Different Types of Family Violence

In Texas, the Family Code lays out what family violence means. It’s when someone in a family or household tries to hurt another person, either by physical actions or making them scared of getting hurt. The law doesn’t count as normal discipline for a child. Abuse, according to the law, can be physical harm that causes serious injury, sexual actions, or making a child do sexual things.

Domestic violence is a serious problem in Texas, just like it is across the country. This overview is here to help us understand the different aspects of domestic violence in the state. By knowing the various forms it can take, we can work together to make Texas a safer place for everyone.

Types of Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Assault

Domestic violence assault happens when someone, on purpose, with knowledge, or without caring, physically contacts a family or household member in a way that:

  1. can cause physical injury or simple assault
  2. The person doing it knows or should know it would make the other person upset or emotionally abused

In Texas, if it is claimed that you purposely or knowingly assaulted the victim, and that individual is a member of your family or household, or a recent or past intimate partner, then the consequences can be severe. According to Texas law, assault bodily injury is classified as a Class A misdemeanor. Consequently, this means you could be punished with up to one year in a Texas county jail and a fine of up to $4,000.

Aggravated Domestic Assault 

For a crime to be seen as an aggravated domestic violence case, it needs to result in physical violence to someone and/or include the use or showing of a dangerous weapon (like a gun, baseball bat, rope, or certain big knives). Additionally, “serious bodily injury” usually means things like broken bones, losing a limb, or injuries needing hospital care.

Any case of aggravated domestic assault is treated as a second-degree felony. Consequently, the person who committed it could be sentenced to 2 to 20 years in prison and fined $10,000.

If it involves a deadly weapon causing serious harm or death to the victim of domestic violence, the person accused of it is charged with a first-degree felony. This could lead to a sentence of 5 to 99 years or life in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Continuous Violence

Criminal charge of continuous violence in Texas arise when someone is accused of two domestic assaults within a 12-month period. This typically involves actions against someone with whom they have a domestic relationship. It’s crucial to note that the prosecutor must convincingly demonstrate that two separate assaults occurred. They must prove two separate instances where you intentionally or knowingly contacted the victim, causing physical harm or pain.

In situations involving continuous violence within a family, the defendants face a charge of a third-degree felony. Consequently, this means they could be sentenced to up to ten years in prison and be fined up to $10,000.

Recklessly Impede Breath Circulation

If there’s an accusation of  domestic violence with strangulation, the offense in Texas can be labeled as ‘Assault Family Member Household Member, Impede Breath Circulation’. Sometimes, a ‘mental state’ is included, such as ‘Assault Intentionally or Recklessly Impede Breath Circulation.’ Both titles mean the same thing: an assault involving choking or restricting someone’s ability to breathe, often using hands around the neck with pressure.

Assault Intentionally or Recklessly Impede Breath Circulation is an extremely serious form of physical abuse. Just the claim of “strangulation” automatically turns the assault into a 3rd Degree Felony. Furthermore, if there’s a previous assault, it could elevate the new Impede Breath Circulation Assault case to a 2nd Degree Felony.

Arrested? Don’t Plea, Call Me!

In the face of such serious domestic violence charges, having a skilled advocate by your side is not just advisable. It’s often the key to a fair and just resolution.

A criminal defense attorney acts as a guide through the legal intricacies, ensuring a thorough examination of evidence. Moreover, they craft a strategic defense tailored to the unique aspects of each case. With potential consequences ranging from fines to imprisonment, the stakes are high. A knowledgeable attorney not only safeguards your rights but also explores avenues for case dismissal. This involves leveraging legal tools like affidavits of non-prosecution and challenging witness credibility.