Life is stressful, and living with someone else presents plenty of difficult moments – whether the other person happens to be a family member or not. The global pandemic has highlighted this point quite succinctly, and domestic violence incidents are on the rise. Sometimes, a domestic incident can get out of hand, and the police are called. If you find yourself in such a situation, reach out to an experienced Fort Hood criminal defense lawyer for the professional legal counsel you need.
Domestic Assault in the State of Texas
Issues related to family violence in Texas are determined by the state’s assault statutes. As such, it is important to understand the state’s basic assault laws.
Simple assault amounts to intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing someone else to be harmed – or threatening to do so. Additionally, engaging in physical contact with someone else that he or she would find either offensive or provocative also qualifies as simple assault.
Aggravated assault adds upon the charge of simple assault. To qualify as an aggravated assault, the accused must have either used or brandished a deadly weapon in the commission of the crime – or must have caused the victim to suffer a serious injury.
When the assault case involves violence that happens between family members, between a couple that is in a romantic relationship, or between people who share a home, additional restrictions and/or penalties can apply.
Your Relationship with the Other Person
Your relationship with the person who accuses you of domestic assault can increase the criminal charges you face. For example, it can elevate a misdemeanor to a felony or can increase the severity of the felony you face. In Texas, family violence relates to those who are related by both marriage and blood, including:
A parent and child
A former spouse’s child
A parent and adopted child
A grandparent and grandchild
In Texas, however, people who live in the same dwelling or who used to live in the same dwelling – whether they happen to be related or not – are also included in this categorization.
A Tweak in the Law
The State of Texas recently passed a bill that alters the kind of evidence that can be employed in cases involving those who are connected by a domestic relationship (as above). In the past, the matter of a domestic relationship between the defendant and the accuser was only admissible as evidence to help sketch a broader problem in cases involving domestic violence. Now, such evidence is admissible in any criminal case that it applies.