In Texas, domestic violence is an act intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, or that is a threat that reasonably places the victim in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, committed against:
- A family member by blood, marriage or adoption;
- A current or former spouse;
- Someone you have dated or are currently dating;
- A member of your household;
- Someone you’ve had a child with; or
- The child of a current or former spouse.
Domestic violence is a serious crime and is treated as such by state courts. Maximum penalties for persons found guilty of domestic violence in Texas include $10,000 in fines and up to life in prison. Simply being accused of domestic violence in may result in arrest and charges.
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Those who have been charged with domestic violence in Houston or Harris County still have rights. They should be considered innocent until proven guilty, because in some cases they are.
Reasons for False Allegations of Domestic Violence
It’s not unheard of for a spouse, family member, or intimate partner to make false accusations of domestic abuse against another. But why? Some of the reasons include:
- To prevail in a child custody dispute
- To prevail in a divorce
- An attempt to get rid of someone by forcing them out of their home
- To gain possession of personal property
- Mental or substance abuse issues
Threats of making such accusations can be used as an attempt at intimidation, or even blackmail, in a relationship.
What Can You do if You’ve Been Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence in Houston?
If you’ve been accused of a domestic violence crime in Houston or Harris County, it’s important to seek legal help as soon as possible after your arrest. Contact the law offices of Lisa Shapiro Strauss to speak with an experienced Houston criminal defense attorney about your domestic violence case. Lisa’s legal skills and expertise have helped her successfully defend clients who have been falsely accused of misdemeanor or felony assault in Houston and surrounding communities.
Being falsely accused of a serious crime like domestic violence can have a disastrous effect on your life, especially if you are found guilty. In Texas, a misdemeanor or felony conviction on a domestic violence charge can result in more than just jail time or hefty fines:
- It can affect the outcome of your divorce;
- It could be used against you in a child custody hearing;
- It could affect your visitation rights;
- You may be subjected to a restraining order and prevented from contacting members of your family;
- You could lose your job or have trouble finding one;
- You may have to undergo court ordered counseling;
- You could find yourself unable to return to your home;
- You may be prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm, or obtaining a hunting or fishing license in Texas; and
- A conviction could be grounds for deportation.
Defending Yourself Against False Accusations of Domestic Violence
It may be challenging to defend a client who has been falsely accused of domestic violence in Houston, especially in cases where no injuries occurred, only that the accuser felt threatened by the language or actions of the accused. However, there are many legal strategies that can be employed to defend someone who is facing false allegations of domestic violence, such as:
- Demonstrating you were not the aggressor and were in fact, defending yourself;
- Exposing inconsistencies in your accuser’s testimony;
- Showing that the accuser’s alleged “injuries” were never reported or treated, and therefore may never have occurred;
- Proving that the action that resulted in the charges was unintentional;
- Demonstrating that your accuser’s injuries were self-inflicted; and
- Your words or actions are protected under the First and/or Second Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.
Answers to Your Questions About Domestic Violence Charges in Houston
Is a Texan’s Right to Possess a Firearm Affected by a Family Violence Protective Order?
Your right to own firearms will be revoked if you obtain a Family Violence Protective Order. You can only regain that right if you have had your conviction expunged or set aside, or if you have been pardoned and your civil rights have been restored.
Can the Charges Against Me For Family Violence be Dropped if the Victim Requests It?
Several factors need to be considered here. For instance, what is the alleged act? When and how did it take place? Were there weapons involved?
When injuries are present, they are often regarded as evidence of deeper family problems, making it difficult to drop the case.
Criminal history is another important factor. A criminal record, including a history of domestic violence, prevents charges against the victim from being dropped, regardless of whether the victim requests it.
Why was I Charged With Felony Continuous Family Violence Instead of a Misdemeanor?
Those who have been accused of assaulting a close relative at least twice can be charged with felony continuous family violence in Texas. There are a few details to keep in mind, however:
• An assault charge need not be against the same person twice.
• In some cases, the previous charge does not expire.
• A conviction is not required for the previous charge.
Contact Lisa Shapiro Strauss, Leading Houston Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
Don’t let false accusations of domestic violence destroy your life. If you’ve been charged with domestic violence in Houston based on false accusations, don’t confront your accuser. This can only make a bad situation worse. In order to beat the charges against you, you need effective, dedicated legal representation.
Contact the law offices of Houston criminal defense lawyer Lisa Shapiro Strauss to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case. Lisa will listen to your story, answer any questions you may have, and provide helpful, professional advice on the best way to prove your innocence.