Posted on 10/31/22

Domestic violence, also called family violence in Texas, is a criminal offense. Unfortunately, many defendants facing family violence charges have been falsely accused. In divorce cases, one parent may falsely accuse the other parent as a way to gain a more strategic advantage in the child custody proceedings. 

You may feel intimidated and frustrated if you have been accused of domestic violence and did not commit the crime. You may wonder whether the domestic violence charge is a misdemeanor or a felony. The answer is that it depends on the facts of your case and whether the prosecutor chooses to pursue misdemeanor or criminal charges against you.

The Definition of Family Violence in Texas

Family violence is defined as an act committed by a member of the household or family against another member of the same family or household with the intent to cause:

  • Physical harm

  • Bodily injury

  • Assault 

  • Sexual assault

Additionally, a family or household member can face family violence charges if they choose to threaten another member. The prosecution will need to prove that the defendant’s threats reasonably cause fear of imminent serious harm, bodily injury, or sexual assault. A household member will not be charged with domestic violence if they intend to cause bodily injury or physical harm in self-defense.

Is Family Violence a Misdemeanor or Felony?

The crime of family violence, commonly called domestic violence, can be classified as a misdemeanor or felony in Texas. Whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony, you can face jail sentences and fines and lose your right to carry a firearm. Family violence convictions are not eligible for expungement in Texas. In other words, a conviction will stay on your record forever, whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony charge.

Domestic Violence is Charged Under the Assault Statutes

There is no specific domestic violence Statute in Texas. Instead, defendants are charged with assault on a family member or household member. A defendant faces assault charges for committing violence against a person when they intentionally or knowingly:

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