Texas Penal Code, Title 5, Chapter 22, Section 22.01 defines domestic violence as any instance in which an individual threatens or inflicts bodily harm on another individual. State law allows anyone residing in the same home with their alleged victim to be charged with domestic violence. It doesn’t matter whether they’re in a romantic relationship with their victim. They don’t necessarily have to be related by blood either.
Domestic violence is considered as a type of assault in Texas. It can be prosecuted as anything from a Class C misdemeanor up to a first-degree felony here in this state. Prosecutors will generally base their decision as to what degree of crime to charge a defendant with on a variety of factors.
They’ll look into whether the defendant has any previous convictions for domestic violence. Likely, they’ll also consider the relationship that existed between the defendant and their victim. They’ll also take into account how the most recent alleged offense was carried out. Any commissions of this crime that involve strangulation or suffocation may result in the defendant being charged with a higher-level criminal offense.
These same factors are likely to impact sentencing if you’re found guilty of such a crime as well.
A Houston prosecutor has the burden of proving their assertion that a criminal act occurred if they wish to secure a conviction in their case. Their main responsibility is to prove that the defendant both knowingly and intentionally committed domestic violence beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecutor must also prove that a defendant’s recklessness was actually what ultimately resulted in the victim’s bodily harm.
If you’ve convicted of a Class C misdemeanor here in Texas, then you could have to pay a fine and be sentenced to as long as a year in jail. A felony conviction could carry with it up to a $10,000 fine and a 99-year prison term. Given how high the stakes are, you owe it to yourself to consult with a domestic violence attorney. Your lawyer can advise you of your rights and potential defense strategies that you may be able to pursue in your Houston case.