Crimes of family violence, or domestic violence, can result in huge punishment for alleged offenders, and they also can result in long term and far-reaching consequences. If you are accused of assault of a family member in Texas, it is critically important to hire a lawyer to try and fight to get the criminal charges dismissed to avoid the possible damage to your reputation and criminal record. If necessary, you may need to fight your case at trial to try to get the best result.
According to Texas Family Code § 71.004 family violence is defined as:
(1) 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 injury, 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;
(2) abuse, as that term is defined by Texas Family Code Sections 261.001, by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household means either physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child, or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child, including an injury that is at variance with the history or explanation given and excluding an accident or reasonable discipline by a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator that does not expose the child to a substantial risk of harm; sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare, including conduct that constitutes the offense of continuous sexual abuse of young child or children under Texas Penal Code § 21.02, indecency with a child under Texas Penal Code § 21.11,, sexual assault under Texas Penal Code § 22.011,, or aggravated sexual assault under Texas Penal Code § 22.021; compelling or encouraging the child to engage in sexual conduct as defined by Texas Penal Code § 43.01, including compelling or encouraging the child in a manner that constitutes an offense of trafficking of persons under Texas Penal Code § 20A.02(a)(7) or (8), prostitution under Texas Penal Code § 43.02(b), or compelling prostitution under Texas Penal Code § 43.05(a)(2); causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing the photographing, filming, or depicting of the child if the person knew or should have known that the resulting photograph, film, or depiction of the child is obscene as defined by Texas Penal Code § 43.21, or pornographic; the current use by a person of a controlled substance as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code, in a manner or to the extent that the use results in physical, mental, or emotional injury to a child; causing, expressly permitting, or encouraging a child to use a controlled substance as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code; causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing a sexual performance by a child as defined by Texas Penal Code § 43.25; or forcing or coercing a child to enter into a marriage; or,
(3) dating violence, as that term is defined by Section 71.0021, means an act, other than a defensive measure to protect oneself, by an actor that is committed against a victim or applicant for a protective order with whom the actor has or has had a dating relationship, or because of the victim’s or applicant’s marriage to or dating relationship with an individual with whom the actor is or has been in a dating relationship or marriage; and is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the victim or applicant in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault. A “dating relationship” is defined as a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship will be determined based on consideration of the length of the relationship, the nature of the relationship, and the frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
Effects of Domestic Violence Conviction on Life
The effects a family violence conviction have on a person's daily life include some of the most profound consequences. These convictions, in multiple ways, can affect many aspects of a person's daily life.
Examples of how a domestic violence conviction can affect a person’s regular life include:
- You cannot obtain a fishing or hunting license in Texas,
- Your divorce or child custody proceedings could be adversely affected,
- You may be unable to foster or adopt a child,
- If you are not a U.S. citizen, you could lose your legal residence status,
- You may be denied housing, and
- You may be subject to the terms of either an Emergency Protective Order authorized by the Code of Criminal Procedure, or a Protective Order authorized by the Family Code.
Subsequent Offenses Can Be Enhanced to Felony Charges
It is also crucial to know that after being convicted of domestic violence or even successfully completing a deferred adjudication probation, all subsequent domestic violence charges can be enhanced. Texas Penal Code § 22.01(b) states that an assault offense under Texas Penal Code § 22.01(a)(1) is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is a third-degree felony if the offense is committed against a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Texas Family Code § 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, meaning dating violence, family, or household if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense under this chapter, Chapter 19, or Texas Penal Code § 20.03 (kidnapping), 20.04 (aggravated kidnapping), 21.11 (indecency with a child), or 25.11 (continuous violence against the family) against a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Texas Family Code § 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005.
An affirmative finding of family violence on even a Class C Misdemeanor could allow the state to file a subsequent family violence case as a felony charge. Additionally, family violence charges cannot be expunged or sealed from your permanent record, so the conviction or even completed deferred probation will permanently tarnish your reputation for life.
Harris County Family Violence Lawyer
If you were recently arrested for a crime of family violence in the greater Houston area, you should quickly seek legal representation. Call James G. Sullivan & Associates so you can have the best chance of possibly getting your criminal case dismissed.
Our law firm understands family violence charges are extremely personal in nature and knows how overwhelming it can be for a person to try and resolve these problems on their own. We can be by your side throughout the court process, and we review your case as soon as you call (281) 546-6458 to schedule a free consultation.
Effects of Family Violence Conviction on Work
In addition to the effects that domestic violence convictions can have on a person’s daily life, there can also be an immediate and negative impact on a person’s ability to work. People usually spend most of their time in their daily lives at their workplace, and the impact a domestic violence crime has on a career can be crushing.
A domestic violence conviction could result in some of these possible consequences on work:
- You could lose your current job,
- You may not be eligible for public service positions,
- You could lose professional licenses, and
- You cannot own or possess a firearm, which may rule out employment in law enforcement.
If you are unemployed, it is crucial to know that a domestic violence conviction could affect your ability to find a job. The family violence charge will show up on most background checks and some employers refuse to hire a person because of such a conviction.