The Texas Legislature added the crime of continuous violence against the family to the Texas Penal Code in 2009. The law allows prosecutors to file felony charges against alleged offenders accused of committing two or more domestic assaults within a calendar year.
In a continuous violence against the family case, jurors do not have to unanimously agree on the specific conduct in which the alleged offender engaged that constituted domestic assault. The jury only needs to unanimously agree that an alleged offender engaged in conduct constituting domestic assault two or more times within 12 months.
If you or your loved one were arrested for continuous violence against the family in Fort Worth, it is important for you to avoid making any kind of statement to authorities. Make sure the first person you speak to is a criminal defense lawyer.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy will work to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. Call (817) 422-5350 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.
Under Texas Penal Code § 25.11(a), a person commits the offense of continuous violence against the family if they, during a period that is 12 months or less in duration, engage in conduct two or more times that constitutes an assault offense against another person or persons whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Texas Family Code § 71.0021(b), Texas Family Code § 71.003, or Texas Family Code § 71.005.
The three relationships listed are defined as follows:
Under Texas Penal Code § 25.11(b), members of the jury are not required to agree unanimously on the specific conduct in which the defendant engaged that constituted an offense under Texas Penal Code § 22.01(a)(1) against the person or persons described by Texas Penal Code § 25.11(a) or the exact date when that conduct occurred. A jury must agree unanimously that the alleged offender, during a period that is 12 months or less in duration, two or more times engaged in conduct that constituted an offense under Texas Penal Code § 22.01(a)(1) against the person or persons described by Texas Penal Code § 22.01(a).
Continuous violence against the family is a third-degree felony. Convictions are punishable by fines of up to $10,000 and/or up to 10 years in prison.
Under Texas Penal Code § 25.11(c), an alleged offender cannot be convicted in the same criminal action of another offense the victim of which is an alleged victim of the offense under Texas Penal Code § 25.11(a) and an element of which is any conduct that is alleged as an element of the offense under Texas Penal Code § 25.11(a) unless the other offense:
Arrests are common for many domestic violence crimes because law enforcement feels compelled to take the measures needed to protect alleged victims. Proving a crime occurred can often be more difficult.
Your own defenses will depend on the evidence that the state has against you, as offenses based solely on the testimony of alleged victims could be subject to some exaggerations or even fabrications. An experienced lawyer can examine the evidence involved in your case and determine the strongest possible defenses.
Ellison v. State, 425 S.W.3d 637 (Tex.App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2014) — After being convicted of continuous violence against the family and adjudicated guilty of continuous violence against the family in separate indictments, Philip Wade Ellison was sentenced to five years for each offense, to run concurrently. Ellison claimed that his double jeopardy rights were violated because the conviction for the former offense constituted a second prosecution for the same offense and subjected him to multiple punishments for the same offense. The Fourteenth Court of Appeals affirmed his adjudication of guilt for the offense of continuous family violence and sentence of five years’ confinement in one cause but vacated his conviction and sentence of five years’ confinement for the offense of continuous violence against the family in the other cause.
Texas Family Violence Benchbook — On this section of the official website for the Texas Courts, you can view the Texas Family Violence Benchbook. Learn more about child custody and support provisions, protective orders, and the protective order registry. You can also find information about family violence surrounding immigrant families.
Were you or your loved one arrested for alleged continuous family violence in Fort Worth or a surrounding area of Tarrant County? It will be extremely important for you to have experienced legal representation.
Make sure you contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy. Our firm can provide a complete evaluation of your case when you call (817) 422-5350 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.