Crimes of domestic violence, or family violence, not only carry enormous immediate penalties for alleged offenders, but they can also have very far-reaching long-term consequences as well. It is important for all people to understand that if they are accused of a family violence crime in Texas, it will be enormously important to try and fight to get the criminal charges thrown out to minimize the potential damage to an individual’s criminal record.
Texas Family Code § 71.004 defines family violence as meaning an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself.
The phrase also means abuse, as that term is defined by Texas Family Code § 261.001(1)(C), (E), (G), (H), (I), (J), (K), and (M), by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household, which means either physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child, or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child, including an injury that is at variance with the history or explanation given and excluding an accident or reasonable discipline by a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator that does not expose the child to a substantial risk of harm; sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare, including conduct that constitutes the offense of continuous sexual abuse of young child or children under Texas Penal Code § 21.02, indecency with a child under Texas Penal Code § 21.11,, sexual assault under Texas Penal Code § 22.011,, or aggravated sexual assault under Texas Penal Code § 22.021; compelling or encouraging the child to engage in sexual conduct as defined by Texas Penal Code § 43.01, including compelling or encouraging the child in a manner that constitutes an offense of trafficking of persons under Texas Penal Code § 20A.02(a)(7) or (8), prostitution under Texas Penal Code § 43.02(b), or compelling prostitution under Texas Penal Code § 43.05(a)(2); causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing the photographing, filming, or depicting of the child if the person knew or should have known that the resulting photograph, film, or depiction of the child is obscene as defined by Texas Penal Code § 43.21, or pornographic; the current use by a person of a controlled substance as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code, in a manner or to the extent that the use results in physical, mental, or emotional injury to a child; causing, expressly permitting, or encouraging a child to use a controlled substance as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code; causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing a sexual performance by a child as defined by Texas Penal Code § 43.25; or forcing or coercing a child to enter into a marriage.
Finally, family violence also means dating violence, that term is defined by Texas Family Code § 71.0021, which means an act, other than a defensive measure to protect oneself, by an actor that is committed against a victim or applicant for a protective order with whom the actor has or has had a dating relationship, or because of the victim’s or applicant’s marriage to or dating relationship with an individual with whom the actor is or has been in a dating relationship or marriage; and is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the victim or applicant in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault. A “dating relationship” is defined as a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship will be determined based on consideration of the length of the relationship, the nature of the relationship, and the frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
If you were recently arrested for a crime of domestic violence in the greater Dallas area, you will not want to delay in seeking legal representation. Make sure your first phone call is to The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy so you can have the best chance of possibly getting your criminal case thrown out.
Our firm understands the very personal nature of these kinds of criminal charges and knows how complicated it can be for a person to try and resolve these issues on their own. You can have us be by your side the entire time that you are going through the court process, and we will review your case as soon as you call (972) 233-5700 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Some of the most profound consequences of a family violence conviction will be the effects that such a conviction has on a person’s daily life. In many ways, these convictions can impact multiple facets of a person’s daily being.
Examples of the ways domestic violence may impact a person’s regular life include:
- You cannot obtain a hunting or fishing license in Texas
- Your conviction could negatively impact your divorce or child custody proceedings
- You may be unable to foster or adopt a child
- If you are not a natural-born citizen, you could lose your legal residence status
- You may be denied housing
- You could be subject to the terms of either an “Emergency”
It is also important to note that after being convicted of domestic violence, all subsequent convictions could be enhanced. Texas Penal Code § 22.01(b) states that an assault offense under Texas Penal Code § 22.01(a)(1) is a Class A misdemeanor, except that the offense is a third-degree felony if the offense is committed against a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Texas Family Code § 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, meaning dating violence, family, or household if it is shown on the trial of the offense that the defendant has been previously convicted of an offense under this chapter, Chapter 19, or Texas Penal Code § 20.03 (kidnapping), 20.04 (aggravated kidnapping), 21.11 (indecency with a child), or 25.11 (continuous violence against the family) against a person whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Texas Family Code § 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005.
An affirmative finding of family violence on even a Class C Misdemeanor could allow the state to file a case as a felony charge. Furthermore, family violence charges cannot be expunged or sealed from your permanent record, so the conviction will permanently stain your reputation for life.
In addition to the consequences that domestic violence convictions can have on a person’s daily life, there can also be an immediate impact on an individual’s ability to work. For most people, their careers are the major function of their daily lives and any impact a family violence crime has on a job can be devastating.
Some of the possible consequences of a domestic violence conviction on work could include:
- You could lose your current job
- You may be ineligible for public service positions
- You could lose professional licenses
- You cannot own or possess a firearm, which may prohibit employment in law enforcement
If you are unemployed, you should also know that a domestic violence conviction could impact your ability to find work because the family violence charge will show up on most background checks and some employers may refuse to hire an individual because of a conviction.
Family Violence Program | Texas Health and Human Services — The Family Violence Program in Texas “promotes self-sufficiency, safety, and long-term independence of adult and child victims of family violence and victims of teen dating violence.” Visit this website to learn more about services for survivors of family violence and how to file a complaint. You can also find centers that provide temporary shelter and support services (shelters) and those with support services only (non-residential centers).
Domestic Violence Program – Salvation Army DFW — The Salvation Army Domestic Violence Program provides immediate, safe, and secure shelter, and it further supports victims by providing them with on-site, services that help them plan for long term safety, security, and stability. Visit this website to access statistics, services, and success stories. You can also find educational resources and ways to help.
Find a Dallas Domestic Violence Attorney | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
Were you arrested for an alleged domestic violence crime anywhere in the Dallas-Fort Worth area? You are going to want to have The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy on your side so you can have the best chance of achieving the most favorable outcome to your case.
Call (972) 233-5700 or contact our firm online right now to get the help that you need. Our firm will provide a free, no-obligation consultation in which you can feel free to privately discuss your case with us and get answers to all of your questions.