According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, approximately 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. For a year, that equates to more than 10 million women and men. Unfortunately, domestic violence is a growing concern.
Under Texas law, allegations of domestic violence can have a serious impact on a person's future. The accusations can result in a lengthy prison sentence and significant fines if the defendant is convicted. The best defense against domestic violence charges is an experienced criminal defense attorney in Austin, TX.
Austin Domestic Violence Lawyer | Travis County, Texas
If you are facing criminal charges for domestic assault and family violence in Austin, TX, you will need legal representation experienced in fighting the accusations of Travis County prosecutors. Jackson F. Gorski at The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski is an experienced domestic violence attorney with a track record of achieving favorable results for his clients. He can make sure the court hears his version of events and work hard to reduce, if not dismiss, his charges.
Take advantage of a free consultation from the Jackson F. Gorski Law Firm by calling 512-960-4646 today. Austin domestic violence attorney Jackson F. Gorski represents Texans throughout Travis County, including Jollyville, Lockhart, Kyle, Georgetown, Round Rock, Anderson Mill, Cedar Park, San Marcos, Seguin, and Canyon Lake.
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- Domestic Violence Under Texas Law
- Common Charges in Domestic Violence Cases in Texas
- Is domestic violence a crime in Texas?
- Texas Penalties for Domestic Violence
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Domestic Violence Under Texas Law
Travis County prosecutors take domestic violence cases seriously. Due to the propensity for aggressive crimes, such as aggravated assault and murder, to rise, the force behind the arrest and prosecution of criminal suspects aims to defuse tensions and end the violence.
There is no specific domestic violence statute in Texas. Instead, domestic violence is defined in Chapter 71 of the Texas Family Code. The section is divided into family violence and dating violence.
Under Texas law (71.004), family violence occurs when a person commits an act against a family or family member with the intent to cause bodily harm, bodily harm, assault, or sexual assault.
“Household” is defined as people who live together in the same dwelling, regardless of whether or not they are related to each other. A family or household member may include:
- husband or wife
- Ex-husband or ex-wife
- brother or sister
- mother or father
- Foster son
- Foster father
- Mother or father of a person's child.
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Common Charges in Domestic Violence Cases in Texas
Texas prosecutors take acts of violence against intimate partners or family members seriously. The following are some of the most common domestic violence complaints:
- Abandonment or danger of children(Texas Penal Code §22.041): A person can be arrested for child abandonment or child endangerment if they leave a child in a place without providing necessary and reasonable care. It is also a crime to place a child in imminent danger of death, bodily harm, or physical or mental disability. Child abandonment can range from a state prison felony to a second degree felony, depending on the context of the crime.
- child abuse(Texas Penal Code §22.04): A person may be charged with child abuse if he intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, by act, or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly by omission, causes serious bodily harm to a child; serious mental impairment, disability or injury; or bodily injury. If serious bodily or mental injury was intentionally or knowingly caused, the crime is a first degree felony. If recklessly caused, child abuse is classified as a felony of the second degree. The offense may also be classified as a third degree felony or a state prison felony.
- Ongoing violence against the family (Texas Penal Code §25.11): Causing bodily harm to a person, particularly a spouse or relative, two or more times during a period of twelve consecutive months or less is a felony under the Texas Penal Code. It is a third degree felony in Texas. If convicted, the defendant faces up to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
- Persecucion (Texas Penal Code § 42.072): Stalking occurs if a person engages in behavior that the defendant knows will make the victim feel threatened or harassed. The threat may be against the life, safety or property of the victim. The offense is a third degree felony unless there is a prior conviction, in which case it is a second degree felony.
- Assault (Texas Penal Code §22.01): Under Texas law, a person can face assault charges if they intentionally or knowingly cause bodily harm to another person, including that person's spouse. Charges may also apply if the defendant has threatened the victim with imminent bodily harm. Assault is a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $500. However, the offense may be escalated to a higher category depending on the circumstances of the case.
- Aggravated Domestic Assault(Texas Penal Code §22.02): The Texas Penal Code states that a person commits aggravated assault if they use a deadly weapon to commit an assault and cause serious bodily harm to someone they are dating. The crime is first degree.
- Violation of an order of protection(Texas Penal Code §25.07): Violation of a restraining order issued by a judge is illegal under Texas law. A person may be charged with this offense if they knowingly or intentionally commit family violence, communicate with the protected person or a family member of the protected person, go anywhere prohibited by the order, or possess a firearm. The defendant may also be arrested for damaging, threatening, or interfering with the custodial care of the protected party's pet or service animal, or removing, attempting to remove, or tampering with the ankle monitor. Violation of a protection order is a Class A misdemeanor. However, this misdemeanor can become a third degree felony if the defendant has previously violated the protection order.
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Is domestic violence a crime in Texas?
Domestic violence crimes can be classified as a felony or a misdemeanor, depending on the situation. Under Texas law, a person can be charged with third degree domestic violence if they are married to or in a relationship with the victim. Charges and penalties will be assessed based on the severity of the individual case.
A domestic violence charge can haunt a person for life. Penalties for domestic violence convictions are made worse if the defendant has already been convicted of a similar crime. Multiple domestic violence convictions can lead to increased criminal charges that can result in a prison sentence that spans decades.
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Texas Penalties for Domestic Violence
As with any assault charge, the penalties a person will face when convicted of domestic violence will vary depending on the severity of the assault. The least serious charge that a domestic violence suspect may face is a class C misdemeanor that carries a fine without mandatory imprisonment (generally applied to threats or cases that do not involve bodily harm).
In intimate partner assault cases, Texas law allows the attorney general's office to charge the defendant with "up to" a third degree felony. If a defendant is charged with a felony, he can face 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00.
In many domestic violence cases, the convicted person receives probation and is ordered by the court to complete counseling and treatment. The court may order marriage counseling, anger management classes, or community service. Sometimes a convicted party can have judgment withheld on the sentence if they meet all the probation requirements. This means that the charges can be expunged from the person's record after completing court-ordered probation requirements.
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Domestic Violence Defenses
In some domestic violence cases, a defense may be that the crime did not occur. Some domestic violence cases are dismissed due to false reports. At other times, the defense may argue that the defendant committed the alleged assault without intent or that he did not know that he committed the assault. In other situations, domestic violence charges can be dismissed in court if self-defense can be proven in the case.
If you have been arrested for domestic violence, the Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski can help you find the best possible defense for your case and advise you on all the situations you may face in court. Don't leave the interpretation of evidence to chance.
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Texas Family Violence Program –Visit the official Texas Health and Human Services website for more information on the Family Violence Program. The program provides emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence and their children. Visit the website for a list of centers in TX.
National Domestic Violence Hotline -Visit the official website of the National Domestic Violence Hotline for domestic violence statistics. You can view general stats, sexual assault stats, bullying stats, and more.
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Georgetown Domestic Violence Lawyer | Travis County, Texas
Immediately after the arrest for alleged family battery, the defendant's best option is to hire an attorney to represent them in court. There are additional legal actions that the state of Texas can take in cases of domestic violence, such as restraining orders or changes in child custody. In cases like this, it is imperative to seek an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
Jackson F. Gorski at The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski has experience in criminal defense and family law. He can help you through the entire process and make sure his case runs as smoothly as possible. To get started on your case, call the Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski at 512-960-4646 to schedule a free consultation.
The Law Firm of Jackson F. Gorski serves clients in Travis County, TX and surrounding counties, including Williamson, Bell, Bastrop, Lee, Milam, Burnett, Blanco, Hays, and Caldwell.
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