What Constitutes Domestic Violence in TX?
Domestic violence, also known as family violence, is any act of physical violence or threat of physical violence against a member of the same family or same household.
Family violence, also known as domestic violence, is a common cause of conflict and estrangement among members of the same family. It is also against the law. The penalties for an act of violence are more severe if the victim is a family member of the defendant. You do not go to prison for years if you punch a stranger during an argument over a parking space, and the victim gets a bruise that does not require medical treatment, but you get in much more legal trouble if you punch your mother, wife, or minor child and cause the same injury. Besides criminal penalties, domestic violence accusations can adversely affect you in family law cases, such as divorce or modification of parenting plans, even if you did not get criminal charges. The criminal defense lawyers at the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker can help you if you are being accused of threatening or physically harming a member of your family.
The Relationship Between the Defendant and the Victim in Domestic Violence Cases
The difference between family violence and any other violent crime is that the defendant and the victim are members of the same family. Even if the parties are distant relatives, the violent act can be charged as family violence if the defendant and the victim live in the same household. You can get charged with domestic violence if the victim of the alleged violent crime has any of the following relationships with you:
- Biological child, adopted child, foster child, or stepchild
- Sibling or stepsibling
- Legal parent, foster parent, or stepparent
- Spouse or ex-spouse
- Parent or sibling of your spouse (such as your sister-in-law)
- Boyfriend or girlfriend, whether you are living together or dating
- Ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend
In the case of former spouses or former romantic partners, the violent act is considered domestic violence whether the defendant and the victim lived together when the alleged act of violence occurred.
Crimes That Can be Categorized as Domestic Violence
Just as the law does not recognize “violence” as a single crime, family violence can include a variety of violent acts. These are some crimes that can be charged as family violence if the victim is a family member of the defendant:
- Aggravated assault
- Sexual assault
- Sexual abuse of a minor
Continuous violence against the family is its own separate crime. You can get charged with continuous violence against the family if there is evidence that you committed two acts of family violence in a twelve-month period, for example, if your mother-in-law calls the police to your house in February because you allegedly punched your wife and in July because you allegedly threatened your father-in-law with a baseball bat.
People who have a reasonable fear of family violence from a family member can go to court to get a protective order preventing that family member from contacting them, even if the family member has not been charged with a domestic violence offense. Even if the court has issued a protective order forbidding you to go near a certain family member or ex-partner, you are innocent until proven guilty in criminal court.
Contact the Fort Worth Law Office of Kyle Whitaker About Domestic Violence Cases
A criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing criminal charges for family violence. Contact the Law Office of Kyle Whitaker in Fort Worth, Texas to discuss your case.