Domestic assault is a grave offense in Texas, carrying legal and social ramifications. As such, understanding what you’re facing when charged with domestic violence is essential to preparing yourself. The following blog explores what you must know about this criminal offense while explaining why you need Houston family violence defense attorneys to help you through this process. Whether you make a mistake from a momentary lapse of judgment or you’re entirely innocent, hiring competent legal defense is vital.
What Constitutes Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence, also called family violence, occurs when a spouse, intimate partner, or family member commits violence against another person in their household.
Though many only think about violence between romantic partners as instances of domestic violence, any member of a household who commits an act of violence against another member of the home constitutes domestic abuse.
Acts of domestic violence include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Physical violence (kicking, slapping, punching, shaking, biting, etc.)
- Child abuse
- Sexual assault
- Violations of protective orders
Does Texas Charge This Offense as a Felony?
The circumstances of the case will determine how this offense is charged. In some instances, you will find that a first-time offense will warrant a misdemeanor charge. Though less intense than a felony, it still comes with up to a year in jail and a fine of $4,000.
However, those with previous domestic violence convictions or whose first offense involved suffocation or strangulation will face a third-degree felony. Depending on the circumstances of the case, a felony domestic assault charge will carry two to ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Aggravated domestic assault involving serious bodily injury or use of a deadly weapon is a first-degree felony in Texas, which warrants between five and ninety-nine years in prison. Other forms of aggravated domestic violence are considered second-degree felonies, which warrant two to twenty years in prison.
Are There Any Possible Defenses?
If you are facing a felony domestic abuse charge, understanding the possible defenses you can use is vital. Many domestic violence situations are “He said, she said,” which can make it challenging to uncover the truth about the situation. However, there are instances where you can prove your innocence.
For example, if the accuser said you hit them at a specific time, you may be able to provide an alibi for your whereabouts that proves you couldn’t have committed the crime. On the other hand, you may be able to prove that you are actually the victim in the situation and that your accuser was the aggressor.
At the Gonzales Law Group, we believe everyone is entitled to a competent legal team. We will work tirelessly to examine the factors surrounding your case to help you achieve the best possible outcome for your situation. Reach out today to get started.