Family Violence Crimes in Texas

Families often experience conflicts. While most arguments can get intense, they usually don’t lead to criminal acts. However, in abusive relationships, arguments can turn violent, and in severe cases, they may result in arrests.

Many people link family violence with physical harm, but Texas law recognizes various forms of abuse. This violent behavior can involve financial, sexual, psychological, and emotional mistreatment.

Understanding these categories is crucial because those facing accusations should be well informed to mount a strong defense against their charges. Knowledge is power when it comes to dealing with domestic abuse allegations.

Types of Family Violent Crime

Family Violence: Financial Abuse

Research shows that financial abuse is a crime rate in 99% of domestic violence cases. Financial abuse happens when an abusive partner takes control of your finances. Accusing someone of financial abuse is possible if they stop their partner from working or learning. When a couple shares resources, one partner might complain of financial abuse in a troubled relationship.

At the beginning of the relationship, abusers may pretend to be very romantic, promising financial security. This can make the victim believe they can trust their partner and willingly hand over control of the money. Over time, the abuser may limit the victim’s money, so the victim loses control over finances, family funds, and medical care. This often happens when the victim realizes it and wants to take back control.

Family Violence: Technological Abuse

Another type of abuse that has become more noticeable in recent times is technological abuse. Abusers use technology to control, harass, or scare you. They might use technology to carry out physical, sexual, psychological, or economic abuse.

For instance, they may send hurtful texts or messages on social media to bully or intimidate you. They could hack your phone, stalk you online, or use cameras to harm or control you and your children. Accusations of this kind of abuse are getting more common as texting and social media play bigger roles in people’s lives.

Family Violence: Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, means using non-physical actions to control, isolate, or scare you. This can include threats, harsh insults, constant surveillance, extreme jealousy, manipulation, and hurtful behaviors. Often, when another form of abuse is also involved, the accuser is more likely to press charges. Emotional abuse is challenging for accusers to prove on its own.

According to Texas law, if you threaten someone with violence, it qualifies as assault by threat. This offense can occur even if there is no physical harm involved. An accused person may have to deal with a civil lawsuit. The person who is suing can ask for money for the emotional harm caused by the defendant’s intentional actions. These actions caused distress.

Family Violence: Physical Abuse

In many cases of family violence, people often accuse each other of physical violence. According to the Texas Family Code, physical abuse includes actions like hitting, kicking, punching, or choking. It’s important to know that the actions don’t have to cause serious injuries requiring medical treatment. Even if the behavior doesn’t cause severe harm, authorities can still consider it family violence and press appropriate charges.

Family Violence: Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is not just limited to rape or sexual assault. It can also involve unwanted touching, forcing sex, or doing sexual things they don’t want to do.

Forcing a partner to have an abortion or preventing them from using birth control can also be considered sexual abuse.

Penalties and Charges for Family Violence in Texas

  • Assault can be a Class A misdemeanor with up to one year in jail and/or a $4,000 fine. For repeat offenses against family or household members, it becomes a third-degree felony, carrying up to ten years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.
  • Aggravated Assault is a severe form of assault with significant consequences. It involves causing serious bodily harm to a family or household member or using a deadly weapon during the assault. It is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to twenty years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Continuous Violence Against the Family is when someone commits family violence twice or more within a year. It is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to ten years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Violation of a Protective Order can result in a Class A misdemeanor or a third-degree felony, depending on prior convictions.
  • Stalking: Stalking a family or household member can be charged as a third-degree felony, carrying a sentence of two to ten years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Continuous Stalking: If a person commits stalking against a family or household member on two or more occasions within a twelve-month period, it is a third-degree felony.

Who are the Victims of Family Violence?

  • Current or former spouses
  • Parents of the same child
  • Foster child and parent
  • Relatives by blood, marriage, or adoption
  • Current or former co-residents
  • Current or former dating or romantic partners.
  • “Family members” include people who are related by blood or marriage, like siblings, parents, or cousins, and also include former spouses and foster parents with their foster children.
  • “Household” means people living together in the same house, even if they are not related by blood or marriage.
  • “Dating violence” is when people in a romantic or intimate relationship experience abusive behavior from their partner.

Arrested? Don’t Plea, Call Me!

If you’re dealing with domestic violence charges, it’s crucial to get help from a skilled assault lawyer. Hiring a criminal defense attorney can be very beneficial as they will offer important legal advice, support, and representation during your case.

An experienced criminal defense lawyer will carefully examine the details of your case, investigate the charges against you, and develop a strong defense strategy tailored to your unique situation. They will also negotiate with the prosecution on your behalf and fight to protect your rights and interests in the court proceedings. Having a knowledgeable attorney by your side can significantly improve your chances of achieving a favorable outcome in your case.