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What are the Texas laws concerning family and domestic violence?

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Quick Answer

As of 2015, Texas laws related to domestic violence specify that a threat of force or the actual use of force that results in bodily injury constitutes a crime, according to FindLaw. Those who provoke or initiate offensive physical contact may be guilty of domestic violence. Domestic violence laws apply to spouses, related individuals, people in dating relationships and people living in the same household.

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Domestic violence convictions rely on proving purposeful and reckless behavior that results in bodily injury, states FindLaw. Anyone engaged in self-defense or unintentional actions is not guilty of domestic violence. Other valid defenses include a lack of knowledge and demonstrating that no actual offense occurred.

Texas laws provide a range of sentences for domestic violence: A class C misdemeanor conviction results in a fine up to $500, while a felony conviction may carry a sentence of two to 20 years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000. Determining factors in a domestic violence case include the defendant's relationship to the victim, past charges for similar incidents, and the use of strangulation or suffocation, notes FindLaw. A defendant's intent usually determines the severity of the charges, and a defendant who willfully or recklessly causes bodily harm receives charges for a class A misdemeanor.

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