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Penalties for Domestic Violence in Texas


In the past, what happened behind closed doors was nobody’s business. If a husband and wife got into a fight, it stayed between the couple. If a parent tried to discipline their child, it wasn’t the police’s concern and there was no such thing as Child Protective Services (CPS) to swoop in and remove a child from a dangerous home.

Today, much has changed in the way society views verbal threats, emotional abuse, and physical violence between family members. Generally, if something would be considered illegal if it happened between strangers or non-family members, then it’s against the law if it happens in a family.

Defining ‘Family Violence’ in Texas

The Texas Family Code defines family violence, “as an act by a member of a family or household against another member that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm,” according to the 2008 Crime in Texas Report.

Even though the Family Code has a definition for family violence, otherwise known as “domestic violence,” there isn’t a separate offense for family or domestic violence in the Texas Penal Code. Instead, domestic violence is addressed under Title 5, Chapter 22, Assaultive Offenses, of the Texas Penal Code.

Under Chapter 22 of the Penal Code, domestic violence is typically prosecuted as one of the following crimes:

  • Assault: A Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and by a fine not to exceed $4,000.
  • Aggravated Assault: A felony of the second degree, punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and by a fine not to exceed $10,000.
  • Sexual Assault: Typically, a felony of the second degree, punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison and by a fine not to exceed $10,000.
  • Aggravated Sexual Assault: A felony of the first degree, punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison and by a fine not to exceed $10,000.

The above punishments are the basic penalties involved. In some cases, aggravating circumstances, such as using a deadly weapon, causing life-threatening injuries, or having a child victim can incur harsher penalties.

Related: Family Violence in Denton, TX

Facing charges for family violence in Denton County? Contact our firm at once to schedule a free initial consultation with Attorney Adame.

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