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5 Things You Need to Know About Family Violence in Texas

Family law cases like divorce or child custody disputes often escalate in complexity and emotion when they involve domestic or family violence allegations. These allegations dramatically change case dynamics and may lead to severe legal consequences. Therefore, understanding the nature of family violence, its legal ramifications, and available resources is critical for victims and the accused. This article provides a thorough overview of family violence allegations in Houston, Texas.

Understanding the Concept of Family Violence in Houston

In Houston, family violence refers to intentional acts causing physical harm, injury, assault, or sexual assault to a family or household member. This term broadly includes various relationships, such as blood or marriage relations, current or former spouses, and others. Houston law also recognizes dating violence, which involves intentional acts causing harm to someone in a dating relationship.

The law defines a dating relationship as one that is current or has occurred within the preceding six months, involving a continuous, ongoing physical relationship.

Allegations of family violence bring serious legal challenges that demand careful resolution. To navigate these issues effectively, understanding the specific legal matters is essential.

Protective Orders and their Importance

Protective orders are crucial for safeguarding family violence victims. The court issues these orders to prevent future violence. Non-compliance can lead to serious legal consequences and complicate ongoing proceedings.

Consequences of Violating Protective Orders

Violating a protective order is a serious offense. It involves knowingly ignoring the order’s terms, leading to criminal charges and legal complications. Therefore, adhering to these conditions is vital.

The Issue of Child Abuse or Neglect

Accusations of child abuse or neglect often accompany family violence, potentially leading to child protective services involvement. These allegations need immediate legal attention to protect children’s best interests.

Given these complexities, consulting an experienced Houston family lawyer is crucial. A skilled attorney can offer comprehensive legal representation throughout these proceedings.

Why You Should Consult a Houston Family Violence Lawyer

If you’re implicated in family violence allegations in Houston, engaging a reputable family lawyer is vital. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, P.C., specializes in family violence cases, providing necessary defense or representation. 

Common Houston Family Violence Offenses

Understanding specific offenses related to family violence in Houston is crucial. These include domestic assault, aggravated domestic assault, protective order violation, stalking, and child abuse, each with varying penalties.

Domestic Assault (Tex. Penal Code § 22.01)

Individuals who intentionally, recklessly, or knowingly cause bodily injury to a household or family member, threaten to cause injury, or physically contact a family or household member can face domestic assault charges. This offense can lead to punishment ranging from a class C, B, or A misdemeanor to a third-degree felony, depending on its severity.

Aggravated Domestic Assault (Tex. Penal Code § 22.02)

Aggravated domestic assault charges apply when an assault offense is committed against a family or household member using a deadly weapon or causing serious bodily injury. This offense can be classified as a first or second-degree felony, depending on the circumstances.

Protective Order Violation (Tex. Penal Code § 25.07)

Individuals can face charges for violating the terms of a protective order if they knowingly or intentionally disregard the conditions stipulated in the order. This offense is punishable as a class A misdemeanor or a third-degree felony.

Stalking (Tex. Penal Code § 42.072)

When an individual knowingly engages in conduct repeatedly targeted at a specific person, such as a family or household member or a person in a dating relationship, they may face stalking charges. The conduct must be perceived as threatening, cause fear of serious harm, and be capable of causing fear of injury or death to a reasonable person. Stalking is generally punishable as a second or third-degree felony.

Child Abuse (Tex. Penal Code § 22.04)

Individuals who recklessly, knowingly, or intentionally cause bodily harm or injury to a child can face child abuse charges. The severity of this offense can lead to punishment ranging from a third, second, or first-degree felony.

Knowing these offenses and their specific elements is vital for both victims and those who have been accused to understand the potential legal consequences they may encounter.

Understanding the Penalties for Family Violence in Houston

The penalties for domestic violence offenses in Houston are detailed in Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code. These penalties can range significantly, influenced by factors such as the type and degree of the family violence offense, the use of weapons, the existence of a previous criminal record, the vulnerability of the victim (e.g., elderly, disabled, or a child), and the extent of bodily injury or harm caused. Examples of these penalties include:

  • Class C misdemeanor: A conviction can result in a fine of up to $500.
  • Class B misdemeanor: A conviction can lead to a jail sentence of up to 180 days and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
  • Class A misdemeanor: A conviction can result in a jail sentence of up to one year and/or a fine of up to $4,000.
  • Third-degree felony: A conviction can lead to a prison sentence ranging from two to ten years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Second-degree felony: A conviction can result in a prison sentence ranging from two to 20 years and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
  • First-degree felony: A conviction can lead to a prison term ranging from five to 99 years or life imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

These penalties represent general statutory guidelines and can vary based on the specific circumstances of each case. Understanding these potential penalties is crucial for those involved in family violence allegations to make informed decisions and take appropriate legal action.

Continuous Family Violence and Felony Offenses

Tex. Penal Code § 25.11 states that continuous family violence is a third-degree felony. This offense, defined as committing domestic violence offenses two or more times within 12 months, underscores the urgency of addressing family violence allegations promptly and effectively to prevent further harm.

Understanding the legal implications of family violence allegations is essential for both victims and the accused. Consequently, navigating these complex situations requires the expertise of an experienced Houston family violence lawyer. Therefore, seeking professional legal representation is vital to protect your rights and interests. Moreover, The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC, P.C., specializes in family violence cases, offering exceptional legal services. Hence, whether facing allegations or needing representation as a victim, their expert guidance is crucial. Contacting them at (281) 810-9760 provides the necessary support in these challenging times.

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