Domestic violence is a crime that affects family members and domestic partners alike. In Texas, there are three categories that can make up this offense: domestic assault, aggravated domestic assault, and continuous violence against the family. It’s important to understand what happens after a person is arrested for domestic violence.
Who are the Victims of Domestic Violence?
Someone will be arrested and charged with domestic violence, if they committed an offense against certain people. The following categories can be considered victims if the act of violence was perpetrated against them:
- Current or former spouse
- Child of a current or former spouse
- Other parent of the perpetrator’s child or children
- Foster child or foster parent of the perpetrator
- Family member of the perpetrator, whether by blood, adoption, or marriage
- Person with whom the perpetrator lives
- Person with whom the perpetrator has had an ongoing dating or romantic relationship.
What is Considered Domestic Assault?
In Texas, a person can be found guilty of domestic assault if they commit an assault against one of the above-mentioned parties. Assault can include anything of the following:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing another person bodily harm and injury
- Intentionally or knowingly threatening another person with imminent bodily harm or injury
- Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another person when the offender knows the victim will find offensive or provocative.
What Types of Charges an Abuser Might Face
If a person has no prior convictions for domestic assault and is convicted of the crime for the first time, they will be charged with a class A misdemeanor. However, if the individual has even one previous conviction, that charge can be elevated to a third-degree felony.
It’s important to note that Texas doesn’t have specific statutes that are categorized as domestic violence. Instead, they are prosecuted as misdemeanor assault crimes. However, at the same time, when a person is prosecuted, there is no need to involve the accuser.
What to Expect After an Arrest
After you are arrested, there are certain steps that are taken. You can expect the following to occur:
- You are booked: The arresting police officer will take you to a police station or straight to jail for booking. You get your mugshot taken as well as your fingerprints. In some cases, DNA samples may be taken as well depending on the circumstances of the domestic violence offense.
- You are interviewed: While you are held in a holding cell, the arresting officer and jail staff have to complete administrative tasks related to filing the charges against you. The officer or a detective then conducts an interview. However, it’s your legal right to refuse to answer questions and request a domestic violence lawyer in Dallas.
- You can make phone calls: You have the choice of making phone calls to an attorney as well as family members. You are not supposed to call the victim, but it’s not illegal unless it’s repetitive, threatening and considered harassment.
- You may be transported: You can be transported to a different jail facility depending on the severity of the crime, whether it’s a misdemeanor or felony.
- You appear in court: You are held in jail until you are due in court in front of a judge. The court will inform you of the charges against you, set bail or issue remand, which keeps you in jail, reveal conditions of your release, determine whether you need a public defender if you’re being charged with a felony and schedule your next court appearance.
Penalties for Domestic Violence in Texas
Most domestic violence cases are charged as misdemeanors in Texas. If the victim has not suffered long-term harm or physical pain, the perpetrator can be charged with a class C misdemeanor and be required to pay a fine of up to $500.
However, if there are physical marks on the victim, the charge is usually bumped up to a class A misdemeanor, which can result in a maximum fine of $4,000 and up to one year in jail. If there are previous convictions for the crime or if there was choking involved, the individual can be charged with a felony in the third degree, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in a penitentiary.
Speaking with an attorney is essential if you face domestic violence charges. They are serious and should be taken just as seriously. Always remember that you have the right to remain silent and hire a defense lawyer to do the talking for you.
With a BA in communications and paralegal experience, Irma C. Dengler decided to combine her skills. In the past, when she was involved in proceedings of her own, she witnessed firsthand the weight of legal language. A convoluted terminology can easily disarm the average American. Therefore, she set off to empower her readers by making the law more accessible to them. Although she has covered all areas of civil and criminal law, insurance-related issues, and her area of specialty are personal injury cases.