In the state of Texas, domestic violence is referred to as ‘family violence.’ Though family violence is not defined in Texas law in its own specific terms, it is referenced and designated as an assaultive offense within the law. The Texas family code and state penal code define the types of relationships involved in family violence and outline situations in which those relationships are materially consequential to a family violence crime.


The Texas Family Code (Title 4, Chapter 71) defines family violence crimes as violence between spouses and/or against children and other blood relatives, and violence against former spouses and/or former members of a single household, including any violence between foster parents and children. In Texas, dating violence falls under family violence crimes as well; the same criteria for abuse and violence toward a family member apply in such cases.


Family violence is most often considered assault. Assault and punishments for assaultive offenses are defined in the Texas Penal Code (Title 5, Chapter 22). Assault family violence charges arise when a victim claims that a member of his or her household or family caused harm or injury to the victim. Such charges can stem from contact with or threats against the victim.


Assault family violence crimes can be designated as either a misdemeanor or felony, the conviction penalties depending on the facts of the case. The charges might include the following:


  • Class C misdemeanor: a fine of up to $500.
  • Class A misdemeanor: up to 1 year in state jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000.
  • Third-degree felony: between 2 and 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Second-degree felony: between 2 and 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
  • First-degree felony: between 5 and 99 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.


Note: the Texas state legislature has created family violence enhancement for crimes involving family abuse such as child abuse or sexual abuse of a family member, as well as for assault that includes strangulation or occlusion of the blood or airways.. These enhancement allows for assault convictions involving family violence to carry harsher penalties than other types of assault.


Aside from the impacts on personal liberty and finances, a conviction for assault family violence could hurt you in other ways, such as loss of custody of your children, loss of job opportunities, loss of housing options, and more. Your entire reputation could be ruined, too. If you are facing family violence charges in Texas, it is extremely important to secure the services of a professional lawyer with experience and success in dealing with such cases.

If you or a loved one has been arrested and charged with a family violence crime in Austin, Texas, or the surrounding area, consider contacting a caring and competent attorney like Brian Erskine of Erskine Law. Mr. Erskine will be able to explain the details of the charges against you to help you understand what your next steps should be; he will create a plan for moving forward to reach the best possible outcome in your case. If you find yourself in need of services from a skilled attorney to fight family violence charges, do not hesitate to reach out to the qualified counsel at Erskine Law. For a free consultation, contact Attorney Brian Erskine online or by phone at 512-359-3030.



  • In an immediate emergency, call 911.

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