Texas law treats domestic violence misdemeanor offenses much more harshly than other allegations on that level. Depending on the circumstances, domestic violence also can result in felony charges, which have even more severe consequences. A Collin County domestic violence lawyer could help you fight back.

In some cases, an argument between spouses or significant others simply gets out of hand. In other cases, a deteriorating relationship or child custody dispute leads to false allegations. Regardless of the circumstances, an experienced criminal defense attorney could work to help you tell your side of the story.

Domestic Violence Offenses in Collin County

Domestic violence crimes typically fall under the statutes for assault and aggravated assault. The penalties for assault against a stranger or acquaintance and assault against a family or household member are similar, although a domestic assault conviction can result in additional negative consequences in some cases.

Assault becomes domestic assault when certain family or household members are involved. Under Tex. Pen. Code § 71.003, family members include:

  • All individuals related by blood, marriage, or adoption
  • Spouses and former spouses
  • Unmarried individuals who share a child
  • Foster parents and children

To qualify as a household member, it is necessary for individuals to either live together, regardless of whether they are related. As these allegations can be very serious, calling a Collin County domestic violence lawyer for help may be necessary.

Relevant Laws

Tex. Pen. Code § 22.01 defines assault as a range of different actions, some of which do not even include any physical contact. While traditional notions of assault involve inflicting physical harm on others, it is not necessary to touch another person or cause any injuries in order to face these charges.

Domestic assault occurs when individuals purposely cause bodily injury, make threats of imminent bodily injury, or have offensive physical contact with family or household members. Assault can include spitting on or shoving a person, throwing heavy items, threatening to kill or injure someone, and causing physical harm to another.

Penalties for Domestic Assault

Domestic assault is typically a Class A misdemeanor, which can result in a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine of up to $4,000. A domestic assault conviction often is accompanied by a protection order, which prevents all contact between the individuals and the alleged targets of the assault. This is also one of the only misdemeanor convictions that prohibit individuals from possessing firearms under federal and state law.

However, there are circumstances in which the charge can be a felony. For example, individuals who have a previous conviction for domestic assault may face third-degree felony charges, which can result in a prison sentence of two to ten years and a fine of up to $10,000.

Aggravating Factors to These Offenses

Tex. Pen. Code § 22.02 defines aggravated assault, which also may be domestic in nature when involving family or household members. Aggravated assault occurs when someone uses or exhibit a deadly weapon in the course of an assault or when a person inflicts serious bodily injury on another.

Aggravated assault is normally a second-degree felony, but when an individual uses a deadly weapon and causes serious bodily injury to a family or household member, the charge becomes a first-degree felony. This could result in a prison sentence of life or between five and 99 years, as well as a $10,000 fine.

For repeat offenders, Tex. Pen. Code § 25.11 establishes the offense of continuous violence against the family, which applies to individuals who commit a domestic assault against a family or household members on at least two separate occasions in a 12-month period. Continuous violence against the family is a third-degree felony.

Consult a Collin County Domestic Violence Attorney

A domestic violence-related conviction, whether for a misdemeanor or a felony offense, can have undesirable implications that may impact your life for years to come. Due to these potential repercussions, getting advice from a Collin County domestic violence lawyer may be crucial.

With the assistance of legal counsel, you may be able to combat false allegations and determine what defenses are applicable in your case. By building a strong defense to the charges against you, you can work towards a more favorable resolution. Call today to set up a consultation to get started.