Have you been accused of domestic violence? If you have been charged for a domestic violence crime it can affect you in many ways. Not only will if have an affect on your personal life but it can also appear on your record and negatively impact your professional life. For this reason, if you have been charged, you should contact an experienced domestic violence lawyer in Austin immediately. Matthew Shrum is a dedicated domestic violence attorney in Austin that will fight for your rights and ensure that you are not stressed during the whole process. Not all attorneys are the same and working with our law firm will ensure that your case is given the time it deserves.
For a free consultation, email us or call us today.
Domestic Violence Information for Austin Texas
Domestic violence is not specifically defined under Texas law. For some offenses, “family violence” is an element of the crime. In others, it is not. However, certain relationships are referred to in the Penal Code and the Family Code that set forth what family relationships are, and these definitions can make a difference in the charges you could face, as well as the consequences if you are convicted:
Section 71.004 of the Texas Family Code defines “family violence” more broadly than you might expect. It includes violence not only between spouses, and against children and other blood relations, but also former spouses, members (and former members) of the same household, and violence involving foster parents and children. Family violence includes “dating violence.”
Section 71.004 of the Family Code defines dating relationships for purposes of whether a particular act constitutes dating violence. They include present and former dating relationships; the test of whether your relationship fits within the scope of the statute is dependent upon the nature and length of the relationship, and the frequency of the interaction between the parties.
Having defined the relationships that will support a family violence charge, it is also important to understand which specific offenses are most often involved when we speak about domestic violence.
Offenses Similar to Domestic Violence Charges in Austin
Although domestic violence is not listed as a specific offense under the Texas Penal Code, there are certain crimes that are commonly associated with family violence. Examples of these crimes are:
Assault – This includes not only intentionally causing physical injury, but also threats of bodily injury that place the other person in fear of imminent injury. A simple assault is ordinarily a class A misdemeanor, but when it involves people in a family or dating relationship, it is a third degree felony if (a) the defendant has a prior family violence conviction, or (b) it involves strangulation (impeding blood flow).
Interference with emergency request for assistance. Under section 42.062 of the Penal Code, interfering with a 911 call or similar request for emergency assistance is a class A misdemeanor.
Aggravated assault – A family violence assault using a deadly weapon, where the victim suffers serious bodily injury, is a first degree felony.
Stalking – in the context of domestic violence, is defined as more than one instance of harassment, threats of bodily injury, or threats against property, involving those in a family or dating relationship. A first offense is a third degree felony.
Sexual assault – The definition includes, among other things, forcible sexual intercourse (rape), including spousal rape.
Criminal trespass – Entering or remaining on or in the property of another person without consent, with knowledge that entry was prohibited, is a misdemeanor.
Criminal mischief – Intentionally damaging the property of another person is likewise a misdemeanor. Harassment is a misdemeanor, and it includes not only acts such as making harassing phone calls, but also threats of injury or of the commission of a felony against the victim or the victim’s family.
Terroristic threats – Under section 22.07(a)(2), this includes threats of violence which are intended to place anyone in fear of imminent bodily injury. It is ordinarily a class B misdemeanor. However, where the act also constitutes family violence, it is a class A misdemeanor.
Protective order violation – Violation of a family violence protective order is generally a class A misdemeanor. PC 25.07.
Continuous violence against the family. This is a separate offense, consisting of two or more family violence offenses within a 12-month period. It is a third degree felony.
In addition, federal law (18 U.S.C. § 2261) makes it a felony to travel in interstate commerce to commit or attempt to commit certain domestic violence offenses.
Get a Free Consultation With Our Domestic Violence Attorney in Austin Today
If you have been charged with a domestic violence charge in Austin then you should not wait or hesitate to contact an experienced lawyer. Our Austin domestic violence attorney is dedicated and will give you the time and attention that your case deserves. Matthew Shrum of the The Law Office of Matthew Shrum is an attorney that fights vigorously for your rights. Email us or call us today for a free consultation. Our criminal defense attorney in Austin is waiting to help you.