Terms of imprisonment, high fines, and the loss of certain civil rights could all result from a domestic violence conviction. Working with an Austin domestic violence lawyer may be key to working towards the best possible outcome based on the unique factors in your case.
Having a permanent criminal record for a crime of violence is not likely to be advantageous to you when you are looking for a job, attempting to further your education, or pursuing a different career path. In some cases, a conviction could shut you out of certain careers altogether and make it far more difficult to better yourself from a professional and financial perspective. If you find yourself in this type of situation, a savvy defense attorney could help.
Domestic Violence in Austin
While there is typically no specific criminal offense that constitutes domestic violence in the state of Texas, there is one potential exception for a statute that targets repeat offenders in certain situations. If someone allegedly assaulted a family or household member a minimum of twice in a 12-month period, they could commit the offense of continuous violence against the family pursuant to Texas Penal Code § 25.11. This offense is a third-degree felony, which may result in a prison sentence ranging from two to ten years and a $10,000 fine.
For an isolated incident of domestic violence, allegedly committing certain crimes against specified family and household members could be the same as committing them against strangers. The nature of these offenses, which primarily involve threats of violence and bodily harm to others, could lead to harsher penalties. When facing any type of charge that involves violence or threats of violence, consulting a domestic violence lawyer in Austin may be advisable.
Defining Family and Household Members
All states define family and household members differently for the purposes of domestic violence offenses. Texas has adopted a relatively expansive definition of family. Under Tex. Pen. Code § 71.003, family constitutes all individuals related by blood, adoption, or marriage. This could include former spouses and those who share a child.
To qualify as a household member, people simply must reside together in the same dwelling. Pursuant to Tex. Pen. Code § 71.005, there does not need to be a marital or family relationship between the members of the same household. It is sufficient that they simply live in the same location.
Specific Acts Against the Family
Various actions could constitute domestic violence when they involve family or household members. These may include assault, sexual assault, kidnapping, and terrorist threats, among others. Any potential domestic violence offenses are serious crimes that have the potential to result in severe penalties, so getting advice from an Austin domestic violence attorney may be helpful.
The most commonly-charged domestic violence offenses are assault and aggravated assault. Under Tex. Pen. Code § 22.01, an assault may include various behaviors that cause physical injuries to others. It also includes making threats of physical harm to others or physical contact that, while does not cause injuries, could be reasonably viewed as offensive or provocative.
Assault is typically a Class A misdemeanor, which may result in a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $4,000. Assaults could become a felony under certain circumstances. This may include when the target is a family or household member and the alleged offender has a previous conviction for domestic assault. The potential penalties for a felony offense far exceed those for a misdemeanor.
Get Advice from an Austin Domestic Violence Attorney
When you are facing any type of criminal charges, you need to begin building a strong defense from the outset of your case. Delays in doing so may have a negative impact on your case. In this situation, an Austin domestic violence lawyer may be of assistance to you.
Working with experienced legal counsel can have many benefits. You can learn about the criminal court process, thoroughly understand the options that may be available to you, and work toward a more positive resolution of the charges against you. To learn how an attorney can help, call now.