How Long Does Domestic Violence Stay On Your Record In Texas?

Lawyer looking over legal records. If you are facing a domestic violence charge, likely, you have many concerns about how this could impact your future. In addition to the potential penalties you may be facing from the criminal justice system, such as jail time, you have the added concern of what your life could look like with domestic violence on your criminal record.

The outcome of your case defines how long domestic violence will remain on your record. If you are convicted of domestic violence, or your case resulted in a plea bargain, deferred adjudication, or a probated sentence, this will remain on your record permanently, with no opportunity to seal or expunge the record. The only exception is if you successfully win an appeal against your conviction.

A life-long domestic violence record can impact renting a home, finding a job, carrying a firearm, and even custody of your children. To give yourself the best chance of avoiding a conviction and the life-long complications that come with it, seek legal advice as soon as possible following your domestic violence arrest.

The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC domestic violence defense lawyers can evaluate the specific circumstances of your case and develop a tailored strategy that will give you the best chances of avoiding or reducing a conviction and the subsequent penalties you could face. To discuss the options available to you, schedule an initial consultation today by calling 832-843-1691.

Texas Law On Domestic Violence

Texas flag. Domestic, or family violence, is defined in Texas Statutes as any incidence of an individual intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to a family member. A family member in this context is a broad term and includes three main categories of individuals. These include the following:

  1. Biological and non-biological members of your family, such as children, siblings, and parents
  2. People you have had a romantic or intimate relationship with, including someone you are currently dating or have dated previously at any point
  3. Members of your household who currently live, or used to live, in your home with you; this includes past and present roommates and extended family

Additionally, alleged victims do not have to be physically hurt to file a domestic assault report. If no physical injury occurred, you may be charged with a class C misdemeanor.

If you have any prior arrests or convictions, you could face a felony domestic violence charge and up to 10 years in prison. Similarly, even a first-time offense involving choking can lead to a felony charge.

Domestic Violence Charges In Texas

In addition to actual physical violence, domestic violence laws in Texas can also apply to sexual assault and abuse, psychological abuse, financial abuse, emotional abuse, and technological abuse, and all could result in a charge.

The law takes domestic violence in Texas very seriously. Texas law imposes harsh penalties for those convicted of family violence offenses, including lengthy prison sentences, mandatory minimum terms, a permanent criminal record, hefty fines, revocation of certain licenses, such as hunting licenses, and losing the right to carry a firearm.

Domestic Assault

Any act of violence or a verbal threat against a partner or someone you have an intimate relationship with could result in a domestic assault charge. The level of injury caused in the incident will determine the charges. A first-time offense of domestic violence resulting in any injury is usually a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. For this charge, an injury could be relatively minor, such as pulling hair or scratching.

Sexual assault against a household member may also be considered an act of domestic violence. If convicted, this could be a second-degree felony charge, punishable by 2 to 20 years of incarceration and a $10,000 fine.

If you have a prior conviction or deferred adjudication of domestic violence, you could face third-degree felony charges of felony assault on a family member. This charge carries a prison sentence of a minimum of 2 years, to 10 years, and a fine of up to $10,000. If the offense involved choking or suffocation, you may face second-degree felony charges.

Aggravated Domestic Assault

An individual may be charged with aggravated domestic assault if they intentionally or knowingly take action that results in serious bodily injury. Or if they used a weapon while committing an assault and the alleged victim was in fear of serious bodily injury or death.

This is a first-degree felony charge and carries life-changing penalties. If convicted of aggravated domestic assault, you could face a life sentence or between 5 to 99 years of incarceration. You can also be fined up to $10,000 and may be ordered to pay restitution to the victim.

Domestic Assault Impeding Breath

Domestic assault impeding breath can sometimes be known as assault bodily injury – family member impeding breath. This charge is applicable in circumstances where an individual intentionally or knowingly made contact with another and hindered their ability to breathe.

The most common assault that this charge refers to is when a victim is choked or partially strangled. A domestic assault impeding breath conviction is a third-degree felony and can result in 2 to 10 years behind bars and a $10,000 fine.

Continuous Violence Against The Family

You could be charged with continuous violence against the family if you are charged with two domestic violence offenses within 12 months. These incidents must be two separate incidents for this charge to be valid, but the offenses can be against two different victims.

This is a third-degree felony and, if convicted, carries penalties of up to 10 years of imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.

The Impact Of Domestic Violence On Your Criminal Record

Domestic violence offenders often face stigma and discrimination in society when people are aware of their charges. In addition, a domestic violence conviction on your record can be viewed particularly poorly by employers and may affect the opportunities available to you.

It could also hinder your ability to rent a home, obtain professional licenses, carry a firearm, or attend school. A domestic violence conviction can also count against you in family law proceedings, including divorce and child custody.

Can A Domestic Violence Charge Be Expunged or Sealed?

You may be able to expunge a domestic violence offense from your criminal record if your case was not filed after the arrest, if you received a not-guilty verdict at trial, or if your case was dismissed and the statute of limitations expires. The key point here is that a domestic violence charge can only be expunged if you are not convicted.

Similarly, if adjudication was deferred in your case, this record cannot be expunged or sealed. Even though cases of deferred adjudication do not result in a conviction, Texas law states that deferred adjudication cases involving domestic violence must remain on your record. This will include details of your arrest and the criminal case that followed.

Sealing a record means that some employers and standard background checks may not uncover your criminal conviction history. However, Texas law does not allow any records of domestic violence convictions to be sealed. The best way to ensure a domestic violence charge does not leave a permanent mark on your record is to avoid conviction by securing a not guilty verdict at trial or having your case dismissed by the court.

How Can An Attorney Help?

The State of Texas prosecutes family violence cases aggressively. The best way to avoid a permanent domestic violence mark on your record is to avoid conviction. To give you the best possible chance of avoiding conviction, you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side in a domestic violence case. A reputable attorney may be able to get your case dismissed or negotiate a lesser charge, reduced penalties, deferred adjudication, or suspended sentence, for example.

If you are facing felony domestic violence charges, such as assault impeding breath or aggravated domestic assault, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that your actions caused the level of injury required for that charge. For example, for an assault impeding breath conviction, the state must prove that you actually impacted the alleged victim’s breath. It is insufficient to prove that you had your hands around their neck for an impeding breath conviction. Your attorney could argue that the prosecution has inadequate evidence to support a conviction, and negotiate a lesser charge with lesser penalties, which may not be a felony.

Potential Domestic Violence Defenses

A skilled attorney will be well-versed in the potential defenses that can be used when representing domestic violence defendants. Potential arguments an attorney may include in your defense strategy include the following:


If your partner or family member was behaving in a violent or threatening manner towards you and you feared for your safety, your attorney may be able to argue that you were acting in self-defense to protect yourself from danger.

No criminal intent or accidental injury

Many circumstances can arise in a home where a family member is injured accidentally. For example, if home improvements are underway and tools and unstable furniture are left out around the house. If your family member was injured because you accidentally knocked something over, for example, you showed no criminal intent, which could support your defense.

The injuries were not caused by your actions

In some cases, specifically, if a certain amount of time elapsed between when the incident took place and when the alleged victim sought medical attention, it could be argued that the injuries were not caused by your actions.

For example, your attorney could build a defense based on the fact that there is a 2-day gap between when you are supposed to have committed the assault and when the family member’s injuries were documented by a medical professional. During this time, several other incidents or accidents could have occurred that caused these injuries. This may be sufficient to prevent the state from proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the alleged offense.

Insufficient evidence

In some cases of domestic violence, it is essentially a case of the victim’s word against the defendant’s. A reputable attorney will evaluate the state’s evidence against you and examine the credibility of witnesses in their case. If their case against you is weak, a skilled attorney may be able to leverage this to negotiate a lesser charge or even get the case dismissed.

Contact The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC Criminal Defense Attorneys

An arrest for a domestic violence crime can be devastating and have long-term impacts on the lives of you and your family. Do not take the chance of facing domestic violence charges without experienced legal representation. Contact The Love DuCote Law Firm today to discuss how our experienced attorneys can help your case. To book an initial consultation, contact our legal team at 832-843-1691.