With financial issues and other stressors, it’s not uncommon to find yourself in a heated argument with a family member or romantic partner. Unfortunately, sometimes this anger can lead to poor decision-making and physical violence. A conviction for domestic violence can result in a permanent criminal record, impacting the rest of your life. That’s why it’s so important to understand the penalties for domestic violence in Texas.
Penalties for Classes of Domestic Assault
First, you should know that there is no specific domestic violence law in Texas. Rather, it falls under assault laws. Domestic assault is known as assault with family violence and can consist of physical contact with or without bodily injury. Physical contact may include things such as hitting, pushing, grabbing, or scratching. Additionally, it may consist of threats of violence or physical intimidation, the use of a weapon, or the threat of the use of a weapon. Charges and penalties for domestic assault are dependent upon each specific situation and take factors such as previous violence and the degree of harm into account.
- Class C misdemeanor – if the victim suffered no physical pain or permanent harm. Class C offenses are punishable by a $500 fine.
- Class A misdemeanor – if the contact caused pain to the victim, left physical marks, or resulted in lasting injury. Class A offenses are punishable by up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000.
- Third-degree felony – if the victim was strangled or if the perpetrator has prior domestic violence convictions. Third-degree felonies are punishable by between two and 10 years in prison.
As if time in jail, a fine, and a criminal record weren’t serious enough, if you are convicted of domestic assault you will face the following consequences:
- You are prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm
- You are prohibited from obtaining a Texas hunting or fishing license
- Your professional goals may be impacted if you planned to enter into the military, be a teacher, or work in a position for the government, among others
- It could impact your divorce and child custody
What Are the Defenses?
For starters, you should not be found guilty of domestic violence if the alleged victim does not fit the criteria for domestic violence:
- A family member
- A household member
- In a dating relationship (past or present)
While an accusation of domestic violence should never be taken lightly, sometimes people are falsely accused due to anger or spite. Additionally, if the defendant’s actions were self-defense or the defense of others, it may be an affirmative defense to domestic assault. Speaking with a qualified attorney can really help.
The Attorneys at Ceja Law Firm Help Those in Houston Who Have Been Charged with Domestic Assault
If you have been charged with domestic assault in Texas, it can have very serious consequences. That’s why it’s so important that you act quickly in an effort to defend yourself.
At Ceja Law Firm PLLC, we understand the serious nature of such a criminal charge and the impact that it can have on one’s life. We also understand that time is of the essence. That’s why we will work to help you obtain the best possible outcome. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!