"Domestic violence" is physical or threatened violence and abuse occurring within a relationship between married or cohabiting couples, couples who have a child in common, persons who were formerly married to one another or basically any couple who are in a relationship or who have had a former relationship.
A domestic violence charge in the state of Texas is extremely serious; it often carries a restraining order which may require you to leave your house immediately and stay away from the person who accused you of domestic violence. Even if you own the house or pay for it, you will have to leave. In addition, you will likely face jail time, probation, counseling and more.
There are graduated penalties for these types of offenses depending on the particular circumstances of the event and the history of the individuals involved. Many, if not most, of the penalties are severe. Even sentences of Probation can, and often do, come with special conditions that make successful completion more expensive, time consuming and difficult. In addition to the criminal charge itself, Domestic Violence cases carry many far-reaching collateral consequences, which, in many cases, may be more severe than the criminal penalty itself. The consequences include but are not limited to: your ability to own and possess a firearm, serve in the military, your ability to live in your home or maintain contact with your children.
The potential consequences for non-U.S. citizens are of particular importance; federal law can characterize these offenses as “Aggravated Felonies”, “Crimes of Violence” and “Crimes of Moral Turpitude” even when the criminal charge itself is only a misdemeanor. As a result, these charges can and often do result in deportation, denial of naturalization and exclusion from admission to the United States. A person charged with these types of offenses may be subject to these collateral consequences even where they received deferred adjudication, a petition for non-disclosure, or an expunction.