Waco Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers
Understanding Domestic Violence Laws in Texas
In Texas, the law says that a person is guilty of assault if they "intentionally, knowingly or recklessly cause bodily injury to another person, including the person's spouse." Furthermore, the law also describes a bodily injury as any impairment in physical condition or pain. As you can see, this is a pretty low legal threshold.
Depending on the case, there are different defenses that may be available to a person who has been accused of domestic violence:
- The most common defenses to assault are self-defense and consent - Self-defense is probably the most familiar one. It says that a person has a right to use a reasonable amount of force to defend him/herself. Consent is another possibility — if two people decide they are going to settle things in a fistfight, the loser of that fight can’t cry "assault!"
- Provocation and retaliation are not valid defenses to assault or domestic violence - Provocation would involve a situation where someone gets in your face and says rude or annoying things in an attempt to get under your skin, causing you to assault him/her. Retaliation, of course, is where you attack someone because this person first did something to you or someone else.
If you have been charged with this offense, turn to Milam & Fanning, PLLC. Our Waco domestic violence attorneys are ready to provide aggressive defense representation for you. Serving Lorena, the Baylor University area, and all of McLennan County, we are prepared to provide the level of counsel you need in the face of assault or domestic violence charges.
What is the Statute of Limitations on Domestic Violence in Texas?
The statute of limitations on domestic violence in Texas is two years because it is usually classified as a misdemeanor. A charge of continuous violence against the family charge is a felony, so the statute of limitations is three years. Not every prosecutor immediately files charges against an alleged offender. In some cases, the State may want to gather more evidence for the possibility of a trial. The penalty for a domestic assault charge, without any aggravating factors, is normally a Class A misdemeanor. For a person to be charged with continuous violence against the family, he or she must have a history of domestic assault.
Can Assault Charges be Dropped in Texas?
In Texas, assault charges can not be dropped by the victim even if they ask the prosecutor. The only person that can drop the charge is the prosecutor. Prosecutors will even go forward with the case of assault with bodily injury in Texas without the victim's cooperation. This is commonly referred to as, “The State picking up an assault charge.” The State will use other witnesses to try to prove the assault charge at trial. Also, the State has the ability to subpoena the “victim” in a case. If the person does not show up to court, the State can get what is called a writ of attachment ordering a Sheriff’s Deputy to go out find the person and bring them to court.
What Are the Penalties for Family Violence in Texas?
If the complaining witness in your case is a family member or a roommate, you may have the phrase "family violence" tacked on to the end of your charge. There are two key elements of a family violence charge that you need to know about. First, if you are convicted, you may never again possess a firearm or ammunition. Second, if you are charged with another "family violence" offense, it can be enhanced to a third-degree felony.
Understanding whether certain defenses or enhancements apply to your case can be quite confusing. That's what our law firm is here for. Set up a consultation with one of our Waco domestic violence lawyers. We will talk through the entire event and arrest with you, helping you create an effective strategy.
Call us at (254) 237-5602 to get started.