A domestic assault or family violence charge in Texas is a serious crime resulting in substantial fines and penalties upon conviction. You could be incarcerated and have a misdemeanor or felony conviction on your permanent record, severely impacting your reputation and freedom. Law enforcement works hard to justify a domestic violence arrest and prosecutors frequently seek the harshest possible penalties.
Fortunately, you have legal rights, including the right to legal counsel. Unfortunately, in some cases, cops unlawfully detain suspects and try to coerce them into making an incriminating statement. Therefore, it is critical to pursue the help of a Keller domestic violence lawyer. Contact the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg for a complimentary case review if you have been arrested for assault-related offenses.
Penalties for a Domestic Violence Conviction
Penalties for a domestic violence conviction can include:
- First-time domestic assault charge – Up to 1 year in jail and a $4,000 fine
- Domestic assault charge with prior convictions – 2-10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine
- Aggravated domestic assault – 2-20 years in prison and a $10,000 fine
- Aggravated domestic assault with a lethal weapon, causing severe injury – 5-99 years in prison and a $10,000 fine
In addition to these penalties, persons convicted on a domestic violence charge may be subject to community service, anger management classes, or therapy and lose their right to own a firearm or obtain a hunting license.
What is Domestic Assault?
According to Texas law, assaultive offenses against a person include:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing physical harm to another person or threatening another person with imminent bodily injury.
- Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another person when the perpetrator should reasonably know that person will consider the contact offensive or suggestive.
As one can see, it does not take much effort to commit an assault under Texas law. However, if you brandish a dangerous weapon or cause severe injury, you can be charged with aggravated assault, a much more serious crime.
Although Texas does not have a specific domestic or family violence statute, an assault charge will be considered as such if the victim is a:
- Family member related by blood or affinity.
- Former or current spouse.
- Co-parent of a child.
- A partner in a dating or romantic relationship.
- Former or current household member.
Defenses to a Texas Domestic Assault Charge
A prosecutor must prove every crime element beyond a reasonable doubt to convict a defendant of a criminal charge. Based on the unique circumstances of your case, there may be multiple defense strategies that can be used, including:
- You acted in self-defense
- You were defending another person
- You did not commit the crime intentionally
- The threat of harm was not imminent
- You lacked the ability to carry out a threat
- You made threats that were vague or conditional and did not include an overt act
- Whether your actions were threatening is under dispute
- The victim’s fear was unreasonable
- The victim provoked you
- The allegations were false
Let your domestic assault lawyer know all the facts in your case and if you think one of these defense approaches may apply.
What to Do When Facing Domestic Assault or Violence Charges
If you have been charged with domestic assault or family violence, do not try to talk yourself out of it. It would be best if you cooperated but said nothing. Information you offer can be used against you. Instead, politely explain to law enforcement that you are invoking your right to remain silent, do not wish to talk about the matter, and want to contact an attorney.
Next, spend time trying to remember the events that led up to the alleged crime. You may want to record your recollection of the situation and organize your thoughts to remember as many details as possible. Do not share this information with law enforcement or anyone other than your attorney.
Always remember that a criminal charge is not a conviction. To convict you, the prosecutor must prove you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Your attorney will have an opportunity to examine the evidence and challenge how it was collected. Sometimes, this can lead to a lesser charge, favorable plea bargain, or dismissal.
You can also take your case to trial if you so choose. If so, your lawyer can help with jury selection, represent you in court, and argue your innocence.
Benefits of Hiring a Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
An attorney with experience handling various criminal cases can help you do the following:
Minimize Penalties and Consequences
One of the most significant benefits of retaining a domestic violence defense attorney is their ability to minimize penalties and other adverse consequences. When you have legal counsel, ideally, their primary goal is to prove your innocence. However, they will negotiate with the prosecutor to reduce the charges or plea bargain if they cannot. And although you may feel you can negotiate independently, the prosecution will not likely take you seriously and may try to use your lack of legal understanding against you.
Your attorney will know the evidence needed to establish guilt or innocence in assault cases. They know how to file a notice of discovery or a subpoena duces tecum (which requires the witness to produce a document(s) relevant to a proceeding) to collect various pieces of evidence, such as police body-cam footage and the alleged victim’s medical reports.
Your attorney will identify holes in the prosecutor’s arguments and determine whether the evidence they present requires further investigation or if it was collected improperly.
Keller Domestic Violence Lawyer Near Me (214) 696-9253
Handle Complex Legal Procedures
Legal procedures can include multiple court appearances, beginning with the arraignment and concluding with sentencing or an acquittal. Your defense attorney will be able to navigate this process and answer your questions, counsel you on court procedures, and represent you during trial.
If appropriate, your attorney may file motions for evidence suppression, bail reduction or waiver, a change in a no-contact order, and more. They will be familiar with sentencing procedures if you are convicted. This includes how a preliminary sentencing investigation is performed. If there are any errors in the report, they can determine the impact on the penalties you received and object accordingly at your sentencing hearing.
Contact a Keller Domestic Violence Lawyer for Help Today
The Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg provides aggressive legal defense for domestic assault charges. Our domestic violence attorneys are prepared to fight for you regardless of how complex your case is. Call today for a free consultation if you have been accused or charged with domestic violence.