Although there is still a huge stigma with domestic violence cases in Texas, there are a lot more protections in place for victims. Victims of domestic and family violence often face difficulties leaving an abusive situation because of their financial situation, living in the same house as their abuser, their immigration status, or fear of repercussions from their abuser.
Many victims do not know that there are law enforcement agencies and victim services that can help them get out of a family violence situation. If you are suffering from domestic abuse, you are not alone. A lawyer from The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC can help your case by filing for a protection order against your abuser, putting you in contact with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, and bringing domestic violence charges against your abuser.
Our law firm understands the challenges faced by victims of domestic violence and we want to do everything we can to help you. Our Texas family law lawyers have a combined experience of over 40 years in a wide range of practice areas. We understand how the relevant court proceedings work in domestic violence cases and we can help ensure that you are protected.
We want to help protect you and your family against domestic violence and help you move on to a new stage of your life, free from violence.
Call our law firm today at 832-843-1691 to arrange a consultation with a Texas family lawyer.
Texas Law on Domestic Violence
Family violence, known more commonly as domestic violence, is strictly prohibited under Texas law. The law defines family violence as violence involving family members that leads to physical harm, bodily injury, sexual assault, assault, or the threat of imminent bodily injury. Family violence can also involve the abuse of child victims by a family or household member and dating violence.
To be classed as family violence, the victim must have a familial or household relationship with the perpetrator, which can include:
- Current or former spouse.
- Parents of the same child.
- Foster child and parent.
- Relatives through marriage, blood, or adoption.
- Romantic partners.
- Roommates and former roommates.
The criminal procedure for family violence cases, including domestic assaults, continuous violence, and aggravated domestic assault differ from standard assault cases. Usually, the victim must show they had an intimate relationship with their abuser and prove this in court. Often, family violence cases result from breaching protective orders and continuous abuse within a relationship.
Domestic Violence Crimes
There are several types of domestic violence cases in Texas. The type of domestic violence charge depends on the severity of the harm involved in the incident and the number of incidents that have taken place.
When bringing a case through the criminal justice process, a victim must base their case on one or more events, usually involving physical harm or sexual assault. A victim may also bring a case through the criminal courts for verbal abuse that amounts to intimidation, continuous harassment, or stalking.
Domestic assault is an act of violence or a threat of violence toward a person with whom you have a close relationship. This relationship can be familial or household and can include current partners, ex-boyfriends and girlfriends, and roommates. There must be some element of violence involved in the claim, whether it was actual violence or a threat of bodily injury.
Victims in Texas have three years to bring a charge of domestic assault against the perpetrator. It is often difficult to get a defendant convicted in domestic assault cases, because of a lack of evidence or a lack of witnesses. However, having documentation of previous abuse, including text messages and phone calls, can be beneficial to your case.
The penalties for domestic assault vary depending on the level of harm suffered. For a first-time offense involving a threat of harm or no serious injury, the defendant can be convicted of a class C misdemeanor, which carries a $500 fine. If an injury was involved for a first-time offense, the charge increases to a class A misdemeanor.
Aggravated Domestic Assault
Aggravated domestic assault is more severe than a standard domestic assault charge because it involves serious bodily injury. This charge can involve serious bodily injury to the victim by a family or household member, the accused using a deadly weapon during the assault, or threatening to use a deadly weapon.
For an aggravated domestic assault, the defendant must have knowingly or intentionally taken an action that caused great bodily injury to the victim or threatened them with serious injury or death. If your abuser threatened to shoot you, for example, they could be charged with a first-degree felony for aggravated domestic assault.
Continuous violence applies when there have been at least two domestic assaults within a 12-month period against one or more family members. The defendant must have been arrested on both occasions by a law enforcement agency for the domestic assault. However, there is no requirement that the accused be convicted for all assaults. The assaults do not need to be against the same family member to amount to a continuous violence conviction.
Because this relates to repeat offenses against a victim, the penalties are more severe. A person can be convicted of a third-degree felony for continuous violence in Texas. If your abuser is convicted, they can face a prison sentence of up to ten years.
What Is a Victim of Domestic Violence Entitled To in Texas?
Victims of family violence in Texas have the right to seek help from law enforcement or emergency assistance at any time for the harm they suffer, whether it is physical contact or a threat of harm. Often, it takes a long time for victims to report abuse to law enforcement or to speak with a lawyer about their options.
This is because many people do not know their rights, are afraid of repercussions from their abuser, or do not know what they are entitled to. If you are a victim of domestic violence in Texas, you are entitled to:
For many people, seeing their abuser go to prison or face criminal penalties because of their conduct can be helpful for the healing process. Because domestic violence is a crime in Texas, victims can press charges against their abuser and get them held accountable for their actions. If there is enough evidence against them, such as police reports, photos, videos, and witness statements, they could receive a lengthy prison sentence.
It is important to discuss your case with the police and hire a lawyer to advise you on the criminal process. As a victim of domestic violence, the most important thing is ensuring that you are safe. If you feel safe to press charges against your abuser, going through a criminal proceeding can afford you some justice. A Texas family lawyer from The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC can advise you on how this procedure works.
Crime Victims Compensation Program (CVC)
The Crime Victims Compensation Program offers victims of domestic and family violence in Texas compensation for expenses related to their abuse. These expenses include medical costs, counseling, child care, loss of earnings, funeral costs, and a loss of support. Victims may also get help with rent, relocation assistance, utility deposits, and up to $3,800 of moving expenses.
To be eligible for the CVC program, you must be a resident of Texas or be a victim of a crime that happened in Texas. You can also claim from this program if you are authorized on behalf of a minor or child victim to do so. Victims that qualify under this program must also have reported the crime to local law enforcement within a reasonable amount of time, cooperate with law enforcement, and fill out a CVC application, which a lawyer can help you with.
Many family violence victims suffer abuse in their own homes. When you live with an abusive person, it is difficult to escape and get help for you and your children. There are certain protections for victims of family violence that make it easier to leave their homes or to get an abusive person removed from the home.
Under Texas law, victims of domestic abuse or family violence may terminate their lease early without being penalized. As per Texas Property Code 92.016, victims can “vacate and avoid liability”. You must inform your landlord that you are leaving and breaking the lease because of domestic violence and they cannot penalize you. If they do not allow you to leave or impose penalties for breaking the lease, they can face fines and penalties under the law.
Victims of family violence can also force the abuser to leave their home with a Kick Out Order. When applying for a protective order, your lawyer can also help you apply for a Kick Out Order to get the abuser out of the family home. You must either jointly own the property or be in full ownership of the home.
Victims of family violence in Texas can apply for a protective order against their abuser. A protective order is a legal procedure to protect victims of domestic violence from the perpetrator. There are several types of protection orders available to victims, depending on the circumstances of their cases.
This order prevents the abuser from contacting the victim, or coming to their school, home, or place of work. It is helpful for victims of family violence that have left their household or managed to escape from their abuser. It helps ensure that they do not face further harassment, abuse, or violence by the accused.
If the abuser violates the protective order, they can be held liable under criminal law, as it is a class A misdemeanor. If they violate the order more than once, they risk facing felony charges.
When there are children involved in a family violence situation, it is worrying to think about looking after them financially. Often, people who leave an abusive relationship and take the children with them have little financial means. Trying to pursue a child support case can be extremely stressful and puts the victim at risk of being harmed again.
The Child Support Division (CSD) offers support to victims of domestic violence to allow survivors to pursue child support safely and to make them aware of the risks. The CSD works with the Texas Council on Family Violence to improve the safety of child support services. An experienced family law attorney with experience in domestic violence cases can help guide you through the child support process and ensure that you are not put into further harm.
Contact The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC Today!
If you are a victim of family violence in Texas, it is important to know that you are not alone. There are many resources available for victims of domestic violence to get justice against their abuser, to keep them and their families safe, to get compensation for their harm, and to ensure that they can move on to a new stage of their lives after suffering from family violence.
At The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, we understand that dealing with family and domestic violence is extremely tough. Victims are often afraid to report their harm to the local law enforcement agency for fear of repercussion or because of social stigma. Our lawyers want to help you in any way we can by helping you get a protective order against your abuser, putting you in contact with victim services, and helping ensure that you and your family are safe.
The Texas family lawyers in our law firm have significant experience with domestic violence cases. We have a wide range of experience in multiple areas of family law, and we have helped hundreds of clients with cases similar to yours. Our Texas lawyers care about you and want to do everything we can to help your case. Our lawyers have consistently high AVVO ratings and have won numerous recognitions for their attorney-client relationship.
Call our law firm today at 832-843-1691 to speak with a Texas family law lawyer.