The State of Texas recognizes three crimes of domestic violence. The three charges vary in degree and attendant consequences. If you are ever charged with domestic violence in Texas, it is critical to understand the distinction between the three charges. Domestic violence charges are extremely serious, so if you are facing them, you need an experienced Killeen criminal defense attorney on your side. (Read more about the three categories of domestic violence in Texas)
Domestic assault is defined as either the threat of violence or an actual act of violence against someone with whom the alleged perpetrator has an intimate relationship. Such relationships include the following:
- A current or former spouse (Read more about an abusive spouse and divorce)
- A current or former girlfriend or boyfriend
- The other parent of the alleged perpetrator’s children
- The child of a current or former spouse
- A foster child or foster parent
- A blood relative or adopted relative
- A roommate
The violent act or threat itself must involve either bodily injury or the threat of imminent bodily injury (respectively). Further, the act must be performed in a manner that is intentional, knowing, or reckless. The violent act can also relate to physical contact that the victim reasonably considers offensive or provocative. A first-time domestic assault conviction is a Class A misdemeanor, but if there are prior convictions, it is a third-degree felony.
Aggravated Domestic Assault
A charge of aggravated domestic assault is defined as an act that causes serious bodily injury to a victim (in any of the classifications specified above) or to the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon while carrying out an assault or the threat of an assault. The serious bodily injury component encompasses more serious injuries than the bodily injury necessary for domestic assault. Such injuries can include traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, disfigurement, and more. A deadly weapon is any object that can be used to kill another person, including knives, guns, brass knuckles, and other obvious weapons, but it can also include less obvious weaponry, such as baseball bats, golf clubs, rope, and more. An aggravated domestic assault conviction is a second-degree felony.
Continuous Violence Against the Family
If the alleged perpetrator was charged with two or more counts of domestic violence in the two months prior, he or she may be charged with continuous violence against the family. This charge can be brought whether the person charged was convicted of the previous crimes or not, and it can apply across multiple victims. A conviction is a third-degree felony.
If You Are Facing Domestic Abuse Charges, Contact an Experienced Attorney Today
Domestic abuse charges are serious charges that can seriously alter the course of your life. If you have been charged with domestic abuse of any kind, attorney Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, has the experience, dedication, and knowledge to aggressively advocate for your rights and for the just resolution of your case. Mr. Pritchard is committed to helping you, so please do not hesitate to contact or call us at (254) 220-4225 for more information today.