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What is Domestic Violence in San Antonio, Texas?

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence in Dallas refers to violent crimes situations in which the perpetrator and the victim are members of the same family or household.  It includes acts committed by the perpetrator with the intent to cause physical harm or imminent fear of it to the victim. Causing substantial injury or genuine threat of it, sexual contact or conduct, or forceful marriage to a child of a family or household member is also an act of domestic violence. 

Acts of domestic violence are criminalized by several provisions of the Texas Penal Code and the Texas Family Code. For the purpose of these provisions, section 71.003 of the Texas Family Code defines family and household members to include relatives in different degrees, spouses, whether current or separated, foster child and parent, past or present co-residents, and past or current dating or romantic partners.  

Most acts that constitute domestic violence in Dallas are usually crimes against persons such as assault, rape, and aggravated assault. However, the punishments for these offenses are usually enhanced to higher degrees where the accused and the victim share a family, domestic, or romantic relationship. As such, a conviction for a domestic violence charge in Dallas carries severe consequences, including lengthy incarceration, fines, and sex offender registration.  

The Dallas Police Department recorded a total of 14 263 family violence incidents in 2016. According to statistics provided by the Texas Department of Public Safety, family violence numbers in Dallas dropped to 13,943 in 2018 and subsequently rose back to 15,495 in 2020.

How to Report Domestic Violence in Dallas

To report incidents of domestic violence in Dallas, call the Family Violence Unit of the Dallas Police Department at  (214) 670-3111 or 911  if it is an emergency situation that involves imminent danger. Residents can also report physically at the unit located at:


1500 Marilla Street

Dallas, TX 75201


Besides the police, residents of Dallas can also report domestic violence through the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-799-7233, by logging onto the hotline’s webpage, or by texting  LOVEIS to 22522. Similarly, some other organizations, agencies, and recognized hotlines also receive reports of domestic violence in the City of Dallas in order to help victims in several areas, including getting legal assistance, temporary accommodation, and professional counseling. These organizations include:


Jewish Family Services of Greater Dallas 
Phone: (972) 437-9950 ext. 340


The Salvation Army
Carr P. Collins Social Service Center 
Phone: (214) 424-7208

Families to Freedom
Phone: (972) 885-7020


Report Child Abuse

Phone: 1-800-252-5400

Mosaic Family Services

Hotline: (214) 823-4434
Trafficking Hotline: (214) 823-1911

Family Place     

Phone: (214) 941-1991


Protective Order Information
Phone: (214) 653-3528


Genesis Women’s Shelter
Phone: (214) 389-7750


New Beginning Center
Phone: (972) 276-0057


Austin Street Shelter
Phone: (214) 428-4242

Rape Crisis Center

Phone: (214) 590-0430


Child and Family Guidance Centers

Phone: (214) 351-3490


Dallas Police Department Domestic Violence Counselor
Phone: (214) 671-4325 or (214) 671-4307

Lawyers Against Domestic Violence
Phone: (214) 748-1234  ext.3012

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

Generally, charges for domestic violence must be brought at the latest, between two to three years. The time limit for instituting a domestic violence charge is governed by Chapter 12 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure which provides for a limitation period for crimes in the state. Under this law, a misdemeanor domestic assault charge must be brought before a court within two years of its occurrence. Likewise, a charge for continuous violence against a family must be brought within three years. The implication of instituting a domestic violence charge after its limitation period is that such a case is statute-barred and may no longer be heard by the court. However, the most serious offenses such as sexual assaults against a child and domestic violence murder, and manslaughter do not have a limitation period. They can be instituted after any amount of years. Nonetheless, it is advisable to report an incident of domestic violence in Dallas as soon as possible. According to records of interviews of law enforcement in Texas, delayed reporting of certain offenses such as sexual assault can increase the difficulty of collecting needed evidence. Reporting domestic violence as soon as possible can enable the prosecution to gather supporting evidence to sustain the charge.  

How to get Domestic Violence Charges Dismissed in Dallas

The defendant in a domestic violence charge may be able to get a dismissal by working with their attorney to present a defense strategy that is based on facts and evidence that convincingly disputes the prosecution’s case. A skilled criminal defense attorney can build a case based on facts backed by evidence to raise defenses that include: 

  • Self Defense: This defense is applicable where the actions constituting the charge were done by the accused persons to protect themselves from violent conduct or danger posed by the victim. However, not all acts committed in such instances can be considered self-defense. Notably, the accused must not have caused the victim to act in such a manner. Likewise, any force used by the accused must be proportional to the perceived danger. 
  • Defense of Others: like self-defense, an accused may avoid conviction for a domestic violence act by proving that the actions constituting the charge were necessary to prevent the victim from harming another person. The force used for such defense of other persons must also be proportionate to the threat of harm faced. 
  • Child discipline: Texas law allows the reasonable discipline of a child as an exception to domestic violence. As such, parents can use non-deadly force in order to discipline or safeguard the welfare of a child below the age of 18. 
  • Defense of property: it is a defense that the accused’s use of force or threat against the victim was done to protect property owned or possessed by the accused from unlawful interference by the victim. 
  • Limitation period: Texas limitation laws apply to domestic violence charges in Dallas. This means that after a period of time, a charge cannot be actionable in court any longer. The limitation period for domestic assault is two years, that of continuous violence against the family is three years. Therefore, depending on the circumstances of the case, the defense may argue that the charge has exceeded this time limit.
  • The ulterior motive of the victim: sometimes, a victim might make up a domestic violence report to get leverage or revenge on the accused. When this is the case, the court may dismiss the charge and acquit the accused.  
  • Lack of intent: to amount to domestic violence in Dallas, the accused actions must have been done intentionally or deliberately. Therefore, situations like a mistake of fact, involuntary intoxication, and mental illness can prompt the court to diminish or dismiss a domestic violence charge. 

Domestic violence-related charges in Dallas include:

  • Domestic Assault: criminalized by Chapter 22 of the Texas Penal Code, domestic assault refers to the act of making threats, causing bodily injury, or offensive contact to a family or household member. Such actions must have been done intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly. The offense is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, and it attracts up to a year in jail, including a fine of $4,000. The punishments can, however, be enhanced to a third-degree felony if the accused has been previously convicted of the crime or if the assault constituting the charge involved strangulation or choking. A third-degree felony is punishable with two to ten years imprisonment, which may include a $10,000 fine. 
  • Aggravated Domestic Assault: this is a more serious version of domestic violence that usually involves the display or use of a deadly weapon or causing serious bodily injury to the victim. Serious bodily injury refers to injuries that lead to loss of organ or body part or significant risk of death. In the same vein, deadly weapons refer to objects that can be used to cause serious bodily injury. Aggravated domestic assault is considered a first-degree felony that attracts five years to life imprisonment. The sentence may also include a fine not exceeding $10,000.
  • Continuous Violence Against the Family: punishable under Chapter  25 of the Texas Penal Code,  this offense involves the commission of two or more domestic assaults within a year. It is not compulsory that the assaults must be committed against the same individual. This offense is considered a third-degree felony punishable with two to ten years imprisonment, including a $10,000 fine.
  • Violation of a Family Protective Order: a protective order is a court order that protects a person from a family or household member that has been violent or threatened to be violent. Violating such an order is a class A misdemeanor punishable with up to one year of incarceration plus a fine of $4,000. The offense becomes a third-degree felony if the accused has been previously convicted twice of a charge involving assault or stalking. A third-degree felony is punishable with two and ten years in prison, including 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 Dallas?

A victim’s absence during a domestic abuse case trial in Dallas can have several consequences depending on the particular circumstance of the case. Some domestic violence cases may rely substantially on the victim’s testimony. As a result, if the victim refuses to show up or testify at trial, the prosecutor can decide to drop the charge. However, that is not usually the case.

If a victim refuses to appear in court, the court may, at the request of the prosecution, adjourn the case hearing and issue an order, known as a subpoena, compelling the victim to appear in the next hearing. If the victim ignores the subpoena, the prosecutor may file a court motion requesting a bench warrant for the victim's arrest. If granted, the court may then hold the victim in jail or on bond until the trial is concluded. But generally, a prosecutor can proceed with a domestic violence case without the victim’s cooperation if there is sufficient supporting evidence for the charge. Such evidence can be medical reports, signs of bodily injury, photographs, 911 call reports, or eyewitness statements.