When times get tough, arguments between family members can easily erupt. Misunderstandings occur, tensions run high, and before you know it, you may find yourself in the unfortunate situation of facing domestic assault charges. As you face an uncertain future that may include costly fines, time behind bars, and other limitations on your freedom, you may also wonder how this incident will impact your parental rights. While family law matters are not handled in a criminal court, your domestic assault case may affect your current child custody or visitation arrangement. Here are a few things you should know about how domestic assault cases influence your rights as a parent, and what steps to take to achieve the best possible outcome given the circumstances.
Domestic Assault Charges in Texas
Under Texas state law, assault is defined as the intentional, knowing, or reckless infliction of bodily injury to another person. Assault can also occur if one person intentionally or knowingly threatens another person with imminent bodily injury. The assaultive act is considered an act of family violence when it occurs between family members or members of the same household, such as between spouses, dating partners, exes, blood relatives, and in-laws. If this is the first incident, the charge will likely be classified as a Class A misdemeanor. However, if the defendant has committed two or more offenses in less than 12 months, this may necessitate a charge of continuous violence against the family, which is considered a felony of the third degree.
Custody Decisions and Domestic Assault
In a court that handles family law matters, cases involving child custody require the judge to assess the safety of the child in each home environment. If the parents are pursuing a shared custody arrangement, the court will evaluate the ability of each parent to provide a nurturing space in which the child may thrive. Parents who have a domestic assault or family violence conviction on their record may be prohibited from obtaining possession of the child. It’s important to note that each situation is different, so it’s ultimately up to the court to determine whether the abusive parent can still enjoy visitation rights or limited custodial rights. In some cases, it’s recommended that the accused parent have supervised visitation rights until it’s determined that the child is safe in the parent’s care.
Protect Your Future Today
Facing a domestic assault charge can be overwhelming and frightening, as a conviction carries significant and lasting impacts. If you are a parent who has been charged with an assaultive offense, you need effective and reliable legal representation as soon as possible so that you can navigate the legal process and achieve the best possible outcome given the specifics of your case. Don’t let one mistake take away your parental rights—contact a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney to discuss your best options for moving forward.
The Law Offices of Keith G. Allen, PLLC is committed to providing reliable and effective criminal defense attorney services to clients throughout the area. Call (832) 230-0075 today to arrange your free consultation.