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 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.
Continuous Violence Against the Family Defense Lawyer in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and Southlake, TX
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 consultation.
Continuous Violence Against the Family Charges in Texas
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:
- Dating Relationship, Texas Family Code § 71.0021(b) — A relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature, with the existence of such a relationship being determined based on consideration of the length of the relationship, the nature of the relationship, and the frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
- Family, Texas Family Code § 71.003 — Individuals related by consanguinity (one is a descendant of the other or they share a common ancestor) or affinity (they are married to each other or the spouse of one of the individuals is related by consanguinity to the other individual), individuals who are former spouses of each other, individuals who are the parents of the same child, without regard to marriage, and a foster child and foster parent, without regard to whether those individuals reside together.
- Household, Texas Family Code § 25.11 — A unit composed of persons living together in the same dwelling, without regard to whether they are related to each other.
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 Penalties in Tarrant County
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:
- is charged in the alternative;
- occurred outside the period in which the offense alleged under Texas Penal Code § 25.11(a) was committed; or
- is considered by the trier of fact to be a lesser included offense of the offense alleged under Texas Penal Code § 25.11(a).
Continuous Violence Against the Family Defenses in Fort Worth
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.
Tarrant County Continuous Violence Against the Family Resources
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.
Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy | Fort Worth Continuous Violence Against the Family Attorney
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.
Unfortunately, the law allows the government to continue with prosecution of a family violence case even after the victim states they want to drop the charges. This is because the law creates a situation in which the government can step in for the victim to ensure that the victim is not being pressured to drop the case.
Unfortunately, the law allows the government to continue with prosecution of a family violence case even after the victim states they want to drop the charges by filing an affidavit of non-prosecution. This is because the law creates a situation in which the government can step in for the victim to ensure that the victim is not being pressured to drop the case.
Your case may be dismissed if the State offers some form of an anger management (BIPP) course and such course is successfully completed. Or if the victim refuses to participate in the trial and the state has no other form to prove up the charges. However, any attempt to influence the victim to not participate in the trial may be considered witness tampering and obstruction of justice which could result in other charges.