The Texas Family Code refers to domestic violence under the term “family violence.” Family violence covers violent acts, including acts intending to harm or even threatening harm, against a member of the same family or household. The extremely broad laws relating to common law marriage in Texas should be considered here, as Texas law is generally quite expansive in who they will consider being a member of a family or household. Texas penal code section 71 describes the various relationships that would be considered part of the family and make it clear that dating is also a type of relationship that would be covered under family violence laws. The law even extends to those whose relationship is a tangential product of another marital or dating relationships, such as a father-in-law or a stepchild.

Texas does not only recognize actual injurious assault as family violence but threats and intimidation as well. Texas Penal Code Chapter 25 also makes reference to an individual who creates an atmosphere of continuous violence against the family. It is necessary for Texas law to identify the precise relationship between the victim and the perpetrator of the crime in order for a crime to be considered family violence. However, as you have seen, the definitions are quite expansive. The criminal penalties that may result from a conviction for family violence range from class A misdemeanor through the three degrees of a felony to first degree. This means that a sentence as long as 99 years might be imposed in the most extreme cases.

The assistance of an attorney is an absolute necessity in cases such as this. Whether accusing or accused of this crime, legal representation is indispensable in the Texas legal system. It is no exaggeration whatsoever to say that the Texas legal system is designed for all individuals to have their own professional advocate, and anyone who attempts to navigate a case such as this without legal assistance will find themselves at an enormous disadvantage. No individual can truly communicate their side of the story to a Texas court without able legal representation.