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Domestic Assault in Texas: Family Violence between Those Living in the Same Household
In Texas, domestic assault is a crime of violence that involves any kind of physical altercation. Otherwise known as “family violence,” these are cases of battery or assault between two spouses or two roommates or even a child who gets into a conflict with someone else who lives in the same place (home, apartment, dorm room, etc.).
Domestic Assault Family Violence Involves More than Husbands and Wives
Family violence and domestic assault charges can be brought against a husband (or wife) for violence against their spouse, but it can involve more than just husbands and wives. These crimes can be brought against people who are not married to each other: in Texas, this covers more than spousal abuse charges.
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Anyone who lives in the same household with someone else who gets into some kind of physical fight with them may face charges of family violence or domestic assault. Two college roommates who get into a brawl in their Dallas dorm room may find themselves facing charges of family violence, for example.
Family Violence – Domestic Assault: Texas Penal Code Assault Charges Covering More Situations
Under Texas law, there is no separate law for “domestic assault,” and the general statute for ‘assault’ is applied to domestic disputes. Texas Penal Code Chapter 22 deals with assault crimes, and it states that the police can arrest someone and charge them with “assault” if they:
(1) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse;
(2) intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person’s spouse; or
(3) intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.
That assault charge can be increased to a charge of “aggravated domestic assault” under Texas Penal Code Section 22.02 if there can also be shown that the defendant:
(1) caused serious bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse; or
(2) used or exhibited a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault.
The seriousness of these charges depends upon the situation. Someone who threatens bodily injury will face a small fine ($500) and a Class C misdemeanor conviction; however, someone who uses a “deadly weapon” and not only threatens but inflicts personal physical injury on their spouse or family member can face a fine of $10,000; a first degree felony conviction; and imprisonment of up to 99 years in a Texas state prison.
Family violence situations may also find Texas Penal Code Chapter 71 applying to their case. Under Texas Penal Code Section 71.0021, “dating violence” is given special treatment under the law and “family violence” has been defined by Section 71.004 as
(1) an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself;
(2) abuse, as that term is defined by Sections 261.001(1)(C), (E), and (G), by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household; or
(3) dating violence, as that term is defined by Section 71.0021.
Moreover, Texas law has been changed so that state district attorneys can now ask for a felony conviction in a domestic assault family violence case even if the defendant has never been convicted of domestic assault in the past. Today, Texas criminal defense lawyers must fight against a past history of allegations of family violence being “enhanced” to a felony charge under Texas Penal Code Section 25..11 even though the person has no past Domestic Family Violence conviction on their record.
Specific Laws Passed for Certain Family Violence Situations
Over time, the Texas Legislature passes more laws and recently, there has been the passage of a new domestic assault family violence statute (Texas Penal Code §§2.01(b)(2),22.01(b)(2)(b)) involving choking or attempting to strangle another person as identified in Texas Penal Code Sections 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005:
- People who are or have been in a marriage or dating relationship;
- Family which includes not only those closely related by consanguinity or affinity, but ex-spouses; parents to the same child; foster parents and foster children; and
- Roommates, those people who are not family but live in the same household which is written to include college dorm roommates.
Sexual abuse as a form of domestic assault family violence also gets special treatment by the Legislature. These types of domestic assault charges are found in Texas Penal Code Section 22.011.
Domestic Assault Family Violence Charges Cannot Be Removed From Your Record
In addition to the immediate sentencing and punishment that anyone facing domestic assault or family violence charges faces in Texas, there is an even longer-reaching problem with these kinds of charges. Domestic assault charges, even if the defendant receives deferred adjudication, legally stay on that person’s public criminal record forever. They cannot be removed. They cannot be expunged.
Which means that a romantic date that turned into an emotional battle resulting in physical blows for someone young, as young as 21 years old, if convicted of family violence domestic assault, will literally have that one event follow them on their record – through college, through military service, through job hunting, and more – forever.
Serious consequences from a quick event that can impact a lifetime: all the more reason to fight with an aggressive criminal defense to avoid a charge of domestic assault family violence conviction on your record, with an experienced Texas criminal defense lawyer at your side.
Would you like to know more about defending against Texas family violence domestic assault? Feel free to contact the Law Offices of Michael Lowe for more information and a free, initial consultation regarding your situation or that of your loved one.
Texas Family Violence / Domestic Assault Defense Lawyer
As a former prosecutor turned criminal defense lawyer with over 150 jury trials defending clients against charges brought by district attorneys and U.S. federal prosecutors in Dallas County, Tarrant County, and elsewhere in the State of Texas, Board Certified Criminal Lawyer Michael Lowe not only brings his years of experience to each case, he also dedicates 100% of his law practice to the defense of those being accused of a crime under Texas or federal law.
With a streamlined law firm that coordinates its efforts to give each client the personal attention that they need and deserve when fighting against the government and the possibility of jail time, fines, permanent marks on public records, prison incarceration, loss of licensure, loss of jobs, absence from family events and everyday living, Michael Lowe maintains an efficient and excellent criminal trial practice that is ready to help you or your loved ones in your defense against criminal charges from pre-arrest investigation to post-trial appeals.
To discuss your case in a free and completely confidential consultation, please contact Dallas Board Certified Criminal Lawyer Michael Lowe today.