depending on the severity of the charges and circumstances surrounding them.

Housing – another aspect to consider is securing housing may be an issue. Landlords, like employers, will want to review your criminal history to determine whether or not you would be an excellent candidate to rent from them. If they see family violence charges, they may choose not to rent to you.

In some cases, eligibility for loans moving forward can be affected by misdemeanor or felony charges. So, if you are struggling to find a place to rent and decide to buy a home, you may also run into a roadblock. Speak with your attorney to help understand what options may be available to you upon your release.

Is There Any Viable Defense to Family Violence Charges?

Texas takes family violence very seriously and being convicted of charges can mean life-altering circumstances for you.

What if you are innocent? Texas law stipulates that violence was intentional, that you knowingly committed the act, or that it was incredibly reckless. For example, if the incident was an accident that can’t be proven otherwise, you may have a viable defense to the charges.

What if the incident was due to self-defense? It’s not rare to wind up with domestic charges against you as a result of defending yourself from a family member’s actions. If your brother attacks you and you try to defend yourself, and in the meantime, they get hurt, you may have a self-defense approach to the charges and may be able to avoid conviction.

In some cases, the victim is not telling the truth or elaborating details regarding the incident. A good attorney with vast experience in these charges can be invaluable in fighting unwarranted charges.

Arm Yourself With a Capable Professional

There is an abundance of attorneys who can help you with family violence questions or charges. What makes us stand out is our desire to help all clients through a trying or scary time by being both compassionate and capable. We are patient and resourceful, and aggressive when necessary to help you avoid unfounded charges and keep your future intact.

With years of experience and having helped many clients and their families overcome serious charges, we are confident we can help you, too.

Contact our office today at (254) 274-2227 to schedule your custom strategy session. It’s not the cookie-cutter approach that many firms take, and in fact up to thirty minutes of face-to-face session may be in order, which we will help determine.