A defendant has a right to retain a lawyer for a domestic violence case in Texas. Having a criminal defense lawyer represent you can help you successfully argue your case because a lawyer will have more nuanced knowledge about Texas’ domestic violence laws, your rights, and legal procedures. They can also advise you on how to proceed with your case and protect you from making incriminating statements.
How Can a Lawyer Help a Defendant Build Their Domestic Violence Defense?
Domestic violence cases can get complicated quickly, with various scenarios and factors affecting the severity of the charge a defendant might face. For example, cases can involve drinking, false claims, misunderstandings, and accidental injuries – all of which can be used against the defendant.
A Defense Lawyer Can Manage Your Case for You
If you decide to work with a domestic violence lawyer, they can provide services to uphold your rights. These services include:
- Attending initial and pretrial hearings to petition for bail and lesser charges
- Collecting evidence on your behalf, such as witness testimony, video footage, and forensic evidence
- Reviewing reports and footage of your arrest, the alleged offense, and criminal processing to identify the facts of your case and any potential unlawful conduct
- Handling communications on your behalf with prosecutors or law enforcement
- Appearing at trial hearings to present your case in front of a judge and jury
- Attending negotiation meetings to discuss a potential plea bargain, which may result in reduced or dismissed charges
Your Lawyer Can Petition for an Affidavit of Non-Prosecution
Even in cases where the alleged victim wants to drop charges, defendants still must go through criminal procedures to settle their cases. A defense attorney can help this process by having the alleged victim sign an affidavit of non-prosecution, which is a document that asserts that they do not wish to press charges and move their case forward.
Your attorney would then send this document to the district attorney for approval. If approved, your case could get dismissed.
What Is Considered Domestic Violence in Texas?
If you face domestic violence charges in Texas, they will fall under one of three categories.
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Domestic assault involves inflicting or threatening to cause bodily harm to a family member, relationship partner, or household member, as defined in Texas Penal Code § 22.01. Other statutes define these relationships further as:
- Family members: Texas Penal Code § 71.004 includes direct family members, such as spouses, children, or parents. However, cases can also involve siblings, aunts and uncles, cousins, and other familial relationships. Adoptive and foster parent-child relationships also apply. Spouses do not need to remain married for domestic assault charges to apply.
- Relationship partners: As defined by Texas Penal Code § 71.0021, a dating relationship between two individuals is “a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.” The court will consider the length, nature, and frequency of the relationship in determining whether a dating relationship existed.
- Household members: Texas Penal Code § 71.005 uses “household members” to apply to individuals who share the same dwelling, regardless of their relationship. Therefore, this statute could apply to roommates.
Aggravated Domestic Assault
Aggravated domestic assault is a more severe domestic violence charge than simple domestic assault. Offenses of this nature must involve intentionally or recklessly causing bodily harm to an individual while knowing that the behavior would hurt them.
If a defendant allegedly used a deadly weapon, such as a gun or a knife, the prosecutor might increase their charges to aggravated domestic assault.
Continuous Violence Against the Family
If a defendant commits at least two domestic violence offenses within 12 months against people in their household or who have a relationship with them, their charges may be considered “continuous violence against the family” per Texas Penal Code § 25.11.
In cases where multiple offenses allegedly occurred, the victim does not have to be the same individual in each instance. In addition, alleged crimes do not have to result in an arrest or conviction for them to apply under this statute.
What Are the Penalties for Domestic Violence in Texas?
Domestic violence charges can range from misdemeanors for first-time offenders to third-degree felonies for repeat offenders. In addition, if the defendant allegedly used a deadly weapon, they could face first-degree felony charges, especially if the victim suffered bodily harm.
Penalties for domestic violence charges can involve prison time, thousands of dollars in fines, community service, and other punishments. A defense attorney can work to reduce your charges if this is your first offense. In addition, they can argue reasonable doubt in the evidence used against you before a jury.
Call the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg Today to Hire a Lawyer for Your Case
If you face domestic violence charges in Texas, hiring a criminal defense lawyer to defend you could help you stand up against unlawful charges and inaccurate claims. Our legal team at the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg advocates for our clients, and we work hard to build comprehensive cases that establish their innocence and defend their rights.
Call (214) 696-9253 today for a free consultation. Once you agree to work with our team, we can report to you immediately to attend your initial hearing and defend you.