Fort Worth Domestic Violence Lawyer
Relationships can be difficult, especially when you are living in close quarters with another. In some cases, those relationships end in allegations of domestic violence. While you and the other involved parties may differ widely in your perception of the matter, the fact is that criminal charges may result. A Fort Worth domestic violence lawyer may be helpful if another has accused you of this kind of offense.
The possible consequences of a criminal conviction related to domestic violence may be severe and are not limited to high fines and lengthy prison sentences. This type of conviction may threaten your freedom and ability to spend time with your family. When you are facing these potential consequences, a dedicated criminal attorney can help.
Actions that May Qualify as Domestic Violence
There is no specific law that sets forth domestic violence as a separate criminal offense. Rather, the underlying offense becomes an act of domestic or family violence when the parties involved are certain family or household members. These individuals include those who live together, share a child, or are or were in a dating relationship, as well as family members.
Tex. Pen. Code § 22.01 provides that an assault against certain family or household members, including spouses, is the same as an assault against anyone else. Assault occurs when individuals:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause injury to another
- Intentionally or knowingly threaten another with imminent bodily injury
- Intentionally or knowingly cause physical contact that they reasonably should know or believe would be offensive to another
Specific Charges in Fort Worth
Domestic assault generally is a Class A misdemeanor, but becomes a third-degree felony if the accused has a prior domestic assault conviction or if they allegedly commit the offense by attempting to choke, strangle, or otherwise impede the breathing of another. If the person has a prior domestic assault conviction and uses choking, strangling, or impeding the breathing of another in the commission of the offense, then the level of the charge increases to a second-degree felony.
A Class A misdemeanor conviction may result in a fine of up to $4,000 and imprisonment for up to one year. For a third-degree felony conviction, the fine may not exceed $10,000 and the potential prison sentence ranges from two to ten years. That range increases to a maximum of 20 years in prison in the case of a second-degree felony.
Aggravated Assault Against a Family Member
According to Tex. Pen. Code § 22.02, assault becomes aggravated assault if individuals use or exhibit a deadly weapon in committing the offense or cause serious bodily injury to another. Aggravated assault is a second-degree felony, but it may be a first-degree felony if individuals use a deadly weapon during the offense against certain family or household members.
While a second-degree felony conviction can result in a prison sentence of up to 20 years, a first-degree felony conviction may result in a sentence of five to 99 years of imprisonment.
Continuous Violence Against the Family
Tex. Pen. Code § 25.11 establishes the offense of continuous violence against the family. This offense occurs when individuals commit an assault against a family or household member two or more times during a 12-month period. Continuous violence against the family is a third-degree felony.
Family violence under Tex. Fam. Code §71.004 includes any act toward family or household members that results in physical harm, assault, or sexual assault, or a threat that reasonably places them in fear of imminent physical harm, assault, or sexual assault. This definition also encompasses dating violence. For help understanding what specific charges may be classified as, it may be beneficial to speak with a Fort Worth domestic violence attorney.
Consult a Fort Worth Domestic Violence Attorney for Guidance
The stakes can be high when you are facing domestic violence charges. You risk losing your freedom, your job, your family, and a host of other important rights if a conviction occurs. This situation may justify consulting a Fort Worth domestic violence lawyer.
An experienced defense attorney can answer your questions about the charges against you. They can help you build a strong defense against the charges you are facing. Call today to get started.