Has someone in your family or household accused you of family violence? If so, these are not accusations to take lightly.
Under Texas law, family violence refers to any act that is committed against a family member or member of the same household that was intended to cause physical pain, harm or bodily injury to another person.
Family violence is often called "domestic violence" in other states and it is also known as spousal abuse and child abuse, but it can occur in a variety of relationships. For example, if one roommate punched another roommate, that too would fall under the category of family violence.
Sometimes family violence can occur between individuals who do NOT live under the same roof. In such cases, the violence can occur between a couple that is dating, or the victim of the abuse can be the new boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse of the person the abuser was in a relationship with.
Does Texas have a family violence statute?
Texas does not have a separate statute that criminalizes family violence. Instead, family violence is covered under Title 5 of the Texas Penal Code, Assaultive Offenses. Depending on the act of violence, it can be charges as any of the following:
- Sexual assault
- Aggravated assault
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Terroristic threat
- Injury to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual
Depending on the facts of the case and the degree of bodily injury, family violence offenses can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony under Texas law.
For example, under Sec. 22.01(a), a person commits assault if they intentionally and recklessly cause bodily injury to another, including their own spouse, a Class A misdemeanor.
A person commits "aggravated assault" under Sec. 22.02(a) if they cause serious bodily injury to another person, including their spouse. Aggravated assault is generally a felony of the second degree, but in some cases it is charged as a felony of the first degree.
In Texas, a second degree felony is punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison, and a fine not to exceed $10,000, whereas a first degree felony is punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison under the Texas Penal Code.
In addition to the above penalties, a conviction for family violence can lead to other consequences, such as revocation of your right to bear arms, to vote in an election, and to enter your own home.
If you are facing family violence charges, do not wait. Contact Denton Criminal Defense Attorney Derek A. Adame at once for guidance and a strong defense.