How Is Domestic Violence Defined In Texas?
In Texas, domestic violence means an assault against a family member, household member, or a current or past dating partner defined as:
- intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person
- intentionally or knowingly threatening another person with imminent bodily injury; or
- intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another that the offender knows or reasonably should know the victim will find provocative or offensive.
How Do Police Determine The Aggressor In A Domestic Violence Situation?
Police will usually interview any witnesses including the complaining witness and if the accused is available, they will interview him or her. The police will look for scratches or bruises on either party and any evidence of a struggle. Unfortunately, if they discover signs of an altercation and the complaining witness claims the other party was the aggressor, the police will often arrest the accused even if the accused acted in self-defense. As this is often he said/she said situation (or he said/he said or she said/she said), it is extremely important to hire a skilled attorney to defend you against these serious charges.
What Charges Am I Facing If I Have Been Arrested For Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is covered by Texas Penal Code 22.01. This charge is a typically a Class A misdemeanor but is sometimes a Class C misdemeanor and can become a third-degree felony in certain situations. For example, if the accused has previously been convicted of this offense or the person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly impeded the normal breathing or circulation of blood of the accuser by applying pressure to the person’s throat or neck or by blocking the person’s nose or mouth. A third-degree felony carries a range of punishment of two to ten years in prison.
Am I Eligible For Bail After Being Arrested And Charged With Domestic Violence?
Most times, yes. A Class C misdemeanor will not require a bond but a Class A or Felony will. You can pay a cash bond or hire a bail bondsman who will usually charge a 10% fee.
Can I Remain In Contact With My Children When Facing Domestic Violence Charges?
An applicant may seek an emergency protective order, a two-year protective order or a lifetime protective order which may affect your ability to be in contact with your children. Often times, the courts in Harris County will grant a protective order that lasts 20 days after you are charged and no hearing is necessary. A protective order may forbid the defendant from going near the residence, workplace, or school of the complaining witness, or his or her children. However, you can seek to negotiate or modify the protective order. You can also have a hearing to fight the application for a protective order and deny the accusations.
Is An Order Of Protection Automatically Placed When Domestic Violence Charges Are Filed?
A hearing is required when the applicant is seeking a two-year protective order or lifetime protective order. But the Court can issue an emergency protective order or 20-day protective order without holding a hearing and they often do. It is important to hire an experienced attorney to preserve your rights.
Does An Alleged Victim Need To Be Physically Injured For Domestic Violence Charges To Be Made?
Domestic violence, known in Texas as assault with family violence, can be any physical contact (grabbing, pushing, scratching, hitting, etc.), with or without bodily injury. It may also involve threats of violence or physical intimidation, use of a weapon or threat of a weapon.
For more information on Domestic Violence Offenses In Texas, a free consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (832) 209-2297 today.
Call For A Free Consultation