Douglas H. Freitag, PC Attorney at Law

Who Do You Represent In Domestic Violence Cases?

Most often, I represent the accused in these cases. I have represented clients in domestic violence cases as a criminal defense attorney for several years now. However, earlier in my career I represented the state or the complainant. I spent about a year where I was a prosecutor and all I prosecuted were domestic violence cases.

How Is Domestic Violence Defined In Texas?

Texas has what we call an Affirmative Finding of Family Violence. We routinely call it Domestic Violence, but the law calls it Family Violence. These are typically assaultive offenses between persons that live together, have a child together, are in a dating relationship, or have previously been in one of those relationships – dating, marriage or cohabitation.

How Is A Domestic Violence Charge Determined To Be Either A Misdemeanor Or A Felony?

The charge of domestic assault is typically a class A misdemeanor. The exceptions to this rule are when the person accused has been previously convicted for assault and that assault was against a member of their family/household or somebody they’ve been in a dating relationship with, or that assault is one where a deadly weapon is used or exhibited, or the state alleges and can prove strangulation or choking. At this point, the charge becomes a felony. In what they call continuous domestic assault or continuous domestic violence assault, the state has to show two or more instances of violence committed by the same person that’s been accused within a 12-month period. Those two instances of domestic violence do not have to be against the same complainant or alleged victim.

Does An Alleged Victim Have To Be Injured For Domestic Violence Charges To Be Made?

No, a victim does not have to show injury for a charge to be made. Texas does allow for assault by threat, so no injury would occur there. The law in Texas defines bodily injury simply as pain. There may not be a physical bruise or red mark or some injury that you can see but you can still have bodily injury under the law if there is pain.

What Are Some Unintentional Mistakes Which Can Harm Someone’s Domestic Violence Case?

The most common mistake that you see for somebody that’s been accused of domestic assault is they talk about it. They talk about it either with family or friends or the police, and they invariably say something that they shouldn’t, something that is used against them later on. Specifically when you’re talking domestic issues, a lot of times you have the accused talking to the complainant or the alleged victim, because they’re trying to salvage the relationship.

What Are The Sentencing Guidelines For A Domestic Violence Conviction In Texas?

There is a large range for sentencing guidelines on a domestic violence conviction. For an assault by threat where there’s no bodily injury, that typically is a class C misdemeanor in Texas. It’s punishable by fine only of up to $500 if convicted. For the class A misdemeanor, domestic violence assault, the most common one that we see, it’s punishable by incarceration of up to 1 year in the county jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000. When you get into things like the repeat assault, that’s a third-degree felony. The punishment range on a third degree felony in Texas is incarceration between 2 and 10 years in the state penitentiary with an optional fine of up to $10,000. If there is a deadly weapon used or exhibited, then it becomes a second-degree felony at that point. The punishment range for second degree felony is confinement of between 2 and 20 years in the penitentiary also with an optional fine of up to $10,000.

Can Past Incidents Of Domestic Violence Be Used Against Someone In A Pending Case?

Past incidents of domestic violence can be used against someone in a pending case. It especially comes up in those instances where there is a prior conviction, or the allegations are against the same complainant or some alleged victim, because the State is attempting to show a pattern, and that the accused knew what they were doing. The prosecutor is trying to use it to demonstrate knowledge to show that it wasn’t a mistake of some sort, so those things do come up and they get used.

For more information on Domestic Violence Cases In Texas, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (806) 368-8714 today.

Douglas H. Freitag, Esq.

Get your questions answered - Call now for a case evaluation (806) 368-8714.

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