Domestic Violence FAQs


How Is Domestic Violence Defined In Texas?

Generally, it is defined as some type of assault. What makes it domestic violence is that there is some type of dating relationship between the parties, or some type of marriage and or family relationship between the parties.

Are Instances Of Domestic Violence A Common Occurrence In Divorce Cases?

Sometimes when the divorce has been filed, one party of the divorce is to gain some type of advantage in the divorce or in family court that will cause some type of domestic violence assault charge on the other party. For example, a wife or husband who has filed for divorce, one may be bitter or because they are trying to gain some type of custodial or financial advantage in court could cause assault charges just to be filed against the other party.

If the family court believes that there is a criminal case concerning domestic violence that occurred during the marriage, then very often that family court will have favorable rulings towards the alleged victim of the domestic violence.

How Serious Are Allegations Or Charges Of Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence charges are very serious. They are often called family violence crimes in the State of Texas. For example, I would see what is called a Class A assault and if that is between parties that are related or living in the same household, then family violence charges will be filed. Once a family violence charge has been filed in court then either the police office, prosecutor, the alleged victim can cause a magistrate protective order to be issued. That order can have different conditions on it, but the primary conditions on it would be that the alleged defendant cannot have any contact with the alleged victim in a harassing or threatening manner.

They cannot go to the place of work or employment of the alleged victim. They cannot go within a certain distance, usually two hundred feet of the residence of the alleged victim. If there are children involved they cannot go to the school or daycare where the children are during the day. This often causes problems, these emergency protective orders, since there is a relationship and that relationship makes it a domestic violence or a family assault, if there is an emergency protective order and it is telling the alleged defendant that they cannot go to the residence, they often live at the residence, so, therefore, it forces them to find a secondary place to live and sometimes that is cost-prohibitive on people.

Are Instances Of Domestic Violence A Common Occurrence In Divorce Cases?

Generally, a Class A assault is filed in a domestic violence case and what is defined as a Class C assault is an assault that causes pain. Pain is just basically defined as what we think the pain would be defined as if it hurts someone. There does not have to be bruising, there do not have to be cuts and there does not have to be blood. For example, if someone hits someone in the stomach that is going to cause pain, but it is not necessarily going to leave a bruise or cause any type of bleeding.

This would be considered a Class A assault. Class A assault is a misdemeanor. It is punishable by up to one year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine. If there is a choking that is alleged in the incident, that raises the assault to a felony. Therefore, it is more serious. If someone has a previous conviction or they have received deferred probation for a family violence domestic assault and they are charged with a second family violence domestic assault, then that also raises it to a felony and both of those are felonies of the third-degree which carry up to ten years in prison.

Does The Alleged Victim Have To Show An Injury For An Assault Charge To Be Made?

Not technically for a Class A assault. That just requires that the alleged victim experience pain and pain is not defined as that it has to last for a certain duration of time or that there has to be a visible mark or any type of blood or bruises for it to qualify as pain and therefore be filed as a class A assault.

Common Mistakes Committed By People In Domestic Violence Cases

I will often have a client that says “I talked to the police and I told them that I did place my hands on her neck or I did push her” something like that. That is a mistake talking to the police because you just admitted to the offense and basically made a confession that you committed the crime. Often people will delete certain things like Facebook accounts. They will delete text messages, or they will block someone’s phone number. The person who is the alleged victim, think that they are doing the correct thing by deleting their Facebook account or canceling them as a friend on Facebook and therefore deleting previous text messages.

Often, I can use those text messages, future emails, or posts from Facebook to help my clients in their case. Very often if the allegations of assault did not occur, or did not occur to the extent or the extreme that the alleged victim alleges that they occurred. After time has passed of the charges being filed, the alleged victim will reach out to their loved one, husband, boyfriend, spouse, their family member and say I am sorry, it did not really happen, or it did not happen that way. Very often I can use those text messages and or Facebook posts to the benefit of my client. For more information on Domestic Violence Charges in Texas, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (713) 228-1400 today.

Can Counseling Ever Be Harmful To A Domestic Violence Case?

Yes, it can be, the privilege of therapy is not actually immune from the prosecutor getting those records and seeing what the alleged defendant or my client has told the therapist. So, I recommend it on a case by case basis.

The Steps That Someone Needs To Take After Being Charged With Domestic Violence

The first thing you should do is contact a lawyer. You should contact my office. Look for a lawyer for the right advice and be honest with the lawyer as to what happened, what precipitated the alleged incident, and talk to the lawyer about any type of evidence that may exist. What witnesses there may be or what physical evidence there may be. Also what motive the complainant or the victim may have to make up allegations or to exaggerate what actually may have happened.

Secondly, the person should not make a statement to the police, because there is a zero-tolerance policy. If the police are called out to an assault and they believe one occurred, they are going to make an arrest. Often a defendant making a statement being nervous and all because the police are there, or, just being excited, angry, or whatever, that person will often say things that they will later regret, and or things that actually did not happen, and the police will use that against them.

Can Domestic Violence Records Or Charges Ever Be Expunged Or Sealed In Texas?

You can only get an expungement if your case is dismissed or you are found not guilty and a domestic violence case conviction and or deferred probation cannot be sealed. So a conviction or probation for a domestic violence offense can carry very severe punishments. It can have severe repercussions on someone’s record and or employment history. If someone seeks to get an application to live in an apartment, if the apartment complex runs an investigative history and finds that that person has been convicted or placed on deferred probation for a domestic assault, they will not lease an apartment to them.

What Are Viable Defenses Utilized In Domestic Violence Cases?

These cases are defendable; especially if there is a divorce, child custody arrangement, or anything like that could be a motivating factor for the charges being filed and or exaggerated. Often what makes the case a domestic violence case is that a relationship existed between the parties. People get angry, people have fights and people express those feelings and those actions in their relationships differently than a lot of other people. The case may sound serious and the alleged victim made some serious allegations against my client when they first spoke to the police, but after time I find that those original feelings or those genuine feelings of love and caring for each other often surface.

The alleged victim will contact my client through text messaging, email, Facebook, or call them and leave voicemails that they are sorry that they lied to the police and the prosecutor and I can often use that evidence to help my client in the case. To help him get it dismissed or to help the charges be reduced. It depends on the case, but sometimes self-defense can be a good defense in some cases, but it is a case by case basis. It often depends on the evidence that exists in the police report or if there is any physical evidence or witnesses in the case.

The Importance Of Retaining An Experienced Attorney For Domestic Violence Cases

It is very important to have an attorney that is experienced with these types of cases. While I worked at the district attorney’s office as a prosecutor, I was assigned to the domestic violence section for a year or so. I had experience in what these investigations should include as evidence, what evidence the police officers should look for and try to find at the scene. So you want an attorney who can look at the police report and know what evidence they should look for. Or why that evidence is not there.


You need an attorney who has experience interviewing witnesses and evaluating witness statements to look for inconsistencies and look for reasons as to why the alleged victim may be exaggerating, or why the offense did not happen. You want an attorney who knows the law inside and out regarding domestic violence cases, because even if you get deferred probation, that can have severe ramifications on your future and career, as in where are you going to live and if you were to ever commit a crime it can be used against you to enhance punishments all the way up into a serious felony.