In 2014, there were over 185,000 family violence incidents reported in Texas. But a domestic violence charge is not always black and white, and can be incredibly complicated. It is not uncommon for false claims to be made out of anger or spite, and with a “zero tolerance” approach to domestic violence in Texas, these cases can go south quickly.
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Regardless of the situation, many are left wondering after a domestic violence charge if they are able to return home. It’s important to know your rights and how to proceed after an arrest is made.
What is a Domestic Violence Charge in Texas?
When someone is charged with domestic violence, they are accused of having committed violent acts against a household or family member. This may include the following:
- Child abuse
- Spousal abuse
- Psychological abuse
- Physical abuse, even pushing or slapping
Remember, a charge is not a conviction. In Texas, if the police have any probable cause to because domestic violence has occurred, they can make an arrest. This is why it is important to have the guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Emergency Protective Orders and No Contact
After a person is arrested for suspected domestic violence in Texas, an “emergency protective order” is usually issued after charges are made in arraignment. This order may:
- Evict you from your home for 60 days or more
- Prohibit you from possessing any firearms or weapons
- Prohibit threatening contact towards anyone protected by the order
- Restrict the ability to go near the residence, job or school of anyone protected by the order.
Usually, non-threatening contact is still allowed unless a “no contact” order is made by the magistrate. This depends on the charges and the situation.
Only the court that issued an emergency protective order can modify or dismiss the order. An attorney can help you determine whether your emergency protective order can be modified or dismissed to allow you to return home.
Violating an Emergency Protective Order
A violation of an emergency protective order is considered a separate criminal offense. A fine up to $4,000 and/or a jail sentence of up to one year is possible for violations. It is important to abide by all conditions of your emergency protective order, even if you have been falsely accused of domestic violence.
The best way to proceed when you have been forced to leave your home by the court is to talk to a Houston assault lawyer. You may be able to get the emergency protective order modified or even dismissed. An attorney will be able to gather all available information to protect you and your rights after being charged with domestic violence.
Domestic Violence Frequently Asked Questions
Is a Texan’s Right to Possess a Firearm Affected By a Family Violence Protective Order?
The right to possess a firearm will be revoked if you are the subject of a Family Violence Protective Order. You can only acquire gun ownership rights again if your conviction was expunged or set aside, if you were pardoned or had your civil rights restored.
How Does a Domestic Violence Charge Affect Child Custody?
According to Texas law, a court may not grant a joint conservatorship to parents or children involved in domestic violence. Additionally, custody will be denied if a parent has been convicted of family violence or sexual assault within the last two years.
The courts may also award supervised visitation in custody cases that involve domestic violence charges.
If I Am Charged With Domestic Violence, Can I Return Home?
When a person is arrested for domestic violence in Texas, an Emergency Protective Order is usually issued, which has many consequences, including evicting the accused from their home and prohibiting them from going near the victim’s job or school. Usually, this does not prohibit non-threatening contact, unless there is a no-contact order in place.
Representation by a Houston Assault Lawyer
Lisa Shapiro Strauss has over 15 years of experience in criminal defense and can help you or your loved one fight a domestic violence charge with knowledge and experience. She protects her clients’ rights and safeguards records. Call 713-449-9922 today or fill out the contact form on our website for a free consultation.