Being charged with any type of crime can wreak havoc on your future opportunities. But when charged with a felony, the penalties are much more severe. If you’re facing felony family violence or domestic violence charges in Texas, here are four things to do immediately:
- Learn What Constitutes a Felony Charge
Texas’ penal code does not address domestic violence in a separate section of law; rather, domestic violence occurs when an act of assault is committed against a family member, partner, or household member. Specifically, assault is defined by Texas Penal Code Chapter 22, Section 22.01 as intentionally or recklessly causing bodily injury to another, threatening to cause bodily harm to another, or causing physical contact with another with the knowledge that the other person regards the contact as provocative.
The charge becomes a felony when an act of assault is committed against a family member and:
- The defendant has a prior assault conviction (third degree felony);
- A deadly weapon is used in the assault (first degree felony);
- Serious bodily injury is caused to the victim (first degree felony);
- Build Your Defense
The earlier that you start building your defense for a felony domestic violence charge, the better. Some defenses for felony domestic violence charges include unintentional assault or accidentally assaulting, not aware one was causing harm, or that one is acting out of self-defense. In some cases, you may also be able to argue that no offense occurred, and that the charges against you are in error.
- Understand Potential Penalties
The third step following a felony domestic violence arrest and charge is to understand the penalties that you may face if convicted of the crime. A first degree felony is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 99 years and a fine of up to $10,000. Second and third degree penalties are less severe; both carry a fine of up to $10,000, while the former (second degree) carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years, and the latter (third degree) carries a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
- Call a Criminal Defense Attorney
The penalties associated with a felony domestic violence charge in Texas are nothing to laugh about; a 10-year prison sentence, large fine, and permanent mark on your criminal record can greatly affect your life for years to come.
To help you build your defense, determine whether or not you should plead guilty or not guilty, and to negotiate a plea bargain, call an attorney. At The Hampton Law Firm P.L.L.C., you can contact us today for a free case consultation by calling 817-435-2909 now.