If you are facing a trial for an assault family violence case you should be aware that evidence regarding the relationship between the parties may be admissible. This can be powerful evidence for the State or the Defendant depending on the nature of the relationship, and your lawyer should be ready to use this evidence or defend against it.
What’s the law on relationship evidence in family violence cases?
Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 38.371 allows evidence that “testimony or evidence regarding the nature of the relationship between the actor and the alleged victim”. This is “subject to the Texas Rules of Evidence”, so there are still some rules about what comes in, but think of a relationship and the dynamic between two people. Is there a history of violence? Substance abuse? Lying? Cheating? Emotional abuse? These are all areas where you could find either a motive for an assault or a history of aggressive behavior for the Defendant. Or the defense could present a motive to fabricate a claim or a history of violent behavior by the complaining witness.