Fort Worth/Dallas Domestic Violence Defense Attorney
Domestic violence is understandably a sensitive subject, and cases charging a defendant with domestic violence can be some of the most emotionally-charged criminal cases there are. Many people either know someone who has been the victim of domestic abuse or have been then victim of domestic violence themselves, and those people may wind up on the jury in a domestic violence trial. These charges can also lead to restraining orders or Protection Orders being placed on you, which can greatly disrupt your life. If you have been arrested or charged with domestic violence, then you need the help of an experienced domestic violence lawyer who understands the severity of the situation you are going through.
What is “domestic violence”?
Domestic violence in the state of Texas refers to the intentional harm of a family member or one in a dating relationship. This can come in the form of physical abuse, threats, assault and/or battery, sexual assault or stalking. “Family violence” is a form of domestic violence. In Texas, “family violence” refers to dating violence, child abuse, and any 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 threatens the member with imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault or sexual assault, other than defensive measures to protect oneself.
The 911 Call
Often in the heat of an argument, a spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend or family member will call the police because they hope that this will bring calm to a heated situation. However, they don’t realize that this call will result in someone going to jail and assault charges being filed by the State. A lot of people accused of domestic violence have seldom or never had a previous criminal charge, and so they don’t understand what will happen after a call is made to the police.
Dealing with the Consequences of a Family Violence 911 Call
A call to 911 sets a series of events in motion that are quickly outside of the control of the people engaged in the dispute. When the police are called and there are accusations of family violence, someone will almost always be arrested and taken jail. Because allegations of family violence and domestic abuse are taken very seriously, the police are known to be very aggressive in getting suspects to confess and alleged victims to press criminal charges. Someone who has been accused of domestic violence should contact an experienced domestic violence defense attorney as soon as possible to ensure that their rights are protected.
The Truth about Family Violence Prosecutions in Texas
The State abides by a “No Drop” policy in cases of assault causing bodily injury to a family member or assault – family violence. This means that, once a complaint has been filed, the accuser does not have the option of simply “dropping” the assault charges; the State will pick up the assault charge and will take you to court, regardless of whether the alleged victim wants to drop the assault charge. At trial, you can expect the State to use whatever strategies or tactics it can to convict the defendant.
District and County attorneys often pursue family violence cases even when the alleged victim admits to lying about the abuse. Prosecutors believe the victim is protecting their alleged abuser from jail or a criminal record. We can explain how to get an assault case dismissed, in spite of the “No Drop” policy, especially if you and your accuser are now reconciled and cooperating.
In family/domestic violence cases, a court might issue anemergency protective order. In some cases, a protective order may be granted before the case is even tried. A protective order can bar you from living in your own home, from freely visiting or communicating with your family, and from going to places where the individual(s) protected under the order work or attend school. Violations of protective orders can be punishable by fines up to $4,000 or possibly up to one year in jail. Of course, such an order may not be necessary, and we are prepared to defend you if someone is seeking a protective order against you.
Penalties for a Family Violence Conviction in Texas
An assault causing bodily injury to family member is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one (1) year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.00. The penalties are increased if the defendant has a prior family violence conviction, if the violence is aggravated in any way with a weapon or if a child is injured. Depending on the circumstances, you may also be prohibited from contacting the victim for a long time, thereby preventing you from spending time with your loved ones or even living in your own home. A judge may also order you to attend anger management or family violence classes.
Prosecutors will use the fear of these steep penalties to induce defendants to plead guilty in domestic violence cases, and defendants who are not represented by smart, skilled counsel familiar with the law and prosecution tactics will agree to a plea deal even if they are innocent. They do not know how badly doing so will negatively impact their life. Whether a defendant pleads guilty or is convicted by a jury, a domestic/family violence conviction has life-altering and long-term consequences. A finding of family violence may affect the custody of your children or even your right to own a firearm. To avoid these significant penalties, it is critical that you contact David Owens, an experienced Fort Worth/Dallas lawyer.
In Need of Legal Representation?
A domestic violence conviction can have consequences that affect an individual for the rest of their lives. These consequences may last long after the punishment for the crime has been served and include difficulty in getting a job, purchasing a home or paying for college. Our firm can provide you with assistance in your domestic violence case and increase your chances of avoiding these consequences by securing a case outcome that is beneficial to you. We will thoroughly investigate your case and fight hard to protect your rights, your freedom, and your family. If you are being accused, arrested or charged with family violence or assault causing bodily injury to a family member in the Metroplex, then you must contact an experienced Fort Worth/Dallas domestic violence defense lawyer immediately. For sound advice and defense after an assault or domestic violence arrest, call us today.