If you or a family member faces a domestic violence charge, it is essential to know that Texas has alternatives to jail or prison if you are convicted. These alternatives to prison depend on the specific facts of the domestic violence charge. In Texas, domestic violence charges can be based on one of three types of crimes — domestic assault, aggravated domestic assault, and continuous violence against the family. Avoiding prison time for a domestic violence conviction is more likely to be granted to first-time offenders of domestic assault when there are no aggravating factors.
The Penalties for Domestic Assualt in Texas
Under Texas Penal Code Sec. 22.01, domestic assault is defined as an assault against a member of a family or a household or a past or current dating partner. The prosecutor must prove that the defendant did one or more of the following:
- Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly caused bodily injury to that person
- Intentionally or knowingly threatening the person with imminent bodily injury, or
- Intentionally or knowingly caused physical contact with the person when the offender knows or reasonably should know the victim would find such contact provocative or offensive
When the defendant has no previous domestic assault convictions, they will likely be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. This type of charge carries a penalty of one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. When the defendant has a previous domestic assault conviction, the crime will be charged as a third-degree felony. The penalty for a third-degree felony is two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Texas has alternatives to jail or prison for domestic assault in some cases. With the help of a skilled attorney, a defendant may be able to negotiate for deferred adjudication and community supervision, also known as probation, instead of prison. Deferred adjudication is available to first-time offenders and can be granted when the defendant pleases guilty and the court postpones sentencing for a period.
During deferred adjudication, the defendant is required to comply with probation orders. There can be no new arrests, and the defendant must complete requirements such as finishing domestic violence offender treatment, paying restitution, and volunteering in the community.
Community Supervision or Probation
Another alternative to jail or prison would be community supervision, also known as probation. one of the defendants please guilty or is convicted, the court can grant community supervision instead of a jail sentence of up to two years for a misdemeanor and up to 10 years for a felony. The court may require a defendant to serve some jail or prison time before starting community supervision. If the defendant fails to comply with community supervision, they must return to jail or prison to complete the sentence.
Discuss Your Case With a Texas Attorney
If you are facing a domestic violence charge, it is crucial that you understand your legal options. Do not hesitate to contact the Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorneys at the Abel Law Firm to schedule an initial consultation and learn how we can fight for you.