Domestic Violence

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, approximately 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in America. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men. Unfortunately, domestic violence is a growing concern.

Under Texas law, domestic violence charges can have a serious impact on a person’s future. Allegations can result in a lengthy prison sentence and significant fines if the defendant is convicted. The best defense against domestic violence accusations is an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Austin, TX.

Austin Domestic Violence Lawyer | Travis County, TX

If you’re facing criminal charges for domestic assault and family violence in Austin, TX you’ll need legal representation with experience fighting the allegations of Travis County prosecutors. Jackson F. Gorski at The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski is a practiced domestic violence lawyer with a history of securing favorable results for his clients. He can ensure the court hears your side of the story and work hard to reduce, if not dismiss your charges.

Take advantage of The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski’s free consultation by calling 512-960-4646 today. Austin domestic violence lawyer Jackson F. Gorski represents Texans throughout Travis County, including Jollyville, Lockhart, Kyle, Georgetown, Round Rock, Anderson Mill, Cedar Park, San Marcos, Seguin, and Canyon Lake.

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Information Center

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Domestic Violence Under Texas Law

Travis County prosecutors take domestic violence cases seriously. Due to the propensity for escalated assaultive offenses like aggravated assault and murder, the vigor behind the arrest and prosecution of alleged offenders is aimed at deescalating tensions and putting in a stop measure to the violence.

There is not a specific domestic violence statute in Texas. Instead, domestic violence is defined in Chapter 71 of the Texas Family Code. The section is broken down into family violence and dating violence.

Under Texas law (71.004), family violence occurs when an individual commits an act against a family or household member intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault.

“Household” is defined as individuals living together in the same dwelling, without regard to whether they are related to each other. A family or household member could include a:

  • Husband or wife
  • Ex-husband or ex-wife
  • Brother or sister
  • Mother or father
  • Foster child
  • Foster parent
  • Mother or father of a person’s child

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Frequent Charges in Texas Domestic Violence Cases

Acts of violence against intimate partners or family members are taken seriously by Texas prosecutors. The following are some of the most common domestic violence charges:

  • Child Abandonment or Endangerment (Texas Penal Code §22.041): An individual can be arrested for child abandonment or endangerment if he or she leaves a child in a place without providing reasonable and necessary care. It is also a crime to place a child in imminent danger of death, bodily injury or physical or mental impairment. Child abandonment can be classified anywhere from a state jail felony to a second-degree felony, depending on the context of the offense.
  • Child Abuse (Texas Penal Code §22.04): A person can be charged with child abuse if he or she intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence, by act or intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly by omission, causes to a child serious bodily injury; serious mental deficiency, impairment, or injury; or bodily injury.  If serious bodily or mental injury was caused intentionally or knowingly, the crime is a first-degree felony. If caused recklessly, child abuse is classified as a  second-degree felony. The offense can also be categorized as a third-degree felony or state jail felony.
  • Continuous Violence Against the Family (Texas Penal Code §25.11):  Causing bodily injury to a person, particularly a spouse or relative, two or more times, during a period of twelve or fewer consecutive months is a serious offender under the Texas Penal Code. It is third-degree felony crime in Texas. If convicted, the accused can face up to 10 years of imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines.
  • Stalking (Texas Penal Code § 42.072): Stalking occurs if a person engages in a behavior that the accused knows will cause the victim to feel threatened or harassed. The threat could be to the victim’s life, safety or property. The crime is a third-degree felony unless there is a prior conviction, in which case it is a second-degree felony.
  • Assault (Texas Penal Code §22.01): Under Texas law, a person can face charges for assault if he or she intentionally or knowingly causes bodily injury to another individual, including that individual’s spouse. Accusations can also apply if the accused threatened the victim with imminent bodily injury. Assault is a class C misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $500. The offense, however, can be escalated to a higher category depending on the circumstances of the case.
  • Aggravated Domestic Assault (Texas Penal Code §22.02): The Texas Penal Code states that the individual commits aggravated assault if he or she utilizes a deadly weapon to commit assault and cause serious bodily injury to someone they’re dating. The offense is a first degree felony.
  • Violation of a Protection Order (Texas Penal Code §25.07): Violation of a protection order issued by a judge is illegal under Texas law. A person can be charged with this crime if he or she knowingly or intentionally commits family violence, communicates with the protected party or a member of the protected party’s household, goes near the locations prohibited in the order, or possesses a firearm. The accused can also be arrested if he or she harms, threatens, or interferes with the care of custody of the protected party’s pet or assistance animal, or removes, attempts to remove, or tampers with their ankle monitor. Violating a protective order is a Class A misdemeanor. Yet, this misdemeanor can escalate into a third degree felony if the accused has violated protective order before.

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Is Domestic Violence a Felony in Texas?

Domestic violence offenses can be classified as either a felony or a misdemeanor depending on the situation. Under Texas law, a person can be charged with third-degree felony domestic violence if they’re married or in a relationship with the victim. The charges and penalties will be assessed based on the severity of the individual case.

A felony domestic violence charge can haunt a person for a lifetime. The penalties for domestic violence convictions get worse if the defendant was previously convicted of a similar offense. Multiple domestic violence convictions can lead to enhanced criminal charges with could result in a prison sentence that spans into decades.

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Texas Penalties for Domestic Violence

As with any assault charge, the penalties a person will face when convicted of domestic violence vary based on the severity of the assault. The least severe charge a domestic violence suspect could face is a class C misdemeanor that carries a fine with no mandatory jail time (usually applied to threats or cases involving no bodily harm.)

In cases of assault against an intimate partner, Texas law allows the District Attorney’s office to charge the defendant with “up to” a third-degree felony. If a defendant is charged with a felony, they could face 2 to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000.00 fine.

In lots of domestic violence cases, the person convicted is given probation and ordered by the court to complete counseling and treatment. The court may order marriage counseling, anger management classes, or community service. Sometimes, a convicted party can get adjudication withheld on the conviction if they complete all of the requirements of probation. This means that the charges can be cleared off of the person’s record after they complete the court-ordered probation requirements.

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Defenses for Domestic Violence Cases

In some domestic violence cases, a defense could be that the crime did not take place. Some domestic violence cases are dismissed due to false reporting. Other times the defense can claim the defendant committed the alleged assault unintentionally or had a lack of knowledge that they committed the assault. In other situations, domestic violence charges can be dismissed in court if self-defense can be proven in the case.

If you have been arrested for domestic violence, The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski can help you find the best possible defense for your case and advise you of all the situations that you might face in court. Do not leave the interpretation of the evidence up to chance.

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Additional Resources

Texas Family Violence Program – Access the official website for the Texas Health and Human Services to learn about the Family Violence Program. The program provides emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence and their children. Visit the webpage to see a list of centers in TX.

National Domestic Violence Hotline –  Access the official website for the National Domestic Violence Hotline to view domestic violence statistics.  You can view general statistics, sexual violence statistics, stalking statistics, and more.

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Georgetown Domestic Violence Lawyer | Travis County, TX

Immediately after an arrest for an alleged familial assault, the best option for the person charged is to retain a lawyer to represent them in court. There are additional legal actions the state of Texas may deploy in cases of domestic violence such as restraining orders or child custody changes. In cases like this, it’s imperative to seek a knowledgeable criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.

Jackson F. Gorski at The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski has experience in both criminal defense and family law.  He can help you throughout the entire process and make sure your case goes as smoothly as possible. To begin working on your case, call The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski at 512-960-4646 to schedule a free consultation.

The Law Office of Jackson F. Gorski serves clients in Travis County, TX, and surrounding counties including Williamson, Bell, Bastrop, Lee, Milam, Burnett, Blanco, Hays, and Caldwell.

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