“Domestic violence” is a serious topic. If you have reached this article, you are likely concerned for the physical safety of yourself or a loved one. The attorneys at Youngblood Law, PLLC, who are experienced in handling domestic violence cases, answer clients’ most frequently asked questions.
Special Note: If you are in immediate danger, get to a safe place and call 911. More help is available at the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233, or text “START” to 88788.
What is Domestic Violence?
The National Domestic Violence Hotline describes domestic violence as a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship.
Texas state law uses the term “family violence” to refer to domestic violence. An assault can be against a spouse, family member, household member (such as a roommate or foster child), dating partner, or former dating partner. Family violence offenses include but are not limited to physical assault, homicide, kidnapping, and sexual offenses.
How Common is Domestic Violence in Texas?
The Texas Department of Public Safety states the total number of family violence incidents reported in 2020 was 213,875. There were 231,029 victims (70.8% female, 29.2% male) and 224,792 offenders (72.8% male, 27.2% female).
The most common weapon was the assailant’s own body (hands, feet, and fists), employed in 74.3% of cases. Knives were used in 3.7% of cases, and firearms were used in 3.3% of incidents. The largest percentage of family violence reports was between family members, followed by husband/wife violence, then parent/child.
According to the Texas Council on Family Violence, 228 Texans were killed by intimate partners in 2020, who also murdered 31 friends, family, and bystanders. The number represents a 23% increase in family violence homicides between 2019 and 2020.
What Penalties Do Offenders Face?
In Texas, people who commit family violence crimes can be charged with a misdemeanor or felony. Depending on several factors, including the offender’s relationship with the victim and the type of assault, the offender faces the following penalties for domestic violence crimes:
- Misdemeanors: up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $4,000
- Second-degree felony: 2-10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- Third-degree felony: 2-20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- First-degree felony: 5-99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
Additionally, a felony conviction becomes part of an offender’s permanent record, impacting the ability to vote, future career opportunities, and child custody arrangements. In Texas, convicted felons are also prohibited from owning firearms and obtaining fishing and hunting licenses.
What Legal Steps Can I Take to Leave an Abusive Situation?
If you or your loved one are the victims of domestic violence in Fort Worth, Texas, please know that the team at Youngblood Law, PLLC, stands ready to help you. Depending on your situation, we have several legal tools we can use to protect you and your family:
- Filing charges: We advise you how to file criminal charges against the offender.
- Protective order: We assist you in obtaining a protective order, in which a judge can force the abuser to leave your home and stop all communication with you. If children are involved, the judge can order the offender to stay away from them. Texas has three types of protective orders, each of which has different applications.
- Filing for divorce: If your abuser is your spouse and you decide to seek a divorce, our divorce lawyers prepare your legal documents and represent you in court. If appropriate, our restraining order attorneys will apply for a restraining order as part of the divorce proceedings.
- Child custody: Based on your children’s best interest and safety, we draft a plan reflecting your wishes. If you decide to file for sole custody (sole managing conservatorship), our family law attorneys present your case to the judge.
Furthermore, we have a vast network of counselors, medical professionals, children’s therapists, financial planners, real estate agents, and other support groups we can refer you to as you navigate a new life for yourself and your family. You are not alone!
Where Do I Find a Family Violence Lawyer in Fort Worth, Texas?
The family violence attorneys at Youngblood Law, PLLC, have helped many women and men escape domestic violence through legal actions. Although obtaining legal protection for you and your family is our top priority, we will also encourage you to plan for a future where you are safe and at peace. Call us today at (817) 601-5345 or contact us online to schedule an appointment. Your life may be very challenging right now, but our team, with its extensive experience in family law, will place you in the best possible position to start building a new happily ever after.
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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
Youngblood Law, PLLC
2501 Parkview Dr. Ste. 500
Fort Worth, TX 76102