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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
Being accused of committing domestic violence against another person can be very serious and upsetting. This charge can have a number of potential repercussions ranging from financial to emotional.
An accusation of domestic violence can damage a person’s reputation at their job, among their friends and family, and society in general.
If you have been accused, it is important to understand what may happen next to protect yourself and your family. An Amarillo domestic violence lawyer can help explain the charges and how to proceed forward. Talk to a professional lawyer today.
Domestic Violence Statistics
Unfortunately, Amarillo has one of the highest domestic violence rates in Texas. In 2015, Amarillo had five murders that occurred because of domestic violence incidents.
According to the Texas Council on Family Violence, about one in three Texas citizens will be a victim of domestic violence. In 2015, there were 158 Texas women who were murdered by a male partner. Amarillo had a total of 2,438 domestic violence incidents in the same year.
Texas Domestic Violence Laws
There are several different types of charges a person can face in a domestic violence situation. They are generally grouped under the status of assaultive offenses. The first is under Section 22.01 as an assault, which a person commits if they either
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause another person bodily injury
- Intentionally or knowingly threaten another person with imminent bodily injury or
- Intentionally or knowingly cause physical contact with another person that they know or should reasonably believe would be offensive
This section applies to spouses and is a misdemeanor for a first offense. However, for repeated incidents, it can be a felony. Assaults that include suffocation or strangulation are also felony level assaults. The law also protects people who are dating each other, family members, and members of the same household.
Nature of Relationships
When determining if a relationship is a dating relationship the court will look at the nature of the relationship, how long the relationship was, the type of interaction between the two people, and the frequency of their interactions. Family members are related by blood or law – for example, former spouses or individuals who have a child together. Household refers to any individuals who live in the same dwelling even if they are not related to each other.
Aggravated domestic assault is when an individual either causes serious bodily injury to another or uses or shows a deadly weapon while committing the assault. Section 25.11 is another law that makes it an offense if a person commits two or more domestic assaults within a twelve-month period. It will not matter if the acts were against different people or if there was never a conviction for the earlier incidents.
How an Amarillo Domestic Violence Lawyer Can Help You
The most obvious effect of a domestic violence charge is the potential jail term that an individual may be sentenced to. However, there may be other consequences such as restraining orders and limitations on visiting family (such as children).
By speaking with an Amarillo domestic violence lawyer, you can at least understand what charge the government is bringing and how you can defend against it. You will also be able to discuss options with your lawyer such as negotiating with the prosecution or simply going straight to trial.