Texas Domestic Violence FAQ
Those facing domestic violence charges in Texas likely have many questions. Fort Worth criminal defense attorneys at the Cofer Luster Law Firm are here to address your questions and concerns. Below are some of the most common questions we get asked about domestic violence charges.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a broad term that encompasses assaults that occur between household members, family members or people in a dating relationship. Domestic violence may be between individuals of consanguinity or affinity – by blood or marriage. Roommates, exes, and parents of the same child can be charged under these laws regardless of whether they are in an intimate-partner relationship.
What is Continuous Violence Against the Family?
Continuous violence against the family is defined by the Texas Penal Code as two or more acts of domestic violence, as described above, within a twelve-month period. A single incident of domestic violence assault as described above, where bodily injury was caused, is a Class A misdemeanor. More than one of those misdemeanor offenses within the specified period may cause the two misdemeanor charges to be combined into a single felony charge. That felony charge could carry a range of punishment of up to ten years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. This is true even though each separate offense would otherwise be charged as a single misdemeanor.
What is Assault Causing Bodily Injury to a Family Member with a Prior Conviction?
If a person has been previously convicted of the Class A misdemeanor domestic violence assault, in Texas or under a comparable law in another state, the misdemeanor assault causing bodily injury charge here may be upgraded to a felony. That felony could also carry a range of punishment up to ten years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. A single incident of domestic violence assault as described above, where bodily injury was caused, is a Class A misdemeanor.
Can Domestic Assault Charges be Dismissed?
It is possible. In fact, it happens with some frequency. Your Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer can present the prosecuting attorney with specific circumstances that could require a dismissal. Sometimes our Fort Worth criminal defense attorneys are able to convince the State of Texas to allow the offender to attend a domestic violence class in exchange for a dismissal of the charges.
Can the Domestic Violence Victim Drop the Charges?
Unfortunately, no. Only the prosecutor has the power to drop most criminal charges. If the alleged victim or complaining witness does not desire to pursue charges, your Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer can advise you regarding next steps.
What Happens if You Violate a Protective Order in Texas?
If you violate either a final protective order or an emergency protective order (EPO), you risk facing charges for a new and separate criminal offense. Violation of any protective order is typically classified as a Class A misdemeanor. If convicted, you could face up to a year in jail, a fine up to $4,000, or both.
If previously convicted of violating a protective order at least twice or violating a protective order by committing an offense of assault or stalking, the range of punishment could be up to ten years in prison and a fine of as much as $10,000.
Should You Contact a Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorney?
Anyone facing family violence charges in Texas should contact an experienced Fort Worth criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. The sooner you have legal representation, the better. Contact the Cofer Luster Law Firm to book a case consultation today. You can contact us online or call us at 682-777-3336.