According to the 2008 Crime in Texas Report, the Texas Family Code defines family violence 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.” For the purpose of family violence reports and offenses, “family” includes:
- Individuals related by blood or marriage
- Individuals related by former marriage
- Biological parents who have a child together
- Foster parents and their foster children
- Adoptive parents and adopted children
- Members or former members of a household
- Individuals who are in a dating relationship
In Texas, family violence is covered under the state’s assault statutes – Title 5, Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code. For example, under Sec. 22.01(a), you commit the offense of “assault,” if you knowingly, intentionally, or recklessly injure someone else’s body, including your spouse.
An offense under Sec. 22.01(a) is a Class A misdemeanor, but it’s a felony of the third degree if it’s committed against a family member, such as your spouse or child. Under Sec. 12.34 of the Texas Penal Code, a third-degree felony is punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and by a fine not to exceed $10,000.
When You’re Wrongfully Accused
False accusations of family abuse or domestic violence are no laughing matter; they are very serious and can result in a protective order being filed against you, not to mention criminal charges for assault. Even if you aren’t charged with assault, if you violate a protective order, you can be arrested and charged with a crime.
If you have children, you can be ordered to move out of the family home, pay child support, and stay away from the children’s school. You can also be ordered to give up your firearms. In other words, if you’re being accused of child abuse or spousal abuse and the court believes your accuser, the ramifications can be serious.
What should you do? It depends on who the accuser told and whether you’re going to be charged with a crime or not, and other facts of your case. We highly recommend that you consult with a Plano criminal defense attorney from our firm for proper damage control.