Charges related to domestic violence in Texas are very serious and can lead to many unwanted consequences, including jail time, fines, and other penalties. Our Sachse domestic violence lawyer can help you fight this charge.
At the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg, we understand everything at stake with a domestic assault conviction and provide clients with honest assessments of their cases. If you have been charged, we will explain your various options to you so you can make educated decisions regarding how to proceed through the legal process.
Domestic Assault: Related Conduct and Penalties
According to Texas Penal Code Title 5 § 22, A person commits domestic assault when they inflict bodily harm to a family member or an individual who lives in their household—or threatens to do so. They can also face this charge if they purposefully engage in offensive or provocative conduct.
Examples of any form of assault include, but are not limited to, hitting, kicking, slapping, shoving, choking, and hair-pulling. It can also involve poking another person in the chest, disrespecting their space, or touching them casually in an indecent way.
Domestic assault penalties can include:
Domestic assault that includes threats of injury or provocative/offensive contact is a class C misdemeanor, and up to a $500 fine may be imposed.
If the victim sustains a bodily injury, the charge increases to a class A misdemeanor, and up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine may be imposed.
An assault causing injury can be increased to a third-degree felony if the defendant has previous domestic assault convictions or if the crime involved suffocation or strangulation. A third-degree felony conviction comes with penalties, including two to ten years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Aggravated Domestic Assault
An individual has committed aggravated domestic assault when the offense results in serious bodily injury to another person or involves using or displaying a lethal weapon. If the defendant is convicted of inflicting bodily harm, they face a first-degree felony and life or 5-99 years in prison.
Other aggravated domestic assault charges are second-degree felonies, and the convicted may be sentenced to 2-20 years in prison. In addition, both come with up to a $10,000 fine.
Domestic violence charges should be defended aggressively because the consequences of conviction can haunt you for years. Therefore, if you are facing domestic assault charges or other criminal charges, you are urged to contact the Sachse domestic violence lawyers at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg.
First-time offenders in Texas who meet certain other conditions may be eligible to participate in a pretrial diversion program. You can benefit from this by avoiding charges entirely because they’re dismissed once you complete the terms of your pretrial diversion.
As a result, you can avoid jail time so you can continue working and engaging in everyday activities. However, you must enter a guilty plea as part of the arrangement, and if you violate the terms, the prosecutor can renew pursuing the case against you.
Other Options for a Defense
Aside from a diversion program, there are many other ways to defend the accused against a domestic assault or aggravated domestic assault charge, including the following:
Proving the Accusations Are False or Inaccurate
Fraudulent accusations of domestic assault are relatively common. For example, a spouse or partner may attempt to use a domestic assault charge to get the upper hand in a divorce or child custody case, and an attorney should help you expose such deceptions.
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Claiming Self Defense
Self-defense or the defense of others is unquestionably a reasonable defense to domestic violence accusations. The defendant could demonstrate that they were not the first aggressor and reacted to violence (or the threat of violence) instigated by the other party.
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Often, domestic assault comes down to “he said, she said” circumstances where there are only two eyewitnesses to the alleged crime—the defendant and the person accusing them. Credibility is crucial, and the defendant could introduce reasonable doubt and be acquitted by proving there was a lack of injuries or motive.
What to Do If You Are Arrested for Domestic Violence
The following are a few tips for navigating the legal system after you’ve been arrested and charged with domestic assault:
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Do Not Violate Orders of Protection
Review any protection order meticulously with your attorney and make sure you follow them precisely. An additional charge involving a violation of a protective order is very serious. Moreover, it will likely make the resolution of your original case more complex, time-consuming, and possibly more challenging to defend against.
Don’t Pick Up any New Arrests
Do not complicate your pending domestic assault case by incurring new charges. The prosecutor and the court tend to regard defendants unfavorably who accumulate arrests and charges, and you may be less likely to achieve the best possible outcome for yourself.
Dealing with family matters, in addition to getting arrested and going through the court system, can be highly stressful. Seeing a psychotherapist can be beneficial in helping you get through your legal woes and work on your relationships with loved ones. Also, in many cases, presenting proof that you have been undergoing therapy can positively impact legal negotiations and your case outcome.
A Criminal Defense Attorney From Our Firm Can Help
If you’ve been arrested and charged with an offense related to domestic violence or a similar crime, it’s important to remember that any such conviction will likely go down on your permanent criminal record. A domestic violence conviction can also lead to many other long-lasting adverse consequences, including jail time, suspension or loss of an occupational license, challenges finding work, and the ability to own a firearm.
Fortunately, a Sachse domestic violence attorney can review your case and discuss your options with you. Mr. Isenberg has more than 30 years of experience as both a former prosecutor and state district judge.