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What is Domestic Violence in Arlington, Texas?

Domestic Violence

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:

  • Parents of the same child
  • Persons related by blood, marriage, or adoption
  • Foster child and parent
  • Current or former co-residents
  • Current or former dating partners or spouses.

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.

How to Report 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

Email: info@arlingtonlifeshelter.org


Mission Arlington
Phone: (817) 277-6620


SafeHaven of Tarrant County

Hotline: (877) 701-7233

Phone: (817) 535-6462

Email: info@safehaventc.org 

How Long do You Have to Report Domestic Violence in Arlington?

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.

How to get Domestic Violence Charges Dismissed in Arlington

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:

  • Self defense and defense of others: This is usually the most effective affirmative defense strategy in cases of domestic violence in Arlington. Self-defense laws in Texas allow a person to use force upon the reasonable belief that such a measure is the only way to prevent the use of unlawful force by another. For the accused's actions to be justified, the force used must be reasonable and necessary to prevent imminent bodily harm by the victim. The defense is, however, not available in circumstances where the accused consented to or provoked the use of force by the alleged victim.
  • Lack of mental element: In any domestic violence charge, it is essential for the prosecution to prove the requisite mental element of the intention. In other words, the accused must have intended to commit the offense against the victim. Otherwise, such a charge may fail. Defenses such as involuntary intoxication, accident, mental illness, mistake, or duress may, however, show the lack of intention of the accused.
  • False allegations/ulterior motives: It is a defense in a domestic violence case to show that the victim's accusations are false or that the victim has ulterior motivations. Proof that such motivations are driven either as a form of revenge or due to the desire to gain an advantage in a divorce or child custody case will suffice for such a charge to be dismissed.

In Arlington, there are a wide range of domestic violence-related charges, including: 

  • Domestic Assault: committed when a person intentionally or recklessly threatens or causes bodily injury to a member of a family or household. Such conduct also includes any reckless behavior or deliberate engagement of the victim in a provocative or offensive contact. The offense of domestic assault carries both misdemeanor and felony penalties. A domestic assault charge is classified as a class C misdemeanor when the victim has been threatened with physical harm or engaged in provocative or offensive contact. In this regard, the offense is punishable by a fine of up to $500. The offense is, however, bumped into a class A misdemeanor when bodily injury is caused to the victim.  This is punishable by imprisonment for a period of one year and a fine of up to $4,000. In the event where the offense involves strangulation of the victim or where the accused has a prior domestic assault conviction, the offense becomes a felony in the third degree punishable by imprisonment for two to ten years and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Aggravated Domestic Assault: In Arlington, this occurs when serious bodily injury is caused to a family or household member or when a deadly weapon is used or displayed. This offense is a first-degree felony punishable by a prison sentence between five years to life imprisonment and a fine of $10,000. Other forms of aggravated domestic assault are classified as a felony in the second degree, punishable upon conviction by imprisonment for two to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Continuous Violence Against the Family: The offense arises when more than two domestic assaults are committed by the accused in twelve months. In this regard, there are no requirements that the offender must have been convicted of the previous offenses or that the domestic assaults were perpetrated against the same victim. Repeatedly committing violence against the family is a felony in the third degree that attracts a prison sentence for two to ten years and a fine of up to $10,000.
  • Violation of a Family Protective Order: A family protective order prohibits the offender from close contact with the victim. In Arlington, the offense is a class A misdemeanor punishable by one-year imprisonment and a fine of up to $4,000. The crime becomes a felony in the third degree where the offender has been previously convicted of the offense or violates the protective order by assaulting or stalking the victim. Upon conviction of this felony, the offender may face penalties of two to ten years imprisonment plus a fine of up to $10,000.

What Happens if the Victim doesn't Show up at the Trial for the Domestic Violence Charge in Arlington?

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.