Defining the Family Violence Victim in Texas
What Is a Family Violence Victim in Texas?
Texas family violence (i.e. domestic violence) laws utilize a broad definition of “family.” Many defendants are surprised to find they are facing family violence charges when the other participant in the conflict was not a spouse. In reality, family violence can occur between many family and household members other than spouses, expanding the reach and devastation a family violence conviction can have. It helps to define family violence under Texas statute and who are family violence “victims.” Without such a clarification, it can be difficult to know what you are up against when facing family violence charges.
Family Violence Explained
Texas statute defines family violence as “An act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself.”
Modern families come in all configurations that transcend traditional roles, ties of relation and even households. While this definition is indeed broad, it does us no good unless we know who a family or household member is.
Under Texas Family Code §71.003, a family member is:
An individual related by consanguinity or affinity (i.e. blood relation or through marriage), an individual who is a former spouse, the parent of your child, regardless of marital status, or a foster parent and foster child, irrespective of whether those individuals reside together.
Under Texas Family Code 71.005, a household is:
A unit composed of people living together in the same dwelling, without regard to whether they are related to each other.
Don’t Fight These Charges Alone
I hear of many defendants facing criminal charges involving family violence shrug off the seriousness of their outlook. Many think as long as the accuser recants and agrees to “drop the charges” that their name will be cleared. This is not the case. Once the district attorney’s office files charges, there is little the accuser can do to stop the process. And if the accuser is a family or household member as defined by Texas statute, you have your work cut out for you.
The good news is a skilled Texas family violence defense attorney might be able to obtain a dismissal. These cases are rarely open and shut. To convict you of family violence, the prosecution must prove certain elements beyond a reasonable doubt, such as intent and your relationship to the accuser. A seasoned attorney could potentially challenge either of these elements. Consult with a Dallas-Fort Worth family violence defense attorney with experience handling these types of cases. Inquire about the options he or she might suggest and their track record of success. It’s important to always fight family violence charges due to the long-term ramifications of a conviction.
If you are facing charges for family violence in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action given your circumstances. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email email@example.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.