Whatever the reason for them may be, the results of domestic violence charges can have a profound impact on your life. Fortunately, you may be able to fight back against these accusations by enlisting the help of a Tarrant County domestic violence lawyer.

Aside from the penalties issued in a criminal case, individuals with domestic violence convictions are often subject to protective orders for up to two years, become ineligible to possess firearms, and suffer other collateral consequences. Getting the advice of a criminal defense attorney may be crucial to defending your best interests in the face of these potential consequences.

Domestic Violence Offenses

Domestic violence offenses require that the alleged target of the assault qualifies as a family or household member of the accused party. According to Texas Penal Code §71.003, family and household members include:

  • All relatives
  • Current and former spouses
  • Persons who have a child together
  • Individuals who currently live or formerly lived together

Texas law does not establish a separate offense of domestic violence, except when individuals have engaged in repeated assault offenses against family or household members. This situation can lead to charges of continuous violence against the family.

Otherwise, assault or aggravated assault that involves family or household members are the offenses primarily used in the prosecution of domestic violence. Because these charges can carry severe penalties, getting the advice of a domestic violence lawyer in Tarrant County may be useful.

Defining Assault

Tex. Pen. Code § 22.01 defines assault as intentionally or recklessly causing physical injury, making threats of imminent bodily harm, or having provocative or offensive physical contact with others. Possible examples of offensive contact include spitting, shoulder-checking, or throwing an object that inherently would not cause physical harm, such as a liquid.

In some cases, an assault rises to the level of aggravated assault. Under Tex. Pen. Code §22.02, aggravated assault occurs when individuals commit an assault while using or exhibiting a deadly weapon or causing serious bodily injury to others

Serious bodily injuries include those that create a substantial risk of or result in death, cause severe permanent disfigurement, or cause loss of the functionality of an organ or body part. Aggravated assault charges carry the potential for more severe penalties than simple assault, so consulting a Tarrant County domestic violence attorney for assistance may be highly beneficial.

Assault Offenses and Continuous Violence Against the Family

Tex. Pen. Code §25.11 creates a separate offense for individuals who have allegedly committed domestic assault or aggravated assault against a family or household member at least twice in the previous 12 months. The assaults need not be against the same family or household members.

As opposed to simple domestic assault, which is a misdemeanor offense, continuous violence against the family is a third-degree felony. Conviction on a third-degree felony offense can result in a prison sentence ranging from two to ten years and a maximum $10,000 fine. A felony conviction also results in the loss of some civil rights and creates a permanent criminal record that can adversely affect employment and educational opportunities in the future.

Work with a Tarrant County Domestic Violence Attorney

Whether you are facing charges of domestic assault or continuous violence against the family, a conviction can have harsh implications for your future. Fortunately, a Tarrant County domestic violence lawyer may be able to help you defend yourself against these charges.

Although you should take domestic violence charges seriously, you also should know that various defenses may be available in your case. Seeking legal representation can make a difference in the outcome of your charges, so call today to start exploring your options.