If you’ve been accused of domestic violence, it can be hard to know what the punishment will be. The penalties vary depending on the severity of the charge and whether you committed a misdemeanor or felony. In addition, a felony conviction can come with a permanent record that will impact your life for years to come.
A first offense is usually charged as a misdemeanor, but it can be elevated to a felony if the assault was against a person who had a protective order or if it caused bodily harm or injury. A pattern of abuse will also elevate a domestic violence charge to a felony, as will violations of a restraining order.
Assault is defined under the Texas Penal Code as knowingly and without legal justification causing bodily harm to another person, threatening that you will commit assault, and using a deadly weapon or dangerous object on someone. The offense is punished with up to 1 year in jail and up to a $4,000 fine. Assault can include hitting, kicking, choking, or pulling hair from another person. In addition to physical contact, assault can also involve a threat of violence or sexually suggestive behavior.
Felony charges are a big concern for people who have been arrested for a domestic abuse charge, as they can have long sentences in state prison. This is especially true if you are caught committing multiple acts of domestic violence or a crime against a child, like assault with a deadly weapon.
Under California’s Three Strike Law, if you have two previous convictions for a serious felony or violent felony, you can face a minimum of 25 years in state prison on your third one. This is a severe penalty, and a felony conviction can make it difficult to get a job in the future.
In many domestic violence cases, victims can seek restitution for the injuries they have suffered as a result of the abuse. This can cover medical bills, lost income, counseling costs, and more. It can also help victims obtain a civil protection order and a court order that keeps the perpetrator out of their lives.
If you are seeking compensation for a domestic abuse crime, you need to file your claim in a timely manner. The statute of limitations for filing a case against an offender may range from a short period to several years, and will depend on the jurisdiction where you filed the complaint.
Allegations of domestic violence can have a negative effect on your reputation and your relationships with friends and family. They can be damaging to your career and even lead to a divorce.
A first-time domestic abuse offender often receives less harsh penalties than a repeat offender, because the courts view them as more trustworthy and deserving of leniency. In fact, some domestic violence offenders are not charged with a criminal offense at all.
However, if you have been charged with a felony, it is essential that you consult with a qualified criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Having an experienced lawyer on your side can ensure that the prosecution’s team does not go overboard with their allegations and that you receive a fair and reasonable sentence that suits your particular situation.