Understanding domestic violence laws in Texas

| Mar 29, 2019 | Firm News |

Just like in other areas of the country, a domestic violence charge in the Dallas-Fort Worth vicinity is a serious matter. Furthermore, a conviction can carry consequences like jail time and expensive court fines. However, to win a case, the prosecutor has to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the alleged perpetrator intentionally committed an act of domestic violence.

In general, domestic violence includes actual bodily injury, the threat of injury or other kinds of contact that the individual on the receiving end considers offensive. While many domestic violence cases involve people in a romantic relationship, it can actually apply to members of the same household regardless of the relationship. Here are few other things you should know about domestic violence laws in Texas.

3 elements of domestic violence

While there are many acts that constitute domestic violence, there are generally three basic elements and the existence of any one of them is enough to incite a criminal charge.

The first element involves causing an injury to another individual. The second includes threatening the individual with violence and the third is intentionally causing physical contact to purposely scare or hurt the victim. The common denominator of these elements is intent and knowledge. In other words, the alleged perpetrator must knowingly or intentionally behave in a way that hurts the victim.

Defenses

There are several defenses available for individuals charged with domestic violence. For example, the offender can argue that there was no intent to commit harm, or they were unaware that their actions would be seen as threatening or violent. In addition, the lack of an actual offense might be a viable defense. In some cases, the offender named in the charge might be acting in self-defense.

Penalties

Like with many criminal charges, the penalties for a domestic violence conviction can range from a misdemeanor to a first-degree felony. A Class C misdemeanor usually comes with up to one year of jail time along with various fines and fees. A first-degree felony can carry anywhere from five to 99 years in prison and fines ranging up to $10,000. The penalty a convicted offender receives usually depends on certain details of the case such as the relationship to the victim, the existence of past offenses and the severity of the act.

If you are facing a domestic violence charge, it is vital to understand the laws surrounding such a charge and possible conviction. Also, keep in mind that you have the right to defend yourself against a criminal charge. With a strong defense, you might be able to win your case and avoid a conviction.