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.
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
Mosaic Family Services
Hotline: (214) 823-4434
Trafficking Hotline: (214) 823-1911
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
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.
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:
Domestic violence-related charges in Dallas include:
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.