Domestic violence accusations can have a detrimental impact on all aspects of your life. Not only can they disrupt family life and invite suspicion from friends and colleagues, but domestic violence accusations can have a damaging effect on your career as well. An accusation alone can be enough to issue a temporary protection order that could keep you away from not only your spouse or partner but also your children and the family home.
If convicted of a domestic violence charge, the penalties can be heavy and range from a misdemeanor all the way to a first-degree felony. Right now, you may be facing fines, probation, and considerable jail time, depending on the severity of the charge. For that reason alone, you may want to consider hiring legal representation from a Fort Worth family and domestic violence lawyer.
At Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg, we can provide assistance that can have an impact on your case and the charges against you. Knowing the legal context surrounding domestic violence charges can be challenging for any layman. Our team can advise you on your options, help you decide your next steps, and fight for you in court.
If you are facing a domestic violence accusation or charge in Fort Worth, call Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today. We provide a free initial case review.
How Texas Defines Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is a serious offense under Texas law and is broadly defined as the use of force in domestic situations that causes the victim (or victims) injuries or bodily harm.
Texas domestic violence laws apply not only to spouses and romantic partners but can include anyone living in the same household, such as any persons related by blood and those in the foster care system. It can also include past dating relationships.
Texas Family Code Sec. 71.004 defines family violence as “an act by a member of the household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault…”
According to Texas Sec. 22.01, a person commits such an offense if they intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:
- Caused bodily injury to another person
- Threatened another person with imminent bodily injury
- Caused physical contact with another when the perpetrator knows or should reasonably believe that the other person will regard the contact as offensive or provocative
Either has caused bodily injury, threatened another with such injury, or caused physical contact with another person knowing that they will perceive such contact as offensive or provocative.
By speaking with a legal professional, you can learn more about the factors of your case, which may influence your sentencing.
Accusations of Domestic Violence
Sometimes, domestic violence accusations are used as a tool for revenge by a spiteful dating partner, ex-dating partner, spouse, or ex-spouse. Accusations can surface during an acrimonious divorce, a custody battle for children, or simply when trying to harm and discredit an ex-spouse.
An emergency restraining order, or order of protection, can be obtained based on one-sided evidence only–– the word of the accuser. The accused can have their entire life turned upside down by being issued a protective order. They may have to move out of the family home and may not be able to see their children for an extensive period.
A protective order can last up to two years, and it typically requires the accused to:
- Cease all contact and stay away from the accuser, their children, and other relatives, as well as the accuser’s home and workplace
- Not to harass or hurt the accuser
- Not to have a gun or a license to carry one
If your accuser has issued a protective order against you, a Fort Worth family and domestic violence lawyer may be able to help you. Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg can evaluate your case and determine what options you have to alleviate the stressors of your situation.
Steps You Can Take to Promote Your Case’s Success
There are some things you can do to mitigate any domestic violence accusations and charges. Taking these measures can promote a smooth legal process and may have a positive impact on the outcome of your case.
Some of these steps include:
- Cooperating with any protective orders. If you have been issued with any protective orders, make sure you fully cooperate and respect the order, even if you believe it is unwarranted. If you attempt to reach out to the accuser or otherwise breach this order, you could face additional legal recourse.
- Refraining from posting to social media. You may want to post about your situation to social media to get support from your family and friends. This may actually work against you. By mentioning your accuser or even referencing the incident on social media, you could give the plaintiff more ammunition against you. They could argue that you posted to social media to taunt or threaten them. This would not work to your advantage.
- Accepting any rehabilitation services. If alcohol or drugs contributed to a domestic violence incident, you could agree to rehabilitation and prove to the court that you are serious about changing your life. This could show that your character has changed since the incident and that you are likely not to partake in those behaviors again.
Do not leave your defense to chance or luck. A criminal defense attorney can fight for you in court and give you a chance to get your life back in order.
Fort Worth Domestic Violence Lawyer Near Me (214) 696-9253
Penalties Of a Domestic Violence Conviction in Fort Worth
If you are found guilty of a domestic violence charge in Fort Worth, consequences could have a devastating impact on your life. The specific penalties you will face can vary considerably depending on the type of domestic violence charge you were facing.
For example, if you were convicted of making a domestic threat, you would be charged with a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by fines as high as $4,000 and up to one year in jail. However, if you were convicted of aggravated domestic assault, you would be charged with a first-degree felony, which is punishable by fines as high as $10,000 and up to 99 years in jail.
In addition to the criminal penalties you will face, there are also collateral consequences that you could be forced to deal with. Some of the more common ways your life might be affected by a domestic violence conviction in Fort Worth include:
- Having a restraining order taken out against you
- Child custody issues
- Housing problems
- Trouble maintaining relationships with friends and family
- Damage to your reputation
- Suspension or revocation of your professional licenses
- Immigration or citizenship issues
- Loss of firearm rights
- License suspension or revocation
- Court-ordered anger management
- Court-ordered community service
- Court-ordered mental health counseling
- Court-ordered drug or alcohol treatment
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How to Challenge the Fort Worth Domestic Violence Charges Against You
If you hope to avoid the consequences of a domestic violence conviction in Fort Worth, you will need to present a powerful defense strategy. There are several potential defenses that could be used to clear your name of the charges against you. Some of the more common domestic violence defenses include:
- Your accuser lied
- You were acting in defense of yourself, your property, or someone else
- The incident was an accident
- Lack of probable cause
- Illegal search and seizure
- Mistake of fact
- Failure to read your Miranda rights
- Police misconduct
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Is Pretrial Diversion an Option for Domestic Violence Cases in Fort Worth?
One of the best ways to avoid a conviction is by working with the state’s prosecuting attorney to enter a plea agreement. Pretrial diversion programs are an excellent option for individuals who are first-time offenders of non-violent offenses. Domestic violence charges are often considered violent crimes.
For this reason, the prosecuting attorney may be unwilling to allow you to enter a pretrial diversion program. However, if your attorney can convince the prosecutor that rehabilitative action through a pretrial diversion program would be more appropriate for your case, you may be able to avoid the fallout of a conviction.
Can Fort Worth Domestic Violence Convictions Be Expunged?
If you are found guilty of a domestic violence-related crime in Fort Worth or across Texas, your conviction cannot be expunged from your record. Under the law, domestic violence convictions are not eligible for sealing or expungement. For this reason, it is critical to secure an acquittal.
With help from your attorney, you can analyze your legal options and determine how to best approach your defense when you are facing domestic violence allegations in Fort Worth.
Call Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg Today
A domestic violence conviction and the resulting penalties can wreak havoc on all aspects of your life.
A dedicated Fort Worth family and domestic violence lawyer can help. Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg know how to navigate domestic violence laws and have dealt with these types of cases for over 30 years. We serve Dallas, Fort Worth, and the surrounding areas.