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FAQs About Domestic Violence in Texas

In Texas, domestic violence, otherwise known as “family violence” is addressed in the Texas Family Code. What counts as family violence? According to dps.texas.gov, it is defined as, “an act by a member of a family or household against another member that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm.”

How does Texas’ domestic violence laws affect the citizens and what can happen if someone is arrested for family violence? Read on as we answer frequently asked questions about domestic violence in Texas.

1. What counts as family under the law?
Family includes anyone who is related by blood, marriage or a previous marriage. It also includes foster parents and foster children and current or former members of the same household; for example, roommates.

2. Who are the most common perpetrators?
According to dps.texas.gov, the most family violence reports involve married couples, followed by common-law spouses and other family members respectively.

3. Who are the most common victims?
In 2008, 75 percent of family violence victims in Texas were female, with 25 percent being male. The age group with the greatest number of victims was 20 to 24-year-olds, reported dps.texas.gov. Of those, 77 percent of the offenders were male and 23 percent were female.

4. What is the most popular weapon used?
In 2008, the most common weapon in family violence was the perpetrator’s own body – perpetrators used their hands, feet, and fists to harm their victims. Therefore, physical force accounting for 78 percent of the assaults.

5. Where is family violence in the Penal Code?
Texas does not have a separate family violence statute in the Texas Penal Code. Instead, it is covered under Chapter 22, Assaultive Offenses, in the Penal Code. Family or domestic violence is typically charged as assault under Sec. 22.01, aggravated assault under Sec. 22.02, and as sexual assault and aggravated sexual assault.

6. What is a Protective Order?
Victims of family violence can ask the court for a Protective Order, which is like a restraining order in other states. Texas Protective Orders prohibit the person names in the order from committing further acts of abuse against the victim(s) protected in the order.

A Protective Order can do a lot, including order the offender to move out of his or her home, pay child and spousal support, and stay away from the victim among other things. To learn more, check out Chapter 5, Code of Criminal Procedure.

7. Will I have to give up my firearms?
If you are named in an active Protective Order or if you are found guilty of certain domestic violence offenses, you will be prohibited from possessing and controlling firearms and ammunition.

8. What if I violate a Protective Order?
You can be arrested, fined up to $4,000 or placed in jail for up to one year, or you can be fined and incarcerated.

Are you accused of family violence in Plano, Dallas or Fort Worth? If so, contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC to schedule your initial consultation.