The first arrest for domestic assault is usually a misdemeanor, but a second offense within a calendar year involving the same alleged victim can become a felony offense. In 2009, the Texas Legislature added the crime of continuous violence against the family to the Texas Penal Code.
A jury will be required to unanimously agree that an alleged offender engaged in conduct constituting domestic assault two or more times within 12 months. The jurors do not have to unanimously agree, however, on the specific conduct in which the alleged offender engaged that constituted domestic assault.
Plano Continuous Violence Against the Family Attorney
Were you or your loved one arrested for continuous violence against the family in the greater Plano area? You should try to exercise your right to remain silent until you are able to speak to a lawyer.
Make sure that your first phone call is to the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy. We can provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case when you call (469) 304-3422 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.
Continuous Violence Against the Family Charges in Texas
A person commits the offense of continuous violence against the family under Texas Penal Code § 25.11(a) 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.
Those relationships and associations 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.
Jurors are not required under Texas Penal Code § 25.11(b) to agree unanimously on the specific conduct in which an alleged offender engaged constituting 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. The jury is required to agree unanimously that the alleged offender, during a period of 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 Collin County
Continuous violence against the family is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Under Texas Penal Code § 25.11(c), people 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 Plano
When you are charged with continuous violence against the family, it is important to understand that the alleged victim in your case does not have the power to “drop the charges.” The filing decision is strictly the power of the prosecutor assigned to your case, although non-cooperation of an alleged victim can make a case more difficult to prosecute.
You will want to have an experienced lawyer review your specific case to identify any other potential defenses. Some cases may lack the evidence necessary to obtain convictions.
Collin County Continuous Violence Against the Family Resources
Texas Family Violence Benchbook — The Texas Family Violence Benchbook is available on this section of the official website for the Texas Courts. Learn more about protective orders, child custody and support provisions, and the protective order registry. Additional information includes family violence surrounding immigrant families.
Ellison v. State, 425 S.W.3d 637 (Tex.App.—Houston [14th Dist.] 2014) — Philip Wade Ellison was convicted of continuous violence against the family and adjudicated guilty of continuous violence against the family in separate indictments and sentenced to five years for each offense, to run concurrently. He argued 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.
Find a Plano Continuous Violence Against the Family Attorney | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
If you or your loved one have been arrested for alleged continuous family violence in Plano or another nearby area of Collin County, get yourself legal representation right away. An experienced criminal defense lawyer will give you the best chance of obtaining a favorable outcome for your case.