In Texas, domestic violence is called “family violence,” which refers to acts or threats of violence between family and household members. However, family violence goes beyond physical abuse and threats of physical harm, it includes sexual assault, restraining a person’s movements (e.g. locking them in a room), stalking, harassment, destroying someone’s personal property, and emotional abuse. Under Article 5.01 of Title 1, Chapter 5 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, it says that family violence “is a serious threat to society and its members.” It goes on to say that the victims of family violence are entitled to the maximum protection afforded by the law.
Family Violence Disturbance Calls
Often, a family violence investigation begins after someone places a domestic disturbance call into 911. For example, a concerned neighbor will call the police when they hear a loud fight break out next-door, or sometimes someone inside the household will call the police during a domestic dispute. When the police respond to such a call, they have a duty to investigate the allegation. Under Art. 5.04 of the Texas Code of Criminal procedure, when peace officers respond to a domestic disturbance call, they have a duty to:
- Protect any victims of family violence,
- Enforce the state laws,
- Enforce any protective orders in effect from a different jurisdiction,
- Lawfully arrest any violators,
- Advise any victims of family violence of ways to prevent further acts of family violence,
- Give the victims written notice of their legal rights and remedies under the law, and
- Advise the victims of available shelters and community services for family violence victims.
When a peace officer responds to a family violence call, he or she will give the victim a piece of paper that says: NOTICE TO ADULT VICTIMS OF FAMILY VIOLENCE. This paper asks the victim to tell the police officer: 1) if the adult, their child, or another member of the household has been injured, and 2) if they feel they will be in danger after the officer leaves. From there, the victim is advised on how to ask for an emergency protective order.
Are you in trouble for family violence? If so, contact our firm at once to schedule a consultation with a skilled Plano domestic violence lawyer.