What does it mean when you hear someone talking about family violence? How does it differ from domestic violence?
Short answer: it doesn’t. Not really. They’re essentially the same thing, just under a different name. However, Texas does also have a law called continuous violence against the family, and that is different.
We’re going to cover the laws and their associated penalties in this post.
Family and Domestic Violence Laws in Texas
There are three main types of family and domestic violence punishable by Texas laws:
- Domestic Assault
- Aggravated Domestic Assault
- Continuous Violence Against the Family
Let’s look at each one in detail.
An act of assault qualifies as domestic assault if it is committed against people certain types of relationships with the offender. These relationships include:
- Current or former dating partner
- Current or former spouse
- Household member
- Parents of the same child
- Foster parent or foster child
- Blood relative or person related by marriage or adoption
According to Texas law, domestic assault consists of the following acts:
“intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person;
intentionally or knowingly threatening another person with imminent bodily injury; or intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another that the offender knows or reasonably should know the victim will find provocative or offensive.”
A reckless act may not be committed with intent but causes bodily injury nevertheless. Provocative or offensive physical contact may not cause injury yet produces a sense of violation to the alleged victim.
Aggravated Domestic Assault
Aggravated domestic assault involves serious bodily injury or the use of a deadly weapon while carrying out the offense.
Serious bodily injury includes injuries such as fractures, serious head injury, loss of limbs, or any injury that requires hospitalization or surgery.
A deadly weapon is defined by Texas law as any object with the potential to cause serious bodily injury or death.
Continuous Violence Against the Family
An individual can be charged with continuous violence against the family for two domestic assaults in a span of 12 months. The acts need not have resulted in arrest or conviction, nor do they have to be committed against the same person.
Penalties for Domestic Violence in Texas
If an individual is a first-time offender for domestic assault, the charge is a class A misdemeanor. A conviction will result in a jail term of up to one year, a fine of no more than $4,000, or both.
If an individual is a repeat offender for domestic assault, the charge is a third degree felony. A conviction will result in a prison sentence of 2-10 years and a fine of no more than $10,000.
Continuous violence against the family is also a third degree felony.
If an individual is convicted for aggravated assault, the charge is a second degree felony. A conviction will result in a prison sentence of 2-20 years and a fine of no more than $10,000.
If the act of aggravated domestic assault involves the use of a deadly weapon and caused serious bodily injury, the charge is a first degree felony. A conviction will result in a prison sentence of 5-99 years and a fine of no more than $10,000.
Get Help for Texas Domestic Violence Charges
If you have been accused of these crimes, consult with a skilled Texas criminal attorney as soon as possible. We will build a strong defense against your charges. Call today for your free consultation.
About the Author:
Brandon Fulgham has an in-depth understanding of both Texas law and Texans themselves. Before practicing law here, he received his undergraduate degree from TCU, and his law degree from South Texas College of Law in Houston. After graduation, he worked in District Attorneys’ offices as a prosecutor, building cases designed to put people behind bars. Now, he uses that knowledge to protect the rights of people in and around Fort Worth, making sure they receive the strongest possible defense when they find themselves on the wrong side of the law. He has been recognized for his work by The National Trial Lawyers, Fort Worth Magazine, and others.