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What Legally Constitutes Domestic Abuse in Texas?

The Law Firm of Andrea M. Kolski

What Allows Domestic Violence Charges to Be Filed in Texas?

Around 700,000 people are wrongfully arrested for the crime of domestic violence each year.

This terrifyingly large number shows us that false allegations are not uncommon, and far too many people have to face unnecessary jail time for crimes they did not commit.

If you or someone you know is in a similar position—facing domestic violence charges when your actions did nothing to warrant them—you must feel extremely frustrated, and rightly so.

However, the first step to dealing with false criminal charges is to understand how the legal system works within the state you’re in.

So, let’s start by having a closer look at the definition of domestic violence under Texan laws.

How Is Domestic Violence Defined Under Texan Law?

Domestic violence is defined under the Texas Penal Code, title 5, chapter 22 and section 22.01.

For an act to be considered as domestic violence, it needs to contain the following elements.

1. It must be an act of violence.

2. Such violence must be against a member of the family, household, or a current or past dating partner.

Additionally, keep in mind that your former or current spouse or the children you had with them, a foster child or foster parent, a family member related to the perpetrator by blood, adoption, or even marriage are all included as probable victims to domestic violence under this act.

What exactly is “violence”?

Domestic violence is further categorized into 3, more specific crimes—domestic assault, aggravated domestic assault, and continuous violence. Each of these charges have different penalties.

Domestic Assault

Here, the act of domestic violence refers to “assault.”

A charge for domestic assault can be made if the following acts have been committed against one of the persons specified above.

1. The perpetrator must intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly cause bodily injury to the said person.


2. Intentionally or knowingly threaten the other person with injury to their body/come in physical contact with them in a manner that they know or have reason to know the victim will find offensive or provocative.

If you’re a first-time offender, you will be charged with a class A misdemeanor. However, subsequent offenders will face third-degree felony charges.

Aggravated Domestic Assault

Aggravated assault covers a more severe form of injury.

To be charged for this crime, the following additional elements need to be present.

1. The intentional, knowing, or reckless cause of a serious bodily injury. For example, disfiguration, fractures, severe head injury.


2. Using or exhibiting a deadly weapon during an assault. This weapon must be such that it has the ability to cause death, or severe injury.

This kind of crime is automatically classified as a felony. If a weapon is involved, it will be considered a felony in the first degree.

Continuous Violence Against the Family

If a person has been arrested or convicted for two domestic assaults within twelve months, they can be charged with continuous violence against their family.

It is important to note that the victim of both crimes need not be the same.

This is a third-degree felony and calls for a penalty between 2-10 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000.

Possible Defenses Against False Allegations

Being imprisoned or fined for something you didn’t do can be a terrifying thought.

But, keep in mind that there are ways to defend yourself. Here are a few of your options.

Lack of Intention

Domestic assault or aggravated domestic assault need to contain the element of “intent.”

If the injury was caused purely by accident or mistake, and you were not acting deliberately or purposefully, your actions will not constitute a crime under Texan laws.

No Knowledge

Similarly, even if your actions were deliberate, but the consequences (injury) couldn’t have been foreseen, you are not guilty.

For this to be a valid defense, you must prove that the consequences were outside of what you could have “reasonably expected to know.”

The Absence of an Offense

It could also be so, that no actual offense occurred, and that you are being sued out of spite.

In this case, you can also point out the lack of evidence on the part of the alleged victim, the lack of witnesses, and other glaring errors in the prosecutor’s case.

An Act of Self-Defense

Finally, it is possible that your actions were deliberate, and did cause injury, but were done so in self-defense.

In such circumstances, it is important for you to prove that you were somehow provoked into behaving the way you did, and you will have to justify your actions.

Facing False Domestic Violence Charges? Here’s What You Should Do

Feel like you or someone you know has been unjustly accused of a crime you did not commit?

Then it’s time to defend yourself.

First, it is essential that you document your side of the story, as you remember it, and find any evidence you can to support your story. Secondly, it is important to get a good criminal defense attorney to defend you in court.

Given that domestic violence laws vary from state to state, it is essential to find yourself someone who has experience practicing within Texas itself, so that they are better prepared to fight your domestic violence charges in court.

Feel free to visit our law firm, give us a call, or get in touch with us via email at any time to arrange a consultation regarding your case. Our qualified attorneys will be happy to assist you!

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Phone: 832-381-3430

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