We have all heard the terms domestic violence and family violence used quite freely, but is there a difference, and if so, what is it. The fact is that, in the State of Texas, the terms domestic violence and family violence are virtually interchangeable. Texas, however, does have a law entitled continuous violence against the family, and this is a distinctly different charge. Let’s take a closer look.
Domestic Violence/Family Violence
Domestic violence and family violence, which you can use interchangeably, break down into the following categories:
Domestic assault (Learn more about the elements of a domestic assault case)
Aggravated domestic assault (Simple vs. Aggravated Assault in Texas)
Continuous violence against the family
Family members in the context of all of these charges include the following relationships:
A current or former romantic partner
A current or former spouse
A member of one’s household
A Parent who shares a child
A foster parent or foster child
Anyone who is related by either blood, marriage, or adoption
Domestic assault refers to assault against a family member, and the assault itself involves one of the following:
Intentionally or recklessly injuring the other person
Intentionally threatening the other person with imminent bodily harm
Intentionally causing physical contact that the accused knows or reasonably should know that the victim will find either offensive or provocative (Is It Criminal Intent or an Honest Mistake?)
Aggravated Domestic Assault
Aggravated domestic assault refers to aggravated assault against a family member. The aggravated part of this charge relates to carrying out the domestic assault and either causing serious bodily injury or using a deadly weapon – which amounts to anything that has the potential to cause serious bodily injury – in the process.
Continuous Violence Against the Family
The charge of continuous violence against the family can be levied against anyone who faces charges for two domestic assaults over the course of 12 months. It is not necessary that the two charges lead to arrest or to conviction – and they need not involve the same victim – for the charge of continuous violence against the family to apply.
The Associated Penalties
The penalties for domestic violence convictions in Texas are steep, including:
A domestic assault charge for a first-time offender is a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a jail sentence of up to 1 year and a fine of up to $4,000.
Both continuous violence against the family charges and domestic assault charges for repeat offenders are third-degree felonies, which carry prison sentences of from 2 to 10 years and fines of up to $10,000.
An aggravated domestic assault charge is a second-degree felony, which carries a prison sentence of from 2 to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Do Not Put off Consulting with an Experienced Lawyer
Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard – proudly serving Killeen, Texas – is a practiced criminal Lawyer whose focus is on helping clients like you prevail against unjust charges. For more information about how we can help, please do not hesitate to contact or call us at 254-501-4040 today.