Tarrant County Bail Bond Specialists

Domestic Violence Calls Increase in Texas During COVID-19

\"DomesticDomestic violence is already a global epidemic, but the spike in domestic violence during COVID-19 is a serious concern. With the increased stress that stems from financial insecurity, cramped and confined living conditions, isolation from loved ones, and fears of the virus itself, the home environment can become a dangerous and threatening place for victims of domestic abuse. Many women, men and children are trapped at home with their abusers and have limited resources to seek help with currently overloaded healthcare systems. Since emergency and helpline calls about domestic violence in Texas are on the rise, it’s important to understand the penalties for these offenses and where to get help. Here’s what you need to know.

What Is Domestic Violence in Texas?

Domestic violence is taken very seriously by Texas authorities—there are severe penalties for those who are guilty of abusing those in their household. But what constitutes as domestic violence? There are three classifications for domestic violence, and each has their own punishments in Texas.

Domestic Assault

Domestic assault, according to the Texas Penal Code, is defined as “an assault against a family member, household member, or a current or past dating partner including:

  • Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person
  • Intentionally or knowingly threatening another person with imminent bodily injury; or
  • Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another that the offender knows or reasonably should know that the victim will find provocative or offensive.”

The wording for these situations is specific because there are situations where injury occurs by accident, and therefore the person cannot be charged. The word “reckless” is used to clarify that the assault or injury disregarded the outcome. “Intentional” is used to specify that the act was done on purpose to cause harm.

For example, if your spouse accidentally knocked you over by running past you, it does not qualify as domestic assault. However, if by trying to close the door to prevent them from leaving the house, you close the door on their hand, you could be charged with domestic violence under the argument that the act was reckless.

Aggravated Domestic Assault

Aggravated domestic assault is slightly different than domestic assault. The main difference is that this type of assault deals with the bodily injury of the victim or the use of a deadly weapon. An example of aggravated domestic assault would be if the offender hit their spouse with a baseball bat or if the offender threatened their relative with a firearm. Even if the weapon was not used and no injuries were sustained, the offender could still be charged with aggravated domestic assault.

Continuous Violence Against the Family

The consequences are even more serious for individuals who have been charged multiple times for domestic assault or aggravated domestic assault. This is classified as someone who has been found guilty of domestic assault twice within a 12-month period.

In order for a violent crime to be classified as a domestic offense, the victim must either be a spouse, child, adopted child, common-law spouse, parent of a child, a boyfriend or girlfriend, or others living in the same home.

Reasons for Increasing Domestic Violence

There are many reasons why domestic violence has increased during the pandemic, but the main cause is merely due to the increased confinement with family members. While some families are enjoying the time to slow down and spend more time together while businesses and schools are closed, other families are highly stressed by the increased contact with each other.

For those who have negative relationships with their family members, this time can be increasingly vulnerable and frustrating. Additionally, with the increased restrictions from the government and expectations for how each family member should behave can lead to heated interactions and fights. It’s important for families to do their best to be patient with each other, and recognize when it’s time to get some space by going for a walk outdoors or choosing a different room to relax in.

What Are the Penalties for Domestic Violence in Tarrant County, Texas?

The penalties for domestic violence in Texas are very serious, each increasing based on the severity of the situation. Domestic assault is a Class A misdemeanor in Texas, which includes a possible sentence of up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000. If this is a repeat offense, the charge becomes a third-degree felony, which includes between two and 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

For aggravated domestic assault, the offender can be charged with a second-degree felony with a penalty of between two and 20 years in prison, and/or a fine of up to $10,000. If a deadly weapon was used in the crime, it rises to a first-degree felony. The penalty in this case would be between five and 99 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

If the crime is of continuous violence against the family, it is classified as a third-degree felony. This charge would be added to other charges related to the incident and includes domestic assault and aggravated domestic assault charges.

Get Bail in Tarrant County

The COVID-19 outbreak in Texas has raised tensions in homes with preexisting risks of domestic abuse. If you’ve been arrested for domestic violence, aggravated domestic violence, or continuous violence against the family, our reliable bail bond service in Texas can help. PCS Bail Bonds offers a variety of bail bonds services in Fort Worth and Tarrant County. Our top priority is to help you get your life back on track so that you can focus on settling your court case. To learn more about our bail in Fort Worth and bail bonds in Tarrant County or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!

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