Domestic Violence, otherwise known as Family Violence in Arlington, arises when a family member or household causes or threatens to cause physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault to another. Under Texas Family Code, the crime encompasses violence against a family or household member, child abuse, or dating violence. In Arlington, family and household members that may be involved in a domestic violence case include any of the following:
The domestic or intimate relationship between the victim and offender differentiates a charge of domestic violence from other assaultive or violent offenses. Domestic violence will usually result in bodily injury or fear of bodily injury between family and household members. In addition to stiff sentences and huge fines, a conviction for domestic violence may result in other severe consequences, including loss of hunting or fishing license, inability to own or possess firearms, lasting criminal record, deportation issues for non-citizens, and issues relating to divorce and child custody.
In 2017, the Arlington Police Department recorded that incidents of family violence in the city were 4,047. As of 2020, the department recorded 3,791 cases of domestic violence in Arlington.
Report domestic violence in Arlington by either dialing 911 in cases of emergency or by calling the Arlington Police Department at (817) 459-5600. Concerned persons may also visit the police station, which is situated at:
Arlington Police Department
620 W. Division Street
Arlington, TX 76011
Asides from the Austin Police Department, there are other domestic violence resources and programs available in Arlington which victims of domestic violence may seek assistance. These include:
All Women Marching for Hope
Hotline: (800) 799-7233
Phone: (817) 228-1323
Arlington Life Shelter
Phone: (817) 548-9885
Phone: (817) 277-6620
SafeHaven of Tarrant County
Hotline: (877) 701-7233
Phone: (817) 535-6462
Depending on the severity of the charge, domestic violence cases should be reported within the period of two to three years in Arlington. This is in line with the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure which outlines the limitation period within which formal charges must be brought against the defendant for various offenses. The prosecution is therefore required to present an indictment or information within the stipulated time period, failing which the offense becomes statute-barred. For purposes of reporting a case of domestic violence in Arlington, time begins to run from the date the offense was committed. Notably, a domestic assault charge would have to be filed within two years, since the offense is classified as a misdemeanor. This is however not the case in respect of a charge of continuous violence against the family, as such offense is a felony under the law and the limitation period is therefore set to three years. It is advisable that all cases of domestic violence be reported as soon as possible to allow the state to gather enough evidence for the charge to succeed in court.
It is essential that individuals charged with domestic violence seek the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney who would develop several defense strategies to diminish or dismiss the charge. Some of the applicable defenses include:
In Arlington, there are a wide range of domestic violence-related charges, including:
There are various options available to the state when a victim of domestic violence fails to appear in court. To compel the victim to testify, the prosecution can get an order of court known as a subpoena. Where the victim ignores such a court order, the prosecution may request a bench warrant for the victim's arrest. The victim may also be charged with contempt of court for failing to appear or testify at the trial. These remedies are, however, not frequently used, as they raise several issues, including the emotional and psychological state of the victim. Although the victim's testimony is usually considered the most compelling evidence in a case of domestic violence, the state may rely on the strength of other evidence to secure a conviction when the victim refuses to cooperate. Additional supporting evidence include police reports, photographs of the victim's injuries, medical tests, and testimony from other witnesses. The previous criminal records of the accused may also be taken into account by the state when making the decision of whether to prosecute or not.