Police are called in Texas to handle domestic violence situations. They typically arrest someone and take that person out of the environment to diffuse the situation. It doesn’t matter who called the police. An arrest is likely to take place. The Houston assault lawyers of Lisa Shapiro Strauss Attorney at Law can help. Contact our Houston domestic violence lawyer for a free initial consultation. We represent clients that are accused of domestic violence.
Under State Law, if you are convicted of one assault family violence charge, your second charge may be filed as a third-degree felony. If you were arrested for domestic violence, it doesn’t always mean you have committed a crime.
What is the Definition of Family / Domestic Violence Under Texas Law?
Domestic Violence does not have a specific statute under Texas law. These charges often involve offenses that are listed under Title 5, Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code. One of the definitions of assault in Sec. 22.01 states that assault is when (a) A person commits an offense if the person:
- intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse;
- intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person’s spouse;
In the Texas Family Code: Title 4, Subtitle A, Chapter 71, Sec. 71.004. “Family violence” means:
- an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself;
- abuse, as that term is defined by Sections 261.001(1)(C), (E), (G), (H), (I), (J), (K), and (M), by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household; or
- dating violence, as that term is defined by Section 71.0021.
Types of Domestic Violence Crimes Recognized in Houston Texas
There are three different types of domestic violence crimes recognized in Texas:
- Domestic assault: This charge is a Class A misdemeanor if the defendant does not have any prior convictions of domestic assault.
- Aggravated domestic assault: This is usually a 2nd degree felony. It is a 1st degree felony if the charge also includes use of a deadly weapon and causes seriously bodily injury.
- Continuous violence against the family: This is considered a 3rd degree felony under Texas law. A defendant can be convicted of this crime if he or she is found to have committed two domestic assaults within 12 months. The two assaults do not have to have resulted in arrest or conviction and do not have to be committed against the same person to be convicted of this charge.
How Does The Relationship Between the Suspect and Alleged Victim Determine the Charge?
The relationship between the suspect and alleged victim is the determining factor in a charge of domestic violence.
It is considered domestic violence if the alleged act is committed against:
- A family member by blood, marriage or adoption
- A current or former spouse
- Someone the accused has dated or is currently dating
- A member of the accused’s household
- Someone the accused has a child with
- The child of a current or former spouse
Penalties for a Conviction of Domestic Violence Crimes in Houston
A conviction for domestic violence crimes in Texas carries the following penalties:
- Class A misdemeanor: up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000
- 3rd degree felony: 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- 2nd degree felony: 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- 1st degree felony: 5 to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
Under Texas law, a person convicted of assault may also be ordered to pay restitution to the victim. This is a form of compensation that intends to pay back medical bills, damaged property, etc. that were payed by the victim due to the assault.
These penalties can dramatically affect the course of your life if you are convicted of this crime. There are lasting effects after your prison sentence is completed and your fines are paid. A conviction can stop you from having access to your children in a custody case, make it difficult to find a job, get an approval for credit, etc. A domestic violence conviction in Houston can have severe consequences.
Can Our Houston Domestic Violence Lawyer Protect You Against False Allegations?
Our Houston assault attorney was a prosecutor who understands how to protect your rights. She was trained by prosecutors who handled family violence and domestic abuse cases. Lisa also knows that cases that have family members are very sensitive. She uses all of her resources to investigate what happened and figure out the best course of action of defending clients.
Her careful case evaluations include:
- Reviewing witness statements
- Gathering and reviewing evidence
- Examining photographs
- Listening to 911 calls
As a dedicated Houston domestic violence lawyer, she understands how these charges can affect your reputation. False allegations and false accusations are becoming common in divorce proceedings to try to get an advantage for child custody. Ms. Strauss’ law firm’s experience handling these cases helps her to show the truth of what happened in your situation. She has years of skill arguing with prosecutors for clients who have prior criminal histories to protect their rights.
Frequently Asked Questions About Domestic Violence Charges in Harris County
How Does a Domestic Violence Conviction in Harris County Affect Child Custody?
Just one episode of domestic violence establishes a “history” of violence and can greatly impact the results of a custody battle. Ongoing domestic violence may be addressed with a protective order. This makes visitation or any custody rights very hard for the convicted person. Read more about how domestic violence conditions affect child custody in Texas.
Can a Victim Drop Charges for Assault on Family Member in Houston TX?
The answer is dependent on a number of factors:
- The alleged act of assault
- Existence of injuries
- Defendant’s criminal history
- Household history of assault on family member
The above factors, the influence of the court, and an assault on family member attorney will dictate if a victim can drop charges in a case of assault on family member. Read more about if a victim can drop charges for assault on a family member in Houston. Contact our Houston domestic violence lawyer today.
Can I Return Home After Domestic Violence Charge in Houston?
After a person is arrested for suspected domestic violence in Texas, an “emergency protective order” is usually issued after charges are made in arraignment. This order may:
- Evict you from your home for 60 days or more
- Prohibit you from possessing any firearms or weapons
- Prohibit threatening contact towards anyone protected by the order
- Restrict the ability to go near the residence, job or school of anyone protected by the order.
Usually, non-threatening contact is still allowed unless a “no contact” order is made by the magistrate. This depends on the charges and the situation. Read more about if you can return home after a domestic violence charge in Houston.
We Can Help You Make Sense of Restraining Orders Issued By Harris County
Our family law legal team has years of experience helping clients obtain temporary restraining orders to protect clients against harassment and terroristic threats. Also, if a judge places a temporary restraining order against you, we can help get it lifted. It is important that you comply with a restraining order, even if the other party initiates contact or contacts you directly. If you violate a protective order, you can face serious consequences.
To learn more about assault family violence charges, we urge you to contact our criminal defense attorneys law office today.