The holiday season is upon us once again. Many of us are looking forward to holiday get-togethers with friends and family. And it’s not uncommon for alcohol to play a big part in the celebrations. Unfortunately, the holiday season often brings with it great financial and emotional stress. Sometimes these stresses, especially after heavy alcohol or drug consumption, cause people to lose control of their emotions when dealing with family.
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Why do there seem to be more arrests for domestic violence during the holiday season? In a CBS News article on the subject, Rita Smith, executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence offered an explanation: “During the holidays, people are home together more. In families where there is violence present that means more opportunity for violence.” Economic pressures, strained relationships, emotional stress can become too much to bear during this time of year; these tensions can trigger a violent outburst.
Domestic Assault is a Serious Crime in Texas
Being arrested for domestic violence in Houston or Harris County, no matter what time of year, is a serious offense. You could be facing jail time and serious fines if convicted. In addition, the arrest will remain on your personal record for the rest of your life, making it difficult to get custody of your children, get hired to a job, find housing, go to school or qualify for a loan or other financial assistance.
According to Texas law, you can be arrested for assault if you:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the your spouse;
- Intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the your spouse; or
- Intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when you know or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.
An assault is considered to be domestic violence if the alleged act is committed against:
- A family member by blood, marriage or adoption
- A current or former spouse
- Someone the accused has dated or is currently dating
- A member of the accused’s household
- Someone the accused has had a child with
- The child of a current or former spouse
Depending on the charges, you could face the following penalties if convicted for domestic violence in Texas:
- Class A misdemeanor: up to 1 year in jail and/or a fine of up to $4,000
- 3rd degree felony: 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- 2nd degree felony: 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- 1st degree felony: 5 to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
After being arrested, an “emergency protective order” is usually issued. This order could:
- 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.
In addition to jail time and fines, you may also be ordered to pay restitution to the victim for their medical bills, lost wages, property damage and other losses resulting from the assault.
Get Help from an Experienced Houston Domestic Violence Lawyer
Prosecutors are very hard on persons charged with domestic violence in Texas. They will pursue charges even if the alleged victim wants them dropped. If you’ve been arrested for domestic violence during the holiday season — or any other time of year — in Houston or Harris County, the best way to avoid conviction is through the help of an experienced Houston domestic violence attorney.
Lisa Shapiro Strauss has helped many persons in Houston and Harris County who have been arrested for domestic violence during the holiday season.
A former prosecutor turned criminal defense attorney, Lisa Shapiro Strauss has a unique understanding of the Texas justice system that few lawyers possess. This unique understanding gives her the ability to anticipate the prosecutor’s action and respond with an effective defense strategy. Depending on the circumstances in your case, Lisa will use her considerable legal skills and knowledge to:
- Fight to get your case dismissed
- Work out a plea bargain with the prosecutor
- Protect your rights at court
- Pursue other options
If you’ve been arrested for assault family violence in Houston or surrounding communities, contact the law offices of Houston criminal defense attorney Lisa Shapiro Strauss to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.