The Domestic Violence Charges in Fort Bend County, Texas

Marital and dating relationships aren’t always smooth sailing. In some cases, what begins as a heated argument can quickly deteriorate into an episode of physical violence. Texas law treats domestic violence cases very seriously and a conviction can potentially carry significant consequences. You may have difficulty finding employment in certain fields or obtaining a gun license. If you’ve been charged with domestic violence in the Fort Bend County area, you need the help of an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney to protect your rights.

What Qualifies as Domestic Violence?

Under Texas law, domestic violence or domestic assault covers a wide range of actions and behaviors. These may include but are not limited to:

  • Physical violence
  • Verbal abuse, including the use of violent language or threats
  • Stalking, including physical stalking and cyber-stalking
  • Any forced sexual act, including rape

It’s also important to remember that domestic violence is not limited to romantic relationships but can also involve other family members, including:

  • A parent or child
  • Siblings
  • Grandparents and grandchildren
  • Parents of a child in common, even if those parents are not in any other relationship

Under Texas law, domestic violence is considered an assault against the person. As such, under Chapter 5, Title 22, Section 22.01 of the Texas Penal Code, assault is defined as:

  1. Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person, including a spouse
  2. Intentionally or knowingly threatening another person with imminent bodily injury, including a spouse
  3. Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with someone when you know or should reasonably believe that the other person will regard the contact as offensive or provocative

Under Section 22.02, causing someone serious bodily injury or using a deadly weapon elevates the charge to aggravated assault.

If you’re arrested for domestic violence or aggravated assault against a family member, the judge may order a protective order against you, preventing you from returning to your home or having contact with the alleged victim until your case is resolved. An experienced Fort Bend County Domestic Violence Lawyer can advise you further on what a protective order entails.

What Are the Penalties for a Domestic Violence Conviction?

The penalty you may receive if convicted for domestic violence depends on whether the crime is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony. Misdemeanors are considered lesser offenses and typically carry lighter penalties. Felonies are considered more serious and as such, require harsher punishment.

Misdemeanor Penalties

In misdemeanor domestic violence cases, there are a wide range of penalties the judge can impose. For example, you may be sentenced to:

  • Probation
  • Mandatory treatment or counseling
  • Fines
  • Restitution

Depending on what class of misdemeanor you’ve convicted of, you could also face jail time. A conviction for a Class B misdemeanor carries a jail term of up to 180 days. If convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, you may be forced to serve up to one year in the county jail. In addition, the judge may continue to enforce the protective order against you and restrict your right to obtain a firearm license.

If you have a previous Class A misdemeanor domestic violence conviction, subsequent charges could be upgraded to a felony.

Felony Penalties

In the state of Texas, conviction on a felony charge carries a minimum prison term of at least two years. If convicted of a third degree felony domestic violence assault, you could be sentenced to up to 10 years. The fines for felony convictions also increase up to a maximum of $10,000.

Under Texas law, aggravated assault is automatically charged as a second degree felony. Second degree felonies are punishable by a prison term of between 2 and 20 years.

Finally, in cases of aggravated assault involving serious bodily injury and the use of a weapon against a family member, the charge is elevated to a first degree felony. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you could face life imprisonment if convicted of a first degree domestic violence charge.

What Should I Do if I’m Charged with Domestic Violence?

The first thing any man or woman should do when arrested for domestic violence in the Fort Bend County area is to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately. If the police attempt to question you regarding the alleged incident, do not answer any questions without first seeking the advice of legal counsel.

It’s important to note that in the state of Texas, alleged victims of domestic violence cannot simply choose to drop the charges. This means that a prosecutor will seek a conviction against you if he or she feels it is warranted based on the evidence. This is why expert legal representation is necessary when facing serious criminal charges.

The law firm of Lee D. Cox specializes in aiding defendants who have been charged with domestic violence in the Fort Bend County area. Lee is dedicated to defending all of his clients aggressively and protecting their rights to the fullest extent. As both a former prosecutor and an experienced criminal defense attorney, Lee Cox understands the complexities of the Texas legal system. He will work with you to establish the strongest defense for your case and ensure that justice is served.

If you or someone you love needs help in fighting a domestic violence charge in the Fort Bend County area, you need to call Lee D. Cox today at 281-762-7345 . A domestic violence conviction can present a serious roadblock to your future. Only with the help of an experienced Domestic Violence Attorney will you be able to protect your rights.

20+ Years of Experience in Criminal Defense

I began my career with the District Attorney's office and have been in private practice focusing on criminal defense in Fort Bend and surrounding counties since 2002.

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