Defining Dating Violence in Texas

Dating violence is considered a domestic assault in Texas, like in many other parts of the United States, and is a serious and concerning issue that affects individuals of all ages and backgrounds. Defending individuals accused of dating violence in Texas requires a deep understanding of both the legal complexities and the sensitivity of the issue. Effective representation involves a thorough investigation, legal expertise, and a commitment to protecting the rights of the accused while respecting the legal processes in place to address dating violence.

What is Dating Violence?

Dating violence, which is also called Texas domestic violence or dating abuse, means when one person hurts another person they’re in a continuing relationship, used to date, or are in a close relationship with. This hurt can be physical violence, sexual, through words, or by making the other person feel bad about themselves.

It happens in all sorts of relationships, like between people of the same sex, people of different sexes, or when the gender isn’t important. It doesn’t need to involve having a sexual relationship. Anyone can be a victim or do this hurt, no matter how old they are, what they look like, their gender, who they’re attracted to, or what they believe in. People from different backgrounds and with different amounts of money can all experience this kind of hurt.

A dating relationship is when two people have been romantically involved with each other at some point, and a judge will look at a few things to decide if it’s a dating relationship:

  1. How long it has been going on: They’ll see how long the relationship has lasted.
  2. What kind of relationship it is: They will verify whether it’s amorous or personal.
  3. How often and what they do together: They’ll consider how much time the people spend together and what they do when they’re together.

Dating Relationship Under Texas Criminal Law

The Texas Family Code 71.0021, called “Dating Violence,” is a law made by the Texas government to deal with domestic violence in relationships that aren’t marriages. “Dating violence” means one person hurting another on purpose. But if someone is defending themselves, it’s not called dating violence. This law is there to keep people safe in dating relationships and has rules to deal with dating violence cases.

“Dating Relationship violence” refers to an act committed by an actor that is not in self-defense.

Applicability: The law applies when an individual commits an act of violence against an alleged victim or someone seeking a protective order. The person involved must fall into one of these categories:

(A) Someone with whom the actor (the person committing the act) is or has been in a romantic relationship.

(B) This includes someone who’s married to or dating a person with whom the one doing it has been in a dating or marriage relationship.

Nature of the Act: The person doing it has to mean to hurt someone physically, cause injury, or engage in assault or sexual assault. It can also include threats that make the victim reasonably fear imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault.

The following are examples of dating violence behaviors:

  • Physical Abuse: This means physically hurting someone, like hitting, choking, slapping, or beating them.
  • Sexual Violence: It’s when someone forces another person to do sexual things they don’t want to do using pressure, tricks, or force. It can also involve sending explicit pictures without permission.
  • Emotional Abuse: This includes making the other person feel bad through mean words, threats, isolation from friends, and jealousy. It can also involve mocking them or trying to control their appearance.
  • Stalking: Stalking involves following someone, sending numerous messages, damaging property, and closely monitoring their activities. This can include showing up at their home, school, or workplace without permission.
  • Financial Control: This is when someone takes their belongings or interferes with their work. Making it difficult for them to have money or a job.

Punishment for Dating Violence in Texas 

Class C Misdemeanor:  This is the lightest one, usually for smaller stuff like threats and such. You may be required to pay a fine of up to $500.

Class A Misdemeanor: More serious cases of dating violence may be charged as a Class A misdemeanor. Which can lead to up to one year in county jail and a fine of up to $4,000.

Third-Degree Felony: In cases involving aggravated assault or severe harm. Conviction can lead to 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Second-Degree Felony: In very severe cases, such as those involving a deadly weapon. Resulting in 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

First-Degree Felony: If the dating violence offense results in serious injury or death. Carrying a prison sentence ranging from 5 years to life and a fine of up to $10,000.

Arrested? Don’t Plea, Call Me!

Sexual assault is a very serious crime that can change your life in a big way. If facing date violence charges, consult an experienced lawyer promptly. Rape accusations are frightening, especially when you believed everything was fine. Not being aware of the other person’s unwillingness or intoxication will not cause the charges to vanish. Texas Criminal Defense Group can help you build a strong defense without giving more evidence to the prosecutor. If facing sex offense charges, contact us immediately to protect your rights and explore your legal options.