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Continuous Violence Against the Family

Domestic assault is commonly a misdemeanor offense in Texas, but alleged offenders who have been previously convicted of domestic assault against family or household members can face felony charges for repeat convictions. The crime of continuous violence against the family is defined as two or more domestic assaults within a period of 12 months.

Unlike many other criminal charges in which prosecutors must get jurors to reach a unanimous verdict in order to convict an alleged offender, members of the jury are not required to agree unanimously on the specific conduct in which the alleged offender engaged that constituted domestic assault. Rather, a jury only needs to unanimously agree that the alleged offender two or more times engaged in conduct that constituted domestic assault in a period that of 12 months or less.

Lawyer for Continuous Violence Against the Family in Dallas, TX

If you were arrested in North Texas for alleged continuous violence against the family, it is in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy aggressively defends clients accused of domestic violence offenses all over the Dallas-Fort Worth area, including Garland, Balch Springs, Richardson, Carrolton, Mesquite, Grand Prairie, Irving, and many other nearby communities.

Dallas criminal defense attorneys Richard McConathy and Brian Bolton can fight to possibly get these criminal charges reduced or dismissed. Call (972) 233-5700 right now to take advantage of a free, confidential consultation that will let our lawyers provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case.


Texas Continuous Violence Against the Family Information Center


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Continuous Violence Against the Family Charges in Dallas County

Under Texas Penal Code § 25.11(a), an alleged offender can be charged with continuous violence against the family if he or she intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to any person or persons whose relationship to or association with the alleged offender is described by the following stautes:

  • Dating Relationship, Texas Family Code § 71.0021 — A relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature, with the existence of such a relationship being 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;
  • Family, Texas Family Code § 71.003 — Individuals related by consanguinity (one is a descendant of the other or they share a common ancestor) or affinity (they are married to each other or the spouse of one of the individuals is related by consanguinity to the other individual), individuals who are former spouses of each other, individuals who are the parents of the same child, without regard to marriage, and a foster child and foster parent, without regard to whether those individuals reside together; or
  • Household, Texas Family Code § 25.11 — A unit composed of persons living together in the same dwelling, without regard to whether they are related to each other.

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Continuous Violence Against the Family Penalties in Texas

Continuous violence against the family is classified as a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Texas Penal Code § 25.11(c) states that a person cannot be convicted in the same criminal action of another offense the victim of which is an alleged victim of the offense under Texas Penal Code § 25.11(a) and an element of which is any conduct that is alleged as an element of the offense under Texas Penal Code § 25.11(a) unless the other offense:

  • is charged in the alternative;
  • occurred outside the period in which the offense alleged under Subsection (a) was committed; or
  • is considered by the trier of fact to be a lesser included offense of the offense alleged under Subsection (a).

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Dallas-Fort Worth Resources for Continuous Violence Against the Family Arrests

Ellison v. State, 425 S.W.3d 637 (Tex.App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2014) — In separate indictments, Philip Wade Ellison was convicted of continuous violence against the family and adjudicated guilty of continuous violence against the family. He was sentenced to five years for each offense, to run concurrently. On March 24, 2014, the Fourteenth Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s judgment adjudicating guilt in one case and but vacated the trial court’s judgment on the conviction in the other case. The Court of Appeals concluded that the conviction and punishment for continuous family violence in one cause clearly involved two instances of assaultive conduct against the alleged victim within a period of 12 months, but the second indictment involved these exact same two instances of bodily-injury assault against his girlfriend, with no indication that a different time period was at issue.

Hill v. State, 455 S.W.3d 271 (Tex.App.—Texarkana [6th Dist.] 2015) — On January 9, 2015, the Fourteenth Court of Appeals affirmed the conviction of Eric L. Hill, based on allegations that he had done violence to his girlfriend on three occasions within 12 continuous months. Hill’s appeal contended that there was insufficient evidence to sustain his conviction and that the jury charge failed to require the jurors to return a unanimous verdict. The Court of Appeals adopted the reasoning in continuous sexual abuse cases and applied it in continuous family violence cases to conclude that “there was sufficient evidence to prove all three of the allegations.”


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Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy | Dallas Continuous Violence Against the Family Lawyer

Were you recently arrested for alleged continuous violence against the family in North Texas? You should not say anything to authorities until you have contacted Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy.

Richard McConathy and Brian Bolton are experienced criminal defense attorneys in Dallas who represent clients in communities throughout Denton County, Tarrant County, Collin County, and Dallas County. They can review your case and help you understand your legal options as soon as you call (972) 233-5700 or submit an online contact form today.


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