Domestic violence is the phrase for violence or other abuse committed in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or cohabitation, but Texas refers to this as family violence.
Texas Family Code § 71.004 defines the phrase family violence as meaning an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself; abuse by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household; or dating violence.
In most situations, police officers responding to a family violence call are very likely to make an arrest. This often means that individuals can face criminal charges even when there is little to no evidence that they ever engaged in any kind of domestic violence.
Were you recently arrested in Parker County for an alleged family violence offense? You are going to need to make sure that you have a skilled criminal defense lawyer before you appear in court.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy represents individuals all over Texas facing domestic violence charges and we can fight to possibly get the charges reduced or dismissed. You can have us examine your case and discuss all of your legal options when you call (817) 458-3226 or contact our firm online to take advantage of a free consultation.
Family Violence Definitions in Texas
Family violence often involves a family or household member. Under the Texas Family Code, family is defined as including:
Individuals related by consanguinity (blood relatives) or affinity (they are married to each other or the spouse of one of the individuals is related by consanguinity to the other individual);
Individuals who are former spouses of each other;
Individuals who are the parents of the same child, without regard to marriage; and
A foster child and foster parent, without regard to whether those individuals reside together.
A household is defined as a unit composed of persons living together in the same dwelling, without regard to whether they are related to each other. Texas Family Code § 71.006 establishes that a member of a household includes a person who previously lived in a household.
Child abuse is another issue relating to family violence that is used in the definition of family violence and refers to:
Physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child, or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child, including an injury that is at variance with the history or explanation is given and excluding an accident or reasonable discipline by a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator that does not expose the child to a substantial risk of harm;
Sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare, including conduct that constitutes the offense of continuous sexual abuse of young child or children, indecency with a child, sexual assault, or aggravated sexual assault;
Compelling or encouraging the child to engage in sexual conduct, including compelling or encouraging the child in a manner that constitutes an offense of trafficking of persons, prostitution, or compelling prostitution;
Causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing the photographing, filming, or depicting of the child if the person knew or should have known that the resulting photograph, film, or depiction of the child is obscene or pornographic;
The current use by a person of a controlled substance in a manner or to the extent that the use results in physical, mental, or emotional injury to a child;
Causing, expressly permitting, or encouraging a child to use a controlled substance;
Causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing a sexual performance by a child;
Forcing or coercing a child to enter into a marriage.
Dating violence does not usually involve family members but could in some scenarios. The definition of dating violence is an act, other than a defensive measure to protect oneself, by an alleged offender that:
is committed against a victim or applicant for a protective order with whom the alleged offender has or has had a dating relationship or because of the alleged victim’s or applicant’s marriage to or dating relationship with an individual with whom the alleged offender is or has been in a dating relationship or marriage; and
is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the victim or applicant in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault.
As for what constitutes a dating relationship, the phrase is defined as a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship is determined based on consideration of:
the length of the relationship;
the nature of the relationship; and
the frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
Another common term in family violence cases is the protective order, which is usually a judge or magistrate’s order for emergency protection issued by the criminal court after an alleged offender is arrested for committing family violence. Judges will usually issue temporary protective orders before final protective order hearings are held to determine if an order needs to remain in effect longer.
Types of Family Violence Offenses in Parker County
There are many different kinds of family violence crimes a person can be charged within Texas. Some of the most common generally include:
Aggravated Domestic Assault — An alleged offender commits aggravated domestic assault if they commit an aggravated assault against a spouse, family member, household member, or dating partner and intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes serious bodily injury to another person, or uses or exhibits a deadly weapon in the course of committing any assault crime, including threatening another with bodily injury or engaging in conduct that the victim likely will find offensive. An offense is a second-degree felony, except that it is a first-degree felony if the alleged offender uses a deadly weapon during the commission of the assault and causes serious bodily injury to a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b) , 71.003 , or 71.005 of the Family Code; the offense is committed by a public servant acting under color of the servant’s office or employment; against a person the actor knows is a public servant while the public servant is lawfully discharging an official duty, or in retaliation or on account of an exercise of official power or performance of an official duty as a public servant; in retaliation against or on account of the service of another as a witness, prospective witness, informant, or person who has reported the occurrence of a crime; against a person the actor knows is a security officer while the officer is performing a duty as a security officer; or the alleged offender is in a motor vehicle and knowingly discharges a firearm at or in the direction of a habitation, building, or vehicle; is reckless as to whether the habitation, building, or vehicle is occupied; and in discharging the firearm, causes serious bodily injury to any person.
Abandoning or Endangering Child — A person commits an offense if, having custody, care, or control of a child younger than 15 years, they intentionally abandon the child in any place under circumstances that expose the child to an unreasonable risk of harm, or they intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, by act or omission, engage in conduct that places a child younger than 15 years in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment. This is a state jail felony if the alleged offender abandoned the child with intent to return for the child, or a third-degree felony if the alleged offender abandoned the child without intent to return for the child.
Harassment — A person commits an offense if, with intent to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, or embarrass another, the person initiates communication and in the course of the communication makes a comment, request, suggestion, or proposal that is obscene; threatens, in a manner reasonably likely to alarm the person receiving the threat, to inflict bodily injury on the person or to commit a felony against the person, a member of the person’s family or household, or the person’s property; conveys, in a manner reasonably likely to alarm the person receiving the report, a false report, which is known by the conveyor to be false, that another person has suffered death or serious bodily injury; causes the telephone of another to ring repeatedly or makes repeated telephone communications anonymously or in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another; makes a telephone call and intentionally fails to hang up or disengage the connection; knowingly permits a telephone under the person’s control to be used by another to commit an offense under this section; or sends repeated electronic communications in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another. An offense under this section is a Class B misdemeanor, except that the offense is a Class A misdemeanor if the alleged offender has previously been convicted under this section; or the offense was committed under Subsection (a)(7) and the offense was committed against a child under 18 years of age with the intent that the child commits suicide, or engage in conduct causing serious bodily injury to the child; or the alleged offender has previously violated a temporary restraining order or injunction issued under Chapter 129A, Civil Practice and Remedies Code.
Leaving a Child in a Vehicle — A person commits an offense if they intentionally or knowingly leave a child in a motor vehicle for longer than five minutes, knowing that the child is younger than seven years of age; and not attended by an individual in the vehicle who is 14 years of age or older. An offense is a Class C misdemeanor.
Injury to a Child — A person commits an offense if they intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, by act or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly by omission, cause to a child, elderly individual, or disabled individual serious bodily injury; serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury; or bodily injury. Criminal charges can range from state jail felony to second-degree felony.
Domestic Assault — An assault charge becomes a third-degree felony when it is committed against a family or household member or dating partner.
Assault by Strangulation — It is a third-degree felony if a person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to a family or household member or dating partner; intentionally or knowingly threatens a family or household member or dating partner with imminent bodily injury, or intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with a family or household member or dating partner when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.
Bigamy — An individual commits an offense if they are legally married and they purport to marry or do marry a person other than their spouse in this state, or any other state or a foreign country, under circumstances that would, but for the alleged offender’s prior marriage, constitute a marriage; or lives with a person other than their spouse in this state under the appearance of being married; or they know that a married person other than their spouse is married and they purport to marry or do marry that person in this state, or any other state or a foreign country, under circumstances that would, but for the person’s prior marriage, constitute a marriage; or live with that person in this state under the appearance of being married. This is a third-degree felony.
Child Abuse — Child abuse charges can range from state jail felony to second-degree felony.
Continuous Violence Against the Family — A person commits an offense if, during a period that is 12 months or less in duration, the person two or more times engages in conduct that constitutes an offense under Texas Family Code § 22.01(a)(1) against another person or persons whose relationship to or association with the alleged offender is a family or household member or dating partner. This is a third-degree felony.
Interference with Emergency Request for Assistance — An individual commits an offense if the individual knowingly prevents or interferes with another individual’s ability to place an emergency call or to request assistance, including a request for assistance using an electronic communications device, in an emergency from a law enforcement agency, medical facility, or other agency or entity the primary purpose of which is to provide for the safety of individuals. An individual also commits an offense if the individual recklessly renders unusable an electronic communications device, including a telephone, that would otherwise be used by another individual to place an emergency call or to request assistance in an emergency from a law enforcement agency, medical facility, or other agency or entity the primary purpose of which is to provide for the safety of individuals. An offense is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is a state jail felony if the alleged offender has previously been convicted under this section.
Interference With Child Custody — A person commits an offense if the person takes or retains a child younger than 18 years of age when the person knows that the person’s taking or retention violates the express terms of a judgment or order, including a temporary order, of a court disposing of the child’s custody; when the person has not been awarded custody of the child by a court of competent jurisdiction, knows that a suit for divorce or a civil suit or application for habeas corpus to dispose of the child’s custody has been filed, and takes the child out of the geographic area of the counties composing the judicial district if the court is a district court or the county if the court is a statutory county court, without the permission of the court and with the intent to deprive the court of authority over the child; or outside of the United States with the intent to deprive a person entitled to possession of or access to the child of that possession or access and without the permission of that person. This is a state jail felony.
Stalking / Aggravated Stalking — A person commits an offense if the person, on more than one occasion and pursuant to the same scheme or course of conduct that is directed specifically at another person, knowingly engages in conduct that constitutes an offense under Texas Penal Code § 42.07 (harassment), or that the alleged offender knows or reasonably should know the other person will regard as threatening bodily injury or death for the other person; bodily injury or death for a member of the other person’s family or household or for an individual with whom the other person has a dating relationship; or that an offense will be committed against the other person’s property; causes the other person, a member of the other person’s family or household, or an individual with whom the other person has a dating relationship to be placed in fear of bodily injury or death or in fear that an offense will be committed against the other person’s property, or to feel harassed, annoyed, alarmed, abused, tormented, embarrassed, or offended; and would cause a reasonable person to fear bodily injury or death for himself or herself; fear bodily injury or death for a member of the person’s family or household or for an individual with whom the person has a dating relationship; fear that an offense will be committed against the person’s property; or feel harassed, annoyed, alarmed, abused, tormented, embarrassed, or offended. This is a third-degree felony although it can be a second-degree felony if the alleged offender has previously been convicted of an offense under this section.
Violation of Protective Order — A violation of a protective order is typically a Class A misdemeanor, but it can be a third-degree felony if the alleged offender has previous convictions.
Weatherford Family Violence Resources
Family Violence Program | Texas Health and Human Services — Visit this section of the Texas Health and Human Services website to learn more about the Family Violence Program. Find services for survivors of family violence as well as centers that provide temporary shelter and support services and centers with support services only. Also, learn about filing a complaint.
Freedom House of Parker County — Freedom House provides a number of different services to victims of family violence in Parker County. These services include emergency shelter, accompaniment to courts, hospitals, and law enforcement, and legal advocacy. Find answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs).
Find a Family Violence Lawyer in Parker County | Law Office of Richard C. McConathy
If you were arrested for family violence in the greater Weatherford area, it is imperative for you to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy is ready to take your call.
Our firm understands the many complications these arrests can place on daily lives and we work to help you restore some order. We will be able to sit down with you and fully discuss your case as soon as you call (817) 458-3226 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.
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