How long does someone stay in jail for domestic violence?

A Domestic Violence Bail Bond Hearing

In Texas, as anywhere else in this country, domestic violence has become a focus. Not only in preventing it but punishment too, starting with high domestic violence bail being set by judges. However, every state has varying descriptions of what is considered domestic violence.  

How does Texas define domestic violence?

First, we need to define the three categories of domestic violence under Texas laws. Those categories are: 

  • Family: This category includes members of the family, whether they are biological, non-biological, family by either adoption or blood-related.  
  • Relationships: Examples in this category include fiancés, ex-boy, or girlfriend, no matter how long ago you were dating but it must be more than a single date. 
  • Household: This category includes people who live with you currently or in the past. It also includes extended family members, or roommates that have lived in the same residence. 

In the case of an arrest and the possibility of being allowed to post domestic violence bail, there are more details listed in each of these categories. In Texas, domestic violence is defined as when a person causes bodily injury to a family member deliberately, knowingly, or rashly. In Texas, domestic violence charges are stated as “assault on a family member”, but the two terms are often used. 

How much is domestic violence bail in Texas?

The amount of domestic violence bail bond in Texas will be determined by the judge based on the circumstances of the arrest. All Texas courts have a bond “schedule” that judges use as a guideline, however, they are allowed to adjust the amount of domestic violence bail if they deem necessary. For misdemeanors, typical amounts for bail average between $1,000 to $3,500. For a felony arrest, the bail amount can range from $5,000 to $50,000 and upward. 

Is domestic violence a misdemeanor or felony in Texas and what is the possible length of incarceration time? 

There are different levels of domestic violence, and the classifications are as follows: 

  • Domestic Violence Assault: This charge is for when a person comes in contact with a member of the family or household deliberately, knowingly, or rashly that causes bodily injury, or the victim finds the action to be provocative or offensive.

A first-time offense is a Class A misdemeanor. If the arrested person has been convicted previously for domestic violence assault, the current arrest becomes a 3rd-degree felony. The punishment can include between 2 years and 10 years of prison time with a maximum fine of $10,000.

  • Aggravated Domestic Assault:  This charge is for a person who has taken an action against another person deliberately or knowingly that results in serious bodily injury. This can also include the person arrested who had used a weapon during the confrontation.  

This is classified as a 1st-degree felony or an Aggravated Domestic Assault by Threat. This crime can be sentenced between 5 and 99 years, or a life term in prison with a maximum fine of $10,000.

  • Domestic Assault Impeding Breath:  Also referred to as ‘Assault Bodily Injury – Family Member Impeding Breath’, is when a person contacts another person deliberately or knowingly and impedes their breathing. 

This is charged as a 3rd-degree felony and is punished with 2 to 10 years in prison with a maximum fine of $10,000. 

  • Continuous Violence: Any person who is charged with the crime of committing two domestic assaults within 12 months is considered continuous violence. The prosecutor must prove evidence for only one of the alleged domestic violence assaults but they can provide evidence of both. This crime is charged as a 3rd-degree felony with a punishment maximum of 10 years prison time and a maximum fine of $10,000.

What are the conditions of a domestic violence bail bond in Texas?

When the judge grants domestic violence bail, the conditions of the bond can vary based on the criminal charges. Most domestic violence bail bond conditions are the same and can include any or all of the following: 

  1. The defendant cannot leave the state of Texas until their trial.
  2. The defendant is not to consume any alcohol or use any drugs, including prescribed narcotics. 
  3. The defendant will be required to submit to alcohol and drug testing.
  4. The defendant must maintain suitable employment.
  5. The defendant will be required to meet with a probation officer regularly.
  6. The defendant must notify their probation office of any address or employment changes. 

Other possible conditions a judge may require with a domestic violence bail may include: 

1. The defendant is not allowed to possess a firearm.

2. The defendant is required to maintain a specific distance from the victim.

3. The defendant is not allowed to contact the victim.

4. The defendant may be given a curfew. 

5. The defendant may be required to attend alcohol, drug, and/or violence counseling.

In Closing 

A person who has been arrested and allowed domestic violence bail will have many more expenses in the future, the bail bond is just the start. There will be court-ordered fees and fines along with the cost of a defense attorney and possible loss of employment.