Domestic violence is known as family violence in Texas, and these types of crimes can involve very serious and possibly long-lasting consequences for alleged offenders. Several people accused of domestic violence crimes have every right to worry about how they will be viewed within courtrooms, so you will want to be sure you have an experienced domestic violence defense attorney on your side.
Every single domestic violence crime is going to be different and involve its own unique elements, so it can be misleading to think that certain defenses apply broadly to all cases when the situations are usually much more specific. You should always let a lawyer review your specific case to determine the applicable defenses that might relate to your case and then work to fight to get the criminal charges reduced or dismissed.
Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and Southlake, TX
Were you arrested for a crime of domestic violence be sure that you quickly find yourself a criminal defense attorney to help you achieve the most favorable possible outcome for your case.
Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (817) 422-5350 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Southlake, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and surrounding areas of Tarrant County, TX area.
False Allegations in Domestic Violence Incidents in Tarrant County
It is not out of the question that an alleged domestic violence incident did not even occur. False allegations can be more common in cases of spouses wanting to see alleged offenders arrested, and many police officers can take people into custody when responding to domestic violence calls, even when there is no evidence to support the alleged victim’s allegations.
After a person is falsely accused of domestic violence, a lawyer can look for any photographic evidence of supposed injuries caused in an episode of domestic violence. If there are no indications of any harm caused, it could then be difficult for a jury to accept that domestic violence occurred.
The comments of an alleged victim can also have a negative impact on a domestic violence case, especially when alleged victims tell police officers one story but then change important details in later retellings of the same event. You can benefit from your own witnesses to an alleged domestic violence incident when they can back up your story that you did not commit any act of domestic violence.
Accidental Domestic Violence Incidents in Fort Worth
Texas Family Code § 71.004 defines family violence as being an act by a family or household against member against another family or household member that intends to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that constitutes a threat reasonably placing the family or household member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself, abuse, as that term is defined by Texas Family Code § 261.001(1)(C), (E), (G), (H), (I), (J), (K), and (M), by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household, or dating violence, as that term is defined by Texas Family Code § 71.0021.
Under Texas Family Code § 71.003, a family includes individuals related by consanguinity or affinity, individuals who are former spouses of one another, people 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. Texas Family Code § 71.005 defines a household as being a unit composed of people living together in the same dwelling without regard to whether they are actually related to one another.
Texas Family Code § 261.001(1)(C), (E), (G), (H), (I), (J), (K), and (M) provide the following definitions for abuse, which includes the following acts or omissions by a person: physical injury resulting in substantial harm to a child, or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to a child, including any injury that is at variance with a history or explanation given and excluding an accident or reasonable discipline by a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator not exposing a child to a substantial risk of harm; sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare, including conduct constituting an offense of continuous sexual abuse of young child or children under Texas Penal Code § 21.02, indecency with a child under Texas Penal Code § 21.11, sexual assault under Texas Penal Code § 22.011, or aggravated sexual assault under Texas Penal Code § 22.021; compelling or encouraging the child to engage in sexual conduct as defined by Texas Penal Code § 43.01, including compelling or encouraging the child in a manner that constitutes an offense of trafficking of persons under Texas Penal Code § 20A.02(a)(7) or (8), prostitution under Texas Penal Code § 43.02(b), or compelling prostitution under Texas Penal Code § 43.05(a)(2); causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing the photographing, filming, or depicting of a child if a person knew or should have known that a resulting photograph, film, or depiction of a child was obscene as defined by Texas Penal Code § 43.21, or pornographic; the current use by a person of a controlled substance as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code, in a manner or to the extent that the use results in physical, mental, or emotional injury to a child; causing, expressly permitting, or encouraging a child to use a controlled substance as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code; causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing a sexual performance by a child as defined by Texas Penal Code § 43.25; and forcing or coercing a child to enter into a marriage.
Under Texas Family Code § 71.0021, dating violence is defined as an act, other than a defensive measure to protect oneself, by a person that is committed against an alleged victim or applicant for a protective order with whom a person has or has had a dating relationship; or because of an alleged victim’s or applicant’s marriage to or dating relationship with an individual with whom a person is or has been in a dating relationship or marriage; and is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the alleged victim or applicant in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault.
The important phrase to remember in the Texas Family Code definition of family violence is “intended to,” as a person cannot accidentally cause family violence. There has to be an intent to harm another person, so a person who accidentally harms a member of their family or household cannot be guilty of any criminal offense.
Self-Defense in Domestic Violence Incidents in Fort Worth
Under Texas Penal Code § 9.31, a person can be justified in using force against another party when and to the degree, they reasonably believe the force was immediately necessary to protect themselves against the other party’s use or attempted use of unlawful force. The person’s belief that force was immediately necessary will be presumed to be reasonable if the person:
- knew or had reason to believe that a person against whom force was used unlawfully and with force entered, or was attempting to unlawfully enter and with force, a person’s occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment; unlawfully and with force removed, or was attempting to unlawfully remove and with force, a person from a person’s habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment; or was committing or attempting to commit aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery;
- did not provoke an individual against whom the force was used; and
- was not otherwise engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic at the time the force was used.
Justification Issues in Tarrant County
The use of force against another party will not be justified, however:
- in response to verbal provocation alone;
- to resist an arrest or search that a person knows is being made by a peace officer, or by a person acting in a peace officer’s presence and at his direction, even though the arrest or search is unlawful unless the resistance is justified under Texas Penal Code § 9.31(c);
- if the person consented to the exact force used or attempted by the other;
- if the person provoked the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful force, unless a person abandons the encounter, or clearly communicates to the other his intent to do so reasonably believing he cannot safely abandon the encounter; and the other nevertheless continues or attempts to use unlawful force against the person; or
- if the person sought an explanation from or discussion with the other person concerning a person’s differences with the other person while a person was carrying a weapon in violation of Section 46.02; or possessing or transporting a weapon in violation of Section 46.05.
When you believe your actions were in accordance with Texas’ self-defense laws, you might have a valid claim against a domestic assault charge or other family violence crime.
Tarrant County Domestic Violence Resources
A Guide to the Texas Criminal Legal System for Family Violence Victims — View a TexasLawHelp.org website that explains how Texas law defines the crime of family violence and what you should do when a family violence crime occurs. You can also find steps in the criminal justice process. There is also a full PDF guide to the Texas criminal legal system.
Family Violence – Liberty and Justice for Texas | Office of the Attorney General — On the attorney general website, you can learn more facts about family violence, including its prevalence rate. There is also information for domestic violence victims. Information for advocates is also available.
Find A Tarrant County Defense Attorney for Domestic Violence Charges | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
If you are facing domestic violence allegations in Tarrant County, you cannot afford to delay in seeking legal representation. Get yourself a criminal defense lawyer to have the best possible chance of overcoming the criminal charges.
The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy regularly represents alleged offenders in all kinds of domestic violence cases, so we have first-hand experience utilizing many different defenses in these cases. Call (817) 422-5350 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation so our firm can sit down with you and go over your case in complete detail.