By Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
There are two legal components to assault/ family violence cases. The first I discussed yesterday when I generally outlined what the legal definition of assault was. The second component is what constitutes a household or dating relationship?
If there is a “household or dating relationship” it triggers an “affirmative finding of family violence” or “AFFV” This is what separates domestic assaults legally from ordinary assaults. The AFFV is what gives spousal or domestic abuse the additional severity.
The Legalese of Affirmative Findings of Family Violence
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Article 42.013 requires a court to make an affirmative finding of family violence if the offense constituted family violence under Texas Family Code. 71.004.
Turning to the definition of 71.004, family violence is defined as:
(1) an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself;(2) abuse, as that term is defined by Sections 261.001(1)(C), (E), (G), (H), (I), (J), (K), and (M), by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household; or
(a) “Dating violence” means an act, other than a defensive measure to protect oneself, by an actor that:(1) is committed against a victim or applicant for a protective order:(A) with whom the actor has or has had a dating relationship; or(B) because of the victim’s or applicant’s marriage to or dating relationship with an individual with whom the actor is or has been in a dating relationship or marriage; and(2) is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the victim or applicant in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault.(b) 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.(c) A casual acquaintanceship or ordinary fraternization in a business or social context does not constitute a “dating relationship” under Subsection (b).