What Makes an Offense “Domestic?”
In Texas, domestic violence offenses are typically treated more seriously than other misdemeanor offenses. Those convicted of domestic assault will face additional fines, the loss of some rights, and trigger any future domestic violence arrests as felonies. It’s also essential to note that the offender doesn’t have to injure another person to be charged with domestic assault in Texas. A verbal threat alone can lead to a domestic violence charge.
What is Domestic Assault?
Domestic assault has the same elements as simple assault, except it’s a crime against certain people in the perpetrator’s life. The elements of simple assault in Texas include intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:
• Causing physical injury
• Threatening someone else with imminent bodily injury
• Causing physical contact with another person when they know or might reasonably believe that it could be offensive or provocative
What Makes an Assault Domestic?
Under Texas law, there is not a separate crime of domestic assault. What makes an assault domestic assault is the relationship between the parties. An assault may be considered domestic if the alleged perpetrator and victim are:
• Family members by blood, marriage, or adoption
• A foster child and parent
• A current or former spouse or girlfriend/boyfriend
• A parent of a child in common
• A person with whom the perpetrator has a romantic relationship
• Current or former co-residents
If applicable, the judge will make a finding of family violence and enter it into the record. If convicted, the offender will face increased penalties because the assault was domestic in nature. Consequences include jail time, fines, and community service. An assault causing an injury becomes a third-degree felony if the offender has any previous domestic assault convictions or the offense involved strangulation or suffocation. A conviction on this charge comes with two to ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Were You Charged with Family Violence in Texas
Keep in mind that just because you are charged with domestic violence doesn’t mean you will automatically be convicted. The experienced Fort Worth domestic violence lawyers at the Cofer Luster Law Firm can draft a defense to help your case. They may be able to get your charges dismissed or reduced so that you don’t face the consequences of a domestic violence conviction, including being banned from owning a firearm for five years and a potential protective order. Many Texas domestic assault cases rely only on an accusation from a spouse or girlfriend, with no witnesses to corroborate the account. Our attorneys might be able to challenge your accuser’s credibility by establishing a lack of physical injuries, a history of lying, or by arguing that the accuser is really the one who committed the domestic assault.
Contact us online or call 682-777-3336 to schedule a meeting with one of our experienced domestic assault defense lawyers today.