Felony Family Violence Cases
Felony family violence cases are becoming a focal point for local law enforcement agencies as well as the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office. The public concern for victims of domestic abuse has led to public-private partnerships and well as public, non-profit partnerships to focus on domestic violence cases. The number of felony family violence arrests in Tarrant County is expected to rise over the next year.
As the number of arrests rise, so too will the number of people wrongly accused. This happens for several reasons. First, law enforcement officers feel a pressure to arrest someone if they are called out to a domestic disturbance. The male is often the one to get arrested. Second, allegations of domestic violence are sometimes used to further a divorce or custody proceeding.
What is a Family Member under Texas Criminal Law?
Offenses against family members under Texas criminal law includes who are in or have been in a dating relationship, individuals in a parent-child relationship by birth or adoption, individuals who share a common ancestor, in-laws, and individuals who are married. Members of the same household are also considered “family members” for purposes of criminal law in Texas. This includes persons living together in the same dwelling, without regard to whether they are related to each other.
What are Felony Family Violence Cases in Texas?
Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon – Family Member
Under Penal Code 22.02, Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon charge becomes a First Degree felony if it is shown that the victim was a family member of the defendant. Click here for a detailed discussion of Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon.
Strangulation or Choking
Strangulation or Choking under Penal Code 22.01 involves causing bodily injury to a family member by impeding their breath or circulation by applying pressure to the throat or neck or by blocking their mouth or nose. This is a Third Degree Felony. Read more about strangulation and choking charges in Texas.
Strangulation or Choking with Prior Conviction
If a person is accused of choking or strangling a family member, and the accused has a previous conviction of Assault Causing Bodily Injury to a Family Member, the strangulation charge is enhanced to a Second Degree Felony.
Assault Bodily Injury to a Family Member, Second within 12 Months (Continuous Family Violence)
Assault Bodily Injury to a Family Member, Second within 12 Months under Penal Code 25.11 involves an allegation that within a 12-month period, the accused committed two acts of family violence against a family member. This is a Third Degree Felony.
Assault Causing Bodily Injury to a Family Member with a Prior Conviction
A misdemeanor Assault Causing Bodily Injury to a Family Member case becomes a Third Degree Felony if it can be proven that the defendant has previously been convicted of Assault Causing Bodily Injury to a Family Member.
Tarrant County No-Drop Policy
Tarrant County has a No-Drop Policy for Family Violence cases. Learn more about the Tarrant County No Drop Policy.
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW IF YOU ARE CHARGED WITH AN ASSAULT CRIME:
1. Do not talk to the police without an attorney. This is the single-most important thing to remember when you are accused of any offense. Most people do not realize the police are allowed to lie to you. They can tell you anything to elicit a response. Do not respond to their questions, other than to provide them with your name and date of birth. Do not provide them with any information. Only tell them you would like to speak to an attorney. Do not waive your rights by speaking to them without representation.
2. Immediately contact an attorney. You attorney will be able to start gathering evidence, witness statements, forensic data, and protect your Constitutional rights.
3. Time is of the essence. In the event you are charged with felony assault, the case must be presented to the grand jury before the case makes it to a felony court. In some instances, an experienced defense attorney may be able to obtain a No-Bill from the grand jury before the case ever gets to a felony court due to lack of evidence against you. Whether the case is a misdemeanor or a felony, your attorney will be able to begin the fact-finding process and bring scientific experts in to review the forensic and DNA evidence to make sure no stone is left unturned in your defense.
4. Do not contact the accuser. Talk to your attorney about your case so he/she can guide you through both what to expect during the investigation and the pendency of the case against you. This may be particularly difficult for charges arising out of an incident in your home. Make sure you follow all instructions and restrictions should you be subject to a restraining order.
5. If you are arrested, do not talk to anyone besides your attorney about the allegation. Jail phone case are recoded and there is no such thing as a private communication inside the jail. While you are in custody, the only privacy that will be afforded to you is communication protected by the attorney-client privilege.
Statutory Defenses in Texas Criminal Law
By: A. A.
Title: Don’t look any further.
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