What Crimes Fall Under a Family Violence Charge in Texas?

Over the past 15 years, the Texas Legislature has added several family or dating violence laws. These laws aim to protect spouses and partners from physical abuse by their significant other. Most people accused of a family violence crime do not realize how the "family violence" allegation can impact their current charge and future.

Family Violence Statutes From Texas Penal Code Ch 22.01

(a) A person commits an offense if the person:

(1) intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person's spouse;

(2) intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person's spouse; or

(3) intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.

(b) An offense under Subsection (a)(1) is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is a felony of the third degree if the crime is committed against:

(1) a person the actor knows is a public servant while the public servant is lawfully discharging an official duty, or in retaliation or on account of an exercise of official power or performance of an official duty as a public servant;

(2) a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code, if:

(A) it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense under this chapter, Chapter 19, or Section 20.03, 20.04, 21.11, or 25.11 against a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code; or

(B) the offense is committed by intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of the person by applying pressure to the person's throat or neck or by blocking the person's nose or mouth;

Texas Penal Code Ch 22.01 Explained

The family code defines family violence under sections 71.0021(b), 71.003, and 71.005. Family violence includes dating relationships as well as family members. "Dating relationship" means a relationship between individuals with a current or previous relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. "Family" includes individuals related by consanguinity or affinity, as determined under Sections 573.022 and 573.024, Government Code, individuals who are former spouses of each other, individuals who are the parents of the same child, without regard to marriage, and a foster child and foster parent, without regard to whether those individuals reside together. A finding of "family violence" on a class A assault will have lifelong consequences for an individual. A person with even a misdemeanor family violence conviction is prohibited from possessing a firearm for as many as five years after completing their probation or jail sentence. Further, most courts add a bond condition prohibiting possessing a firearm while an accused person is on bail awaiting the charges.

The Importance of a Strong Legal Defense in a Texas Family Violence Case

The family violence finding will also follow you for the rest of your life. The court system can later use a deferred adjudication probation on a class A family violence assault case to enhance any new assault charges to a 3rd-degree felony. The enhancement can be used regardless of whether the alleged victim is the same for both cases. The enhancement can be used 20 years later because the law does not place a time limit on prior family violence assaults. If you have been accused or arrested for a family violence case, you need professional advice. Chris Fredericks has the legal experience and qualifications to assist you in limiting the impact of an assault allegation. If you are facing family or dating violence charges, you need to start planning your defense immediately. Contact The Law Offices of Chris Fredericks today at (972) 474-8575 to schedule a consultation.