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Family Violence vs. Domestic Violence in Texas

Domestic violence and family violence are very similar crimes. However, Texas law does draw some distinctions between the two offenses. Domestic violence typically involves violence between two adults who are married to one another, whereas family violence covers violence among any of a wider group of people.

A crime can be considered family violence if the alleged aggressor and alleged victim are any of the following:

  • Current and former spouses
  • Co-parents (parents of the same child or children who are not and were not previously married)
  • Foster parents and children
  • People who are related by blood or marriage
  • Roommates
  • People who are or were in a romantic relationship

It is not necessary for the alleged aggressor and the alleged victim to be living with each other when a family violence crime occurs.

The most common charge for family violence or domestic violence is assault. This can be a class C misdemeanor with up to a $500 fine, or it could be a class A misdemeanor, which could come with up to $4,000 in fines and up to one year in jail. However, if the alleged perpetrator was previously convicted of a family violence crime, had two or more incidents in one year or used a deadly weapon to cause serious or bodily injury, the stakes are higher and the charges may be felony charges with stiffer penalties than misdemeanor charges.

Because of the nature of the crime, both domestic violence and family violence are taken seriously in Texas. A lawyer who understands the criminal justice system can be an invaluable partner when trying to understand these charges. For an in-depth look at family violence and domestic violence statistics in Texas for 2013 (the latest year for which these statistics have been published), see this publication provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

If you or someone you love has been charged with either domestic violence or family violence in Texas, it is important to consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can help you understand the charges and can advocate for your rights, every step of the way.

Source: http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/FA/htm/FA.71.htm

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