Domestic Violence

Assaultive offenses generally include assault, battery, domestic violence, aggravated assault, and homicide. If you are charged or arrested for one of these crimes you need to consult with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The lawyers at Gunter and Bennett are well versed in assaultive offenses. Please note that the criminal laws in Texas involve a separate process when a juvenile is charged with a crime.

Domestic Violence

We are one of Austin’s top domestic violence lawyers. Family Violence, Domestic Violence, and Dating Violence are generally lumped together under the term “domestic violence.” If you are involved in an assault where one of the other parties is a family member, roommate, or your boyfriend or girlfriend, it’s a whole different ball game. Texas law takes domestic violence very seriously. Make sure you have the right austin domestic violence lawyer.

Assuming no bodily injury or choking occurred (and we’ll choking below) domestic violence assault is generally a Class A Misdemeanor. When a person is convicted of domestic violence—or even successfully completes deferred adjudication and had their case dismissed—the court enters a “Family Violence Finding.” This family violence finding will follow you for the rest of your life. If you are ever arrested a second time for family violence the charge gets bumped up from a Class A Misdemeanor to a Second Degree Felony. Since this is Texas, it’s important to note that if you have a family violence finding, you may never own or possess a firearm or ammunition. To do so is against state and federal law.

Texas law has also recently changed regarding domestic violence. Under the new law, if you “impede the normal breathing” of a person in the course of committing the offense of domestic violence you will be charged with a second degree felony (as opposed to a Class A Misdemeanor). Since the change in the law, all of our clients who have been charged with domestic violence and who have put their hand somewhere around or on the other person’s neck or throat have been charged with a second degree felony.

Understanding Domestic Violence Charges: What You Need to Know

Domestic violence charges can have life-altering consequences, making it essential to comprehend the nuances of these allegations. In this guide, we will explore what constitutes domestic violence, the different types of domestic violence (physical vs. emotional abuse), and address common misconceptions about domestic violence.

What Constitutes Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence, often referred to as family violence or intimate partner violence, encompasses a range of abusive behaviors that occur within a domestic or familial relationship. These behaviors can include physical violence, emotional abuse, threats of harm, and more.

Types of Domestic Violence: Physical vs. Emotional Abuse

Physical Violence: This type of domestic violence involves the use of force or physical harm against a family member or partner. It can manifest as hitting, slapping, punching, choking, or any act that causes bodily injury. It’s crucial to understand that physical violence is not limited to overt acts; it also includes the threat of physical harm.

Emotional Abuse:
Emotional abuse is equally damaging but often less visible. It encompasses behaviors such as manipulation, controlling actions, verbal threats, humiliation, and isolation. Victims of emotional abuse may suffer severe psychological harm.

Common Misconceptions about Domestic Violence

Only Physical Abuse Counts: One of the most prevalent misconceptions is that domestic violence only involves physical harm. In reality, emotional abuse can be just as detrimental, and the law recognizes it as domestic violence.

False Accusations Are Rare:
Some believe that false accusations of domestic violence seldom occur. However, misunderstandings, personal vendettas, or miscommunication can lead to false claims. It’s essential to consult with a domestic violence attorney if you’re facing such allegations.

Victims Should Just Leave:
Another misconception is that victims of domestic violence can easily leave abusive relationships. Factors like financial dependence, fear, and emotional manipulation often make leaving an abusive situation incredibly difficult.

Understanding domestic violence charges involves recognizing that it encompasses both physical and emotional abuse, as well as dispelling common misconceptions. If you or someone you know is facing domestic violence allegations, seeking legal counsel from an experienced domestic violence attorney or criminal defense lawyer is crucial to ensure your rights and interests are protected.

In accordance with Texas Family Code § 71.004, individuals involved in relationships such as dating or cohabitating partners, ex-spouses, former partners, and current spouses are all eligible for legal protection under state law. If you or someone you care about has experienced family violence, assault, or has been falsely accused of domestic violence, our seasoned team of Austin family law attorneys possesses a wealth of expertise in addressing a wide range of domestic violence cases.

Questions about Domestic Violence?

In Texas, individuals facing domestic violence can explore self-defense options when confronted with abusive behavior, constant criticism, or violent acts. Texas law recognizes the right to self-defense when an individual reasonably believes that they are in imminent danger of physical harm. In cases of domestic abuse or economic abuse, it’s essential to gather evidence, such as a police report, to establish reasonable doubt regarding one’s actions. A skilled defense lawyer with experience in domestic violence criminal cases can provide invaluable guidance in navigating the legal complexities surrounding self-defense claims. Recognizing that every situation is unique, it’s crucial to seek legal counsel to protect your rights, especially in the context of an abusive relationship or if your sexual orientation is a factor in the criminal offense. Child Protective Services may also be a resource to ensure the safety of all involved parties.

While not necessarily classified as a verbal assault crime, persistent and unwanted verbal threats or abusive language directed at another person could be considered harassment. Harassment may be charged as a Class B misdemeanor in Texas, punishable by up to 180 days in county jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
To seek protection from an abusive relationship, individuals often turn to filing for a protective order, a crucial step in ensuring their safety.

To initiate this process, you’ll need to visit your local county district attorney’s office or courthouse. If you are in immediate danger, you can contact your local police department, and a law enforcement professional (LEP) will provide assistance by escorting you to the courthouse.

While you might find protective order forms online, it’s advisable to consult your local court clerk. They can provide you with the specific forms preferred by your jurisdiction, ensuring a smoother process.

Filling out these forms is essential, detailing information about both the petitioner (the person filing for the protective order) and the alleged abuser. If needed, a domestic violence attorney can offer valuable assistance in completing the forms accurately and building a strong case.

Once the forms are complete, they will be reviewed by a judge. If the judge determines that the petitioner is in immediate danger of further violence or abuse, a temporary protection order may be issued, typically lasting up to 20 days. During this period, an LEP may escort the petitioner back to their residence and remove the alleged abuser. Temporary protective orders provide immediate relief while official hearings for a more permanent protective order are scheduled.

Subsequently, the process of serving notice of the protective order to the alleged abuser begins, typically conducted by an LEP.

The court will then hold hearings to assess the necessity of a more permanent protective order. These hearings are critical in evaluating the merit of the petitioner’s case. If the court deems it necessary, it will issue a longer-lasting protective order, typically lasting around two years. In some cases, if the judge deems it appropriate, a permanent protective order may be granted.

The lawyers at Gunter, Bennett and Anthes are well versed
in violent offenses and are poised to help you

At Gunter, Bennett and Anthes, phone calls are answered 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.Criminal defense is never a nine-to-five job; we’re here when you need us.

Chris Gunter - Austin Defense Attorney

Attorney at Law, Austin, TX

Alan Bennett – Attorney at Law, Austin, TX

Attorney at Law, Austin, TX

Gene Anthes – Attorney at Law, Austin, TX

Attorney at Law, Austin, TX

Thomas Just - Attorney at Law, Austin, TX

Attorney at Law, Austin, TX

Gary Cohen - Dedicated Texas Parole Representation

Dedicated Texas Parole Representation

Paralegal, Austin, TX

Paralegal, Austin, TX

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