Defense Strategies in TX Domestic Violence Cases
Domestic Assault in Texas
Family violence or domestic assault occurs when a family or household member threatens or causes another family or household member bodily injury or physical harm in an assault or sexual assault. Family and household members include those who have the following types of relationships:
- Current or former co-residents
- Current or former romantic/dating partners
- Current or former spouses
- Foster child and parent
- Parents of the same child
- Related by blood, marriage, or adoption
Is Slapping Someone Assault in Texas?
Many clients wonder whether slaps or other actions that do not severely injure an alleged victim count as an assault. In Texas, an assault occurs when a person intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes another person to suffer bodily injury, threatens another person with bodily injury, or engages in provocative or offensive contact.
Under Texas Penal Code § 1.07, bodily injury includes any physical pain, illness, or impairment of a physical condition. While a slap will not cause a scar or permanent disfiguration, it does cause pain, which can constitute an assault. Other actions that can be considered assault are hair-pulling, choking, kicking, hitting, and throwing objects at a person.
How Long Do You Go to Jail for Domestic Violence in Texas?
In Texas, domestic violence (or assault) can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. In cases where the domestic assault involved threats of harm or offensive contact, a person can be charged with a class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $500. In a domestic assault where a person suffers bodily injury, the accused can be charged with a class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $4,000 and imprisonment for up to a year.
Domestic assault charges can be enhanced to a felony if the accused has a prior domestic assault conviction or the assault involved suffocation strangulation. With circumstances, a person can be charged with a third-degree felony, which is penalized by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment for two to 10 years.
If a person commits an aggravated assault against a family or household member, they can face aggravated assault charges. Aggravated assault refers to an assault that causes a person to suffer serious bodily injury or involves the use or exhibition of a deadly weapon; aggravated domestic assault is a first-degree felony, which is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or imprisonment for two to 20 years.
Common Defenses Used in Domestic Violence Cases
Your attorney can investigate the circumstances of your arrest, the police investigation, and the prosecution’s case to work and build a tailored defense against your charges. Here are some common defense strategies used to fight against domestic violence charges:
- Challenging the prosecution’s ability to meet the burden of proof. The state will need to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the accused committed an act of domestic violence; however, the defense can work to poke holes in their arguments and evidence.
- Questioning the accuser. In some cases, a person may allege that violence occurred to get revenge on the accused or that their testimony is false.
- Proving the injury was accidental. A key element of this offense is that the accused acted intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly. If the alleged victim was injured as a result of an accident, you can work to have the charges dismissed or reduced.
- Proving the accused acted in self-defense or in defense of another person. If the accuser told the police they were violent with you, you suffered documented defensive injuries, or there is evidence that you were defending yourself or someone else in the home, that can be a solid defense. However, the amount of violence you enacted should be proportionate to the violence the other party did or threatened to enact.
- Questioning the police’s actions during the investigation. The police must follow the proper procedure and adhere to the law while conducting their investigation and interviews. If the procedure was not followed, your attorney can work to have evidence, testimony, and other elements of the prosecution’s case dismissed.
Facing Domestic Violence Charges? Contact Our Team.
To protect your rights, freedoms, and reputation after being accused of committing domestic assault, you need a reliable attorney and a personalized defense strategy. At The Clark Law Firm, our attorneys have the skills, qualifications, and experience needed to defend you against domestic assault accusations. We offer our clients individualized attention and solutions and are known for our aggressive representation and comprehensive counsel.
To set up your complimentary case evaluation, call (817) 435-4970 or reach out online today. We have over 35 years of combined experience.