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Domestic Violence

According to Chapter 71 of the Texas Family Code, domestic violence or family violence is defined as any act by a family or household member against another family or household member that is intended to cause physical harm or bodily injury. Abuse and dating violence are also associated with family violence in Texas.

Texas law defines a family or household member as:

  • Anyone related by blood,
  • Anyone related by marriage,
  • Foster parents,
  • Step parents,
  • Parents of the same child,
  • Former spouses, and
  • Anyone who resides or previously resided in the same home.

Almost anything can be construed as domestic violence under Texas’ domestic violence laws. Accusations of family violence in the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex can often arise from false allegations. These types of claims can occur when one person is trying to gain a more favorable position in a child custody or divorce proceeding, or in relationships that are fueled by spite, anger or jealousy.

Although domestic violence charges can result in serious repercussions, a skilled defense lawyer may be able to help you identify defenses or mitigating factors that can result in a dismissal or reduction of the charges against you. Therefore, it is essential to contact an experienced Dallas domestic violence lawyer to help you create the best legal strategy for your particular situation.

Dallas Domestic Violence Attorney

The experienced attorneys at Stuckle & Associates PLLC know that you're in for a tough fight. With our team of lawyers who focus on these cases, however, you can stand a fighting chance. We are ready to aggressively tackle your charge, no matter how challenging your situation seems.

If you've been accused of domestic violence in Fort Worth, Plano, Arlington, Frisco, Irving, or elsewhere in North Texas, you can trust Stuckle & Associates PLLC to tirelessly defend your future. Call us at (972) 423-4405 today to schedule your free consultation.


Overview of Texas' Domestic Violence Statutes


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No Drop and Zero Tolerance Policies in Texas

No Drop Policy - In situations of domestic violence, the state, also known as the prosecution, decides if and when they want to pursue a criminal case, even if the alleged victim does not want to press charges. This means if any situation escalated out of control and the police were called to the scene, the state can prosecute the case, even if the person who was the alleged victim does not want to. This type of scenario is commonly referred to as the “no drop policy” in Texas.

Zero Tolerance Policy - When the police or law enforcement officers arrive at an alleged domestic violence scene and they have any probable cause to believe some form of bodily injury occurred, they will make an arrest no matter what the circumstance is. This is often referred to as a “zero tolerance policy” in Texas. A bodily injury is defined under Texas law as any illness, impairment of a physical condition, or any type of physical pain.


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Allegations of Assault and Family Violence Offenses in Plano

There is not one general offense that is called “domestic violence” in the Texas Penal Code. Family violence can involve a number of offenses, the most common one being assault. Some of the most common domestic violence offenses in Texas are listed below.

Assault – Tex. Penal Code § 22.01 - An individual can be charged with this offense if they commit any of the following:

  • Intentionally, recklessly or knowingly cause bodily injury to another person;
  • Knowingly or intentionally cause physical contact to another person they knew or should reasonably consider the contact to be offensive or provocative; or
  • Knowingly or intentionally threaten another person with immediate bodily injury.

This offense is generally punishable as a Class C, Class B or Class A misdemeanor, or a felony of the third degree.

Sexual Assault – Tex. Penal Code § 22.011 – An individual can be charged with this offense if they knowingly or intentionally penetrate another person’s sexual organs or mouth without their consent. This offense can result in felony of the first or second-degree conviction.

Continuous Violence Against the Family – Tex. Penal Code § 25.11 – An individual can be charged with this offense if they commit an offense that is considered domestic or family violence two or more times within a period of 12 months or less. This offense is generally punishable as a felony of the third degree.


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Domestic Violence Against a Child in Dallas

Child Abuse – Tex. Penal Code § 22.04 – An individual can be charged with this offense if they cause serious bodily injury, bodily injury, or serious mental injury to a child knowingly, with criminal negligence, intentionally or recklessly. This offense can result in conviction for a felony of the third, second or first degree.

Abandoning or Endangering a Child – Tex. Penal Code § 22.041 - An individual can be charged with this offense if they intentionally abandon a child under the age of 15 they have custody, care or control over in any place that exposes the child to an unreasonable risk of harm. An individual can also be charged with this offense if they knowingly, recklessly, with criminal negligence, or intentionally engage in some conduct that places a child under the age of 15 in danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment. This offense is generally punishable as a state jail felony, felony of the third degree or felony of the second degree.


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Other Crimes of Domestic Violence in Fort Worth

Kidnapping – Tex. Penal Code § 20.03 - An individual can be charged with kidnapping if they intentionally or knowingly abduct another person. This offense is generally punishable as a felony of the third degree.

Aggravated Kidnapping – Tex. Penal Code § 20.04 - An individual can be charged with this offense if they knowingly or intentionally abduct another person with the intent to:

  • Hold them for a ransom or a reward;
  • Use them as a shield or a hostage;
  • Assist in the attempt or commission of a felony;
  • Assist in the flight from an attempt or commission of a felony;
  • Inflict bodily injury on the person or abuse them sexually;
  • Terrorize the victim or a third person; or
  • Interfere with the performance of any political or governmental function.

This offense is generally punishable as a felony of the second or first degree.

Violation of Protective Order – Tex. Penal Code § 25.07 – An individual can be charged with this offense if they intentionally or knowingly violate the terms of a protective order against them.  A protective order is issued by the court after a protective order hearing if the court finds domestic violence has occurred and is likely to occur again in the future. A protective order is also commonly known as a restraining order or protection order. A violation of a protective order can result in a Class A misdemeanor or felony of the third-degree conviction.


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Defenses to Domestic Violence in Texas

If you have been accused of a domestic violence offense in Texas, your defense attorney will help you identify if there are any defenses that may apply in your unique situation. These defenses are not applicable to ever case, so it is important to consult with an experienced defense attorney in the Dallas / Fort Worth to discuss the particular facts of your situation. Some of the most common defenses to family violence in Texas are:

  • Self Defense – This defense may apply when the alleged offender used force against another person because they reasonably believed that person was about to cause them bodily injury or death.
  • Defense of others – This defense may apply when the alleged offender used force against another person because they reasonably believed that person was causing or about to cause a third party harm, bodily injury or death.
  • False Allegations – This defense may apply when the alleged offender was falsely accused by the alleged victim of committing an act of domestic violence.
  • Lack of Intent – This defense may apply when the alleged offender did not have the state of mind to commit a family violence offense if intent was a statutorily required element to the alleged offense.

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Family Violence Penalties for Convicted Offenders

The basic statutory terms of imprisonment and fines are defined in Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code. These penalties may vary depending on the age of the victim, whether the offense resulted in bodily injury, whether the alleged offender had a previous criminal history and/or whether a weapon was used during the commission of the offense.

  • An individual charged with a class C misdemeanor domestic violence offense can be penalized with a fine up to $500.
  • An individual charged with a class B misdemeanor domestic violence offense can be penalized with a fine up to $2,000 and/or a jail sentence up to 180 days.
  • An individual charged with a class A misdemeanor domestic violence offense can be penalized with a fine up to $4,000 and/or a jail sentence up to one year.
  • An individual charged with a state jail felony domestic violence offense can be penalized with a fine up to $10,000 and/or a jail sentence ranging from 180 days to two years.
  • An individual charged with a felony of the third-degree family violence offense can be penalized with a fine up to $10,000 and/or a prison sentence ranging from two to ten years.
  • An individual charged with a felony of the second-degree family violence offense can be penalized with a fine up to $10,000 and/or a prison sentence ranging from two to 20 years.
  • An individual charged with a felony of the first-degree family violence offense can be penalized with a fine up to $10,000 and/or a prison sentence ranging from five to 99 years or life imprisonment.

Articles on Domestic Violence Allegations


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Finding a Domestic Violence Attorney in Texas

With your future at stake, you need to know that you can rely on your lawyer to defend you against any situation. At Stuckle & Associates PLLC, we're dedicated to aggressively fighting for your rights through every step of the process ahead of you. We focus solely on these complex charges, so you can rest assured that we know exactly how to formulate a defense strategy for your situation.

Those charged with domestic violence in Dallas County and the surrounding areas, whether they are false or exaggerated, can turn to Stuckle & Associates PLLC for reliable representation. Call (972) 423-4405 today to schedule your free consultation appointment.

This article was last updated on Thursday, February 18, 2016.