In Texas, when the police are called in to handle domestic violence situations, they typically arrest someone and take that person out of the environment to diffuse the situation. It doesn’t matter who called the police. An arrest is likely to take place. Additionally, if you are convicted of one assault family violence charge, under state law, your second charge may be filed as a third-degree felony.
If you were arrested for domestic violence, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have committed a crime. The Houston assault lawyers of Lisa Shapiro Strauss Attorney at Law can help. Contact our law firm for a free initial consultation.
Consequences of Domestic Violence Convictions
There are three different types of domestic violence crimes recognized in Texas:
- Domestic assault: This charge is a Class A misdemeanor if the defendant does not have any prior convictions of domestic assault.
- Aggravated domestic assault: This is generally a 2nd degree felony. However, if the charge also includes use of a deadly weapon and causes seriously bodily injury, then it is a 1st degree felony.
- Continuous violence against the family: This is considered a 3rd degree felony under Texas law. A defendant can be convicted of this crime if he or she is found to have committed two domestic assaults within 12 months. To be convicted of this charge, the two assaults do not have to have resulted in arrest or conviction and do not have to be committed against the same person.
The relationship between the suspect and alleged victim is the determining factor in whether a charge of domestic violence can be made.
It is considered 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 a child with
- The child of a current or former spouse
A conviction for domestic violence crimes in Texas carries the following penalties:
- 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
Under Texas law, a person convicted of assault may also be ordered to pay restitution to the victim. This is a form of compensation that is intended to reimburse for medical bills, damaged property, etc.
If convicted, these penalties can dramatically affect the course of your life. Even after a prison sentence is completed and fines paid, a conviction can prevent you from having access to your children in a custody case, make it difficult to find a job, get approved for credit, etc.
Protecting You Against False Allegations
Houston assault attorney Lisa Shapiro Strauss is a former prosecutor who understands how to effectively protect your rights, because she was trained by prosecutors who handled family violence and domestic abuse cases. She also understands that cases involving family members are often very sensitive. She utilizes all of her resources to thoroughly investigate what happened and determine the best course of action.
Her thorough case evaluations include:
- Reviewing witness statements
- Gathering and reviewing evidence
- Examining photographs
- Listening to 911 calls
As a dedicated criminal defense attorney, she understands how these charges can affect your reputation. Unfortunately, false allegations are becoming common in divorce proceedings to try to obtain leverage for child custody. Ms. Strauss’ experience handling these cases enables her to demonstrate the truth of what happened in your situation. She has experience arguing with prosecutors on behalf of clients who have prior criminal histories to protect their rights.
We Can Help You Make Sense of Restraining Orders
Our legal team has extensive experience helping clients obtain temporary restraining orders to protect clients against harassment and terroristic threats. Additionally, if a judge places a temporary restraining order against you, we can help get it lifted. It is important that you comply with a restraining order, even if the other party initiates contact or contacts you directly. If you violate a protective order, you can face serious consequences.
To learn more about assault family violence charges, we urge you to contact us today.