The National TOP 100 Trial Lawyers
America's Top 100 - Criminal Defense Attorneys
Avvo Reviews
Avvo Ratting 10.0 Top Attorney
Avvo Clients' Choice Award 2018
The University of Texas at Austin School of Law

Your Essential Guide to Texas Domestic Violence Laws

The Law Firm of Andrea M. Kolski

Domestic violence is a fact of life in the lives of millions of Americans. 10 million Americans are affected by it every year. One in four women and one in nine men are victims of it.

While Texas domestic violence laws are in place to stop abusers and protect family members, the law can also make life a nightmare for those who have been wrongly accused of domestic violence. Being accused of domestic violence is a serious matter and it’s important to understand the laws in order to stand up for your rights.

What exactly is family violence? What are the different types of domestic assault a person can experience? What are defenses against charges, and how can a lawyer help?

Below is an overview of Texas domestic violence laws. Read on to better understand how domestic violence laws work in Texas.

Family Violence

Section 71 of the Texas Family Code discusses family violence. Family violence occurs when a family member commits an act on another family member that is supposed to hurt them.

The harm may or may not actually occur. The act may amount to an assault, sexual assault, or a verbal threat that presents a fear of imminent harm.

Dating violence can count as an act of family violence. It occurs when someone commits an act that is supposed to result in bodily harm to their dating partner. The two parties may have ended their relationship previously.

Domestic Assault

Section 22 of the Texas Penal Code discusses assault. It occurs when someone causes bodily injury to someone else or threatens them with bodily injury.

The action that resulted in the injury may have been unintentional. But someone who recklessly puts someone else in harm’s way can receive an assault charge.

An assault becomes a domestic assault if a person harms one of their family members. In general, assault is a Class A misdemeanor, including first-time instances of domestic assault. A defendant faces up to one year in prison and may have to pay a $4,000 fine.

When someone commits multiple domestic assaults, they receive a third-degree felony. It carries a minimum sentence of two years in prison, which a judge can extend to 10 years.

Aggravated assault occurs when someone causes serious bodily harm or uses a deadly weapon during the assault. Aggravated domestic assault is a second-degree felony, regardless of prior offenses. It carries a minimum sentence of two years in prison and a maximum sentence of 20 years.

Violation of Family Court Orders

The Texas Penal Code describes numerous family offenses against the family in Section 25. Some but not all of them relate to domestic violence.

Section 25.03 criminalizes interference with child custody. Someone commits the act when they take control of their child against the terms of their child custody order. Interference is a state jail felony, which can result in imprisonment for up to two years.

Section 25.07 discusses violation of orders during domestic violence cases. A judge may limit one parent’s access to their child or to their spouse. If that parent commits an act of family violence or if they communicate with a family member, they have violated their order.

Violation of family court orders is a Class A misdemeanor. But it carries third-degree felony weight if the defendant has been convicted of two or more family violence acts in the past.

Continuous Violence Against the Family

Continuous violence against the family is for repeat offenders. It is a charge that is independent of family violence or domestic assault.

Someone commits it after they commit two or more acts of domestic assault within a year. The acts do not have to be against the same person. But they can only receive one charge if their acts were against the same person.

Continuous violence is a third-degree felony. The offense has a broad definition. The jury does not have to agree unanimously on the specific acts of assault or when they occurred.

Defenses in Texas Domestic Violence Laws

There are several defenses that a defendant can claim. Self-defense applies to all accusations of family violence. A defendant must prove that they used force in order to keep themselves or a loved one from getting injured.

Medical care is another defense. The process of performing CPR can damage someone’s rib cage or respiratory system. But it is necessary to cause this harm in order to stop a person’s cardiac arrest.

Someone can defend themselves against interference with child custody by referring to their custody order. They may have needed to pick up their child early because the other parent couldn’t fulfill their responsibilities.

What a Domestic Violence Attorney Can Do

Anyone accused of domestic violence should contact a lawyer. Domestic violence charges are extremely serious. In addition to the criminal penalties, a charge can cause you to lose job opportunities and friendships.

The best attorney for a domestic violence case is someone with personal experience in criminal justice. They have experience working with clients accused of serious offenses, including domestic violence.

Location also plays a big part in a criminal justice attorney’s ability to represent your case. Anyone facing charges should find lawyers based near them or where their case is pending. This will put local legal resources at their disposal at all times. The best lawyer will use their local connections to make the legal process easier for their clients.

An experienced domestic violence attorney will know what to do quickly for the best outcome. They can look into restraining orders or give advice on how to properly separate feuding spouses from each other. They can also make filings about child custody, property division, and living conditions if needed.

Get Out of Domestic Violence

Texas domestic violence laws cover a range of offenses. Family violence is an umbrella term that covers any acts or threats of violence against family members. Whether you’re a victim or falsely accused of domestic violence, don’t take the law into your own hands. Get a domestic violence attorney on your side.

Domestic assault can occur after a threat of violence or a violent act. Aggravated assault involves extreme violence or a deadly weapon. Either can occur due to recklessness.

Repeat offenders face higher criminal penalties. They can also be charged with continuous violence. Yet defenses are present for all offenses.

Whatever your situation, domestic violence accusations can bring life-changing consequences if they’re not handled with experienced legal help. Montgomery county Domestic violence attorney Andrea M. Kolski has over 20 years experience defending the accused. Her track record of success is second to none. if you need legal help, Contact us today to get your life back on track.

Visit Us

By Appointment Only - Contact Us

The Woodlands Office
8505 Technology Forest Pl #104

The Woodlands, TX 77381

Phone: 832-381-3430

Get in Touch

Free Consultation 832-381-3430

What Our Customers Say

"Andrea is a fantastic attorney versed in many fields. I've retained her services for criminal defense, nondisclosure orders, and family law. She has always provided a...

Steven Street Texas

"Andrea and her staff are definitely one of the greatest of all time. Their professionalism and knowledge of the law and how the system works is unparalleled. I have her...

Dwight Osteen Texas

“Andrea is the most amazing attorney I have ever had in my corner.” — Vincent, client facing 2nd DWI charge, CASE DISMISSED