Under Texas law, committing an assault against a family member, a dating partner, or even a resident of the same household can lead to charges of domestic or family violence. Domestic assaults are treated more severely than assaults against strangers due to the inherent trust and intimacy involved in these relationships.
Impact of a Family Violence Conviction in Austin
A family violence conviction in Austin, TX can have far-reaching consequences. Not only could you face increased jail time, but you may also lose certain civil rights, such as the right to possess a firearm. It is essential to seek help from an Austin domestic violence attorney to protect your rights and help navigate the complex legal process.
Categories of Domestic Violence Cases in Austin
Texas recognizes three types of family violence, and each category comes with its own unique set of challenges and penalties.
According to Texas Penal Code §22.01(b)(2), a person commits domestic assault by causing bodily injury to a family member or partner. The mere threat of harm, if intentional or reckless, can also result in a charge. An individual without prior assault convictions may face a Class A misdemeanor for this offense. However, if the defendant has prior convictions, the charge escalates to a third-degree felony.
Aggravated Domestic Assault
Aggravated domestic assault, as per Texas Penal Code §22.02, occurs when a family member or partner is caused serious bodily harm. This charge can also apply if a deadly weapon is used during the assault. Aggravated assault is considered a second-degree felony.
Continuous Violence Against the Family
Under Texas Penal Code §25.11, someone who commits two or more domestic assaults within a year can be charged with continuous violence against the family. These assaults do not necessarily need to result in an arrest or conviction, nor do they have to be against the same victim. This crime is classified as a third-degree felony and carries more severe penalties than domestic assault charges.
Assault by Strangulation
An assault during which the accused is alleged to have applied pressure on a family or household member’s throat or neck or blocked their nose or mouth can result in stricter penalties. These charges, usually listed as “impede breath/circulation” of another, are particularly severe. A first charge is considered a third-degree felony, but any prior convictions for domestic assault elevate the charges to a second-degree felony.
As a seasoned Austin criminal defense lawyer with experience as an assistant district attorney in Austin, Texas, Jorge Vela can provide guidance and robust representation in any of these family violence cases.
Civil Penalties in Domestic or Family Violence Cases in Austin
A family violence finding in a criminal case could significantly affect your civil rights in later proceedings, such as impacting your right to visit your children or bear a firearm. An alleged victim may also file a Protective Order (also known as a restraining order) as part of the criminal case, further restricting your movements and activities.
Navigating Domestic Violence Cases with an Experienced Travis County Attorney
The State of Texas takes all cases of domestic or family violence very seriously. Still, in some instances, an unintentional arrest can result from a simple marital dispute or heated argument. Many times, a victim may wish to withdraw allegations or charges. In such situations, it’s crucial to have a competent Austin domestic violence lawyer on your side.
Your attorney can reach out to the alleged victims and witnesses to determine the sufficiency of the evidence. Depending on the case specifics, your attorney may be able to get your charges reduced or even dismissed if the victim does not wish to proceed. However, the decision to continue prosecution rests solely on the prosecutor, even after a victim withdraws charges. Therefore, you need an attorney to negotiate on your behalf.
As an experienced domestic violence attorney in Austin with a strong background as a prosecutor, Jorge Vela can negotiate directly with the District Attorney’s Office to help fight your charges.
Protective Order Hearing
After accusations of domestic assault, the victim or the police may apply for a protective order from the court. This type of final protective order requires that a hearing be scheduled and that the accused have the opportunity to contest the protective order. You can be represented by an Austin criminal defense lawyer at this hearing. Jorge Vela, with his experience defending individuals in protective order hearings, can provide competent representation.
Contact The Law Office of Jorge Vela for a Consultation
Facing a domestic violence case can be overwhelming, and the stakes are high. If you or a loved one is dealing with such a charge, reach out to the Law Office of Jorge Vela to schedule a consultation today. As an experienced Austin domestic violence attorney, Jorge Vela will help you navigate the legal system and fight for your rights. Your peace of mind is our priority.