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TX defense lawyerFamily violence is taken very seriously in Texas. Assaults against a romantic partner, relative, or household member can lead to very serious penalties. You are likely to be served with a protection order barring you from returning to your own home if you live with the alleged victim before you are even released from jail. In addition, you could be facing prison time depending on the exact offense charged.

If you have been accused of any type of family violence offense, it is very important that you work closely with a skilled criminal defense lawyer to give you the best chances of avoiding serious, life-altering penalties.

What Are the 3 Types of Family Violence Crimes in Texas?

In Texas, there are three offenses that fall under the category of family violence. Both misdemeanor and felony charges are possible, depending on the severity of the alleged offense and whether you have prior offenses. The three types of family violence crimes are:

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TX defense lawyerThe state of Texas takes crimes of violence seriously, and this is especially true if these crimes involve family or household members. Although a conviction for certain types of domestic violence, such as threats or offensive conduct, may carry only misdemeanor penalties, other domestic assault convictions can carry far more serious penalties.

One of the more serious domestic crimes a person can commit is continuous violence against the family. It is important to understand what acts can allow for this charge and what the penalties are. If you have been charged with continuous violence against the family, contact a Texas criminal defense attorney right away so you can start building a strong defense.

What Is Continuous Violence Against the Family?

A crime committed against a family or household member, including current and former spouses and dating partners, parents of a child (even if they do not live together), relatives, foster relationships, and roommates, is domestic assault.

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TX defense lawyerCrimes involving family or domestic violence in Texas can carry penalties substantially greater than similar violent crimes that are committed against people who are not family. Texas law not only punishes past family violence crimes but contains provisions intended to prevent future crimes against family or household members.

If you have been accused of domestic violence, it is imperative that you speak with a qualified Texas criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. These crimes can carry serious penalties that could permanently impact your future.

What Is Considered Family Violence in Texas?

Before we can understand what constitutes family violence in Texas, we need to know exactly who is considered a family or household member. Texas includes the following relationships in this category:

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TX defense lawyerA Magistrate’s Emergency Order of Protection (commonly referred to as a “protective order” or “EPO”) is a legally binding order that immediately restricts the behavior of someone arrested for an alleged act of family violence (known as the “respondent”).

Among other things, an EOP may prohibit the respondent from communicating with the alleged victim, going within a minimum distance of the alleged victim or their residence, or speaking to or going near the alleged victim’s children. This is true even if the respondent lives at the same residence as the victim.

When Will a Judge Remove or Amend an Emergency Order of Protection?

An EOP is often a necessary protection for victims of domestic violence. However, because EOPs are powerful orders that have serious consequences, sometimes an alleged victim may make false allegations that result in an EOP. Other times, an EOP may be issued for a family violence arrest but the respondent needs it modified so they can return home to take care of work or family responsibilities.

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TX defense lawyerThere is no doubt that domestic violence and abuse are very real problems in Texas. However, not all accusations of domestic violence or domestic assault are true. Sometimes a family member, former romantic partner, or household member makes up an accusation of violence or abuse. An ex-spouse may claim family violence or child abuse in an effort to gain an advantage in a child custody dispute. An angry girlfriend or boyfriend may claim that you hit him or her to seek revenge for infidelity. The possibilities are endless. If you have been falsely accused of hurting a current or former family or household member, contact a criminal defense lawyer right away.

Do Not Seek Retaliation or Confront the Person Who Accused You

If you have been accused of something that you did not do, you may understandably feel angry and offended. However, it is important not to confront your accuser. This only gives him or her the opportunity to make further claims against you. It is possible that you are subject to an order of protection or “restraining order.” This is a court order that may prohibit you from contacting or coming within a certain distance of another person. A Temporary Ex Parte Order may be obtained in Texas without a hearing. This means that you may even be subject to a protective order without knowing it. Confronting your accuser will likely aggravate the situation and may even lead to criminal charges for violating a protective order.

Gather Evidence That Can Be Used in Your Defense

Domestic assault is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $4,000. It is a felony offense punished even more harshly if you have been convicted of domestic assault previously. Therefore, it is important to start building your defense right away. One of the best ways that you can help your lawyer build a solid defense against domestic violence charges is to gather evidence. Save text messages, emails, and voicemails that can help tell your side of the story. Write down your version of any altercation soon after it happens so that you have a record of what happened.

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