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Secrets of the Texas Criminal Justice System and Your Rights
It is not uncommon for roommates to get into disagreements. However, when those disagreements rise to the level of physical confrontations, or the threats of violence, the police may become involved. People may be surprised to find that they have been charged with not just an assault, but an assault involving family violence. This is due to Texas’s expansive definition of who a household member is. This definition enhances the potential penalties for convictions. Midland roommate violence lawyers work to defend people against both criminal charges and potential protective orders that may follow. Talk to a professional attorney today about your options.
Texas Family Violence Laws
According to Texas Penal Code 22.01, it is illegal to intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause bodily injury to another person. This is known as an assault. Not only is making this contact illegal, but threatening to make this contact is illegal.
If the threats were made to a person on the street, this would be a simple assault punished as a Class C misdemeanor. However, because the two people lived together, the situation becomes much more complicated. This is because Penal Code 22.01 provides for enhanced penalties when an assault is committed against a household member. Texas Family Code 71.005 states that household members are treated as family for the purposes of prosecuting domestic violence. It defines a household member as any person who lives with the alleged abuser. This definition does not require that the people be related in any way.
If a person has no prior conviction for domestic violence, and the violence did not involve any physical contact, the case is tried as a Class C misdemeanor. This is punishable by a $500 maximum fine, but would place a mark on a person’s criminal record. In instances where there is actual physical contact, the case is treated as a Class A misdemeanor that can result in up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
Situations where the affected party is a household member and the defendant has a previous conviction for domestic abuse raises the case to a 3rd Degree Felony. These can result in a prison term of up to 10 years and a $10,000 fine. Alternatively, a charge can be raised to a 3rd Degree felony if the contact involved strangulation. Lastly, a 2nd Degree felony can result from previously convicted defendants strangling a household member. These crimes have a minimum jail sentence of 2 years with a maximum of 20. A fine of up to $10,000 may also be levied. Contact a Midland roommate violence lawyer for more information.
Defendants should also be aware of the potential for a protective order to be filed. This can prevent a person from contacting the affected party, force them to move out of a house, and enhance any penalties for any future allegations of abuse.
Talk to a Midland Roommate Violence Attorney Today
People may be surprised to find that they are being charged with a case of domestic violence if they are arrested after a fight with a roommate. Texas’s expansive definitions of housemates place all allegations of assault against a roommate into this more harshly punished category.
Midland roommate violence lawyers understand the high stresses and potential consequences of a conviction under these laws. They work with individuals to form a comprehensive defense strategy tailored to each individual case. Whether a person’s goal is to reach a fair plea deal, or to fight the charges at every turn, an attorney is here to help.