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Continuous Family Violence in Texas

Texas Penal Code § 25.11 was created to enhance the penalties to a third-degree felony when it is alleged that a person assaults one or more of his/her family members, household members, or a person with whom he/she has a dating relationship, two or more times within a 12 month period.

If you are charged with any act of domestic violence you should understand that the penalties can be enhanced. The charges are serious. Contact Matt Horak, experienced criminal defense attorney to discuss the best ways to mount an aggressive defense to the charges of continuous family violence in the greater Houston area, Harris County, and the surrounding areas including The Woodlands in Montgomery County, Texas.

Section 25.11 for Continuous Family Violence

Under section 25.11 of the Penal Code, Continuous Violence Against the Family:

A person commits an offense if, during a period that is 12 months or less in duration, the person two or more times engages in conduct that constitutes an offense under Section 22.01(a)(1) against another person or persons whose relationship to or association with the defendant is described by Section 71.0021(b), 71.003, or 71.005, Family Code.

Section 22.01(a)(1) of the Penal Code, Assault, provides that “[a] person commits an offense if the person ... intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another.” Id. § 22.01(a)(1).

The relationships covered by the statute include a husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, parents of children, blood relatives, and even individuals in a dating relationship.

Texas Family Code § 71.003 defines the term “family” to include “individuals related by consanguinity or affinity, as determined under Sections 573.022 and 573.024, Government Code, individuals who are former spouses of each other, individuals who are the parents of the same child, without regard to marriage, and a foster child and foster parent, without regard to whether those individuals reside together.”

Texas Family Code § 71.005 defines the term “household” to mean “a unit composed of persons living together in the same dwelling, without regard to whether they are related to each other.”

Under section 71.0021(b) of the Family Code, a “dating relationship” as “a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.” Tex. Fam.Code Ann. § 71.0021(b) (West 2008 & Supp.2013).

Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 71.0021(b) provides that for purposes of this title, “dating relationship” means a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on consideration of:

  1. the length of the relationship;
  2. the nature of the relationship; and
  3. the frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

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Punishments for Continuous Family Violence in Texas

A charge of continuous violence against the family is a felony of the third degree. A felony of the third degree is punishable by incarceration for two to ten years in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and a fine of no more than $10.000.


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Allowable Units of Prosecution for Continuous Family Violence

Subsection (d) of section 25.11 provides:

A defendant may not be charged with more than one count under Subsection (a) if all of the specific conduct that is alleged to have been engaged in is alleged to have been committed against a single victim or members of the same household, as defined by Section 71.005, Family Code.Tex. Penal Code § 25.11(d).

In Ellison v. State, 14-12-00920-CR, 2014 WL 1220401 (Tex. App. Mar. 25, 2014) the court explained that it appears likely that the Texas Legislature “intended the allowable unit of prosecution to be a series of two or more bodily-injury assaults within the same 12–months–or–less period per victim (or per “household”).”

Thus the court concluded that under section 25.11 the allowable unit of prosecution for double jeopardy purposes is a series of at least two bodily-injury assaults committed within a certain 12–months–or–less period against a single victim in a dating relationship with appellant. See id. § 25.11(d). Id.

Additionally, under the statutory scheme of section 25.11, only one punishment is intended “in cases of continuous family violence where the specific underlying acts of bodily injury assault upon which the defendant was convicted occurred against the same victim and within the same period the continuous family violence occurred.” Id. (citing § 25.11(c)).


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Horak Law An Attorney for Continuous Family Violence

Matt Horak represents clients charged with domestic assault, domestic violence and family violence crimes throughout the Houston Texas area, including Harris, Montgomery, Fort Bend, Brazoria, Galveston, Liberty, and Waller counties. With offices in Houston and The Woodlands, call Horak Law today at (713) 225-8000 or toll-free at (800) 225-8009 to set up a free consultation and discuss the specific facts of your case.

Although any allegation of assault in a domestic violence case is serious, the possible penalties and punishments are even more serious after repeated allegations have been made. An experienced Houston criminal defense lawyer can fight to have criminal charges reduced or dismissed.


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Our Office in The Woodlands
1790 Hughes Landing Blvd #400 The Woodlands, TX 77380 (281) 907-4990
Our Office in Houston
5300 Memorial Dr #750 A Houston, TX 77007 (713) 225-8000
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Matt Horak Matt Horak is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization since 2014