Domestic and family violence crimes bring some of the harshest penalties in Texas. Not only will a conviction carry huge fines and the threat of jail time, but you will also face significant social stigma and a permanent criminal record. You could even lose custody of your kids.
Although you may feel tempted to plead guilty just to put it behind you quickly, the risks are too high. Talking to a family and domestic violence lawyer in Grand Prairie will help you put your situation in perspective. When you understand all the options available to you, you will be able to make a truly informed decision.
Contact the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg today at 214-696-9253 to schedule a free consultation with a domestic violence lawyer.
What Constitutes Domestic or Family Violence?
Family and domestic violence, as the Texas statutes define it, is the threat or perpetuation of an act of violence against a family member or member of your household.
A family member or member of a household, per the Texas Family Code, is:
- Anyone related to you genetically
- A relative via marriage
- Your child’s other parent or foster parent
- Your current or former spouse
- Someone you currently date or used to date
- Someone you live with or formerly lived with (i.e., roommate)
What Are the Penalties for a Family or Domestic Violence Conviction?
The type of charges you might face for family and domestic violence depend on what your accuser claims occurred.
If your accuser alleges that you threatened to commit violence or made only minor contact, the prosecutor may pursue misdemeanor charges.
If you have prior convictions, or if any aggravating factors affect the circumstances of your crime, the prosecutor may pursue felony charges. Aggravating factors might include:
- Using, threatening to use, or simply having a weapon during the incident
- Life-threatening injuries
- Violence against a child
- Choking, smothering, or strangulation
Although the prosecutor has full discretion in what level of charges to pursue in your case, you might face any of the following penalties after a domestic and family violence conviction:
If you face class C misdemeanor charges, you face fines up to $500.
If you face class A misdemeanor charges, you face up to 12 months in jail and fines up to $4,000.
If you face a third-degree felony charge, you face 2 to 10 years’ imprisonment and fines up to $10,000.
If you face a second-degree felony charge, you face 2 to 20 years’ imprisonment and fines up to $10,000.
If you face a first-degree felony charge, you face 5 to 99 years’ imprisonment and fines up to $10,000.
How Else Will a Family Domestic Violence Conviction Affect You?
While most people only consider the fines and jail time, the effects of a domestic violence conviction are not short-lived as you will have a permanent criminal record that a court will not seal or expunge.
Having a serious conviction on your record can interfere with your ability to get a job, rent a house or apartment, or holding a professional license. If your crime involved a felony, you can no longer own or possess a firearm nor can you obtain a hunting or fishing license.
A conviction can also influence child custody decisions and, potentially, cost you the ability to maintain custody of your children.
How a Grand Prairie Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help You
Texas law allows police to arrest someone for a domestic violence incident with little to no proof that it even occurred. And, even if the accuser later recants her story, does not want to press charges, or admits she exaggerated the incident, the prosecutor has the authority to move forward with charges anyway.
And, the way today’s culture regards this sensitive issue, all belief and support go to the accuser — no matter what the truth may be.
Your lawyer will focus on the facts and evidence in your case, to build the strongest possible defense on your behalf.
Randall Isenberg may be able to recognize potential weaknesses in the case against you. Any violation of your rights or problems with evidence can provide leverage to negotiate for a reduction or dismissal of your charges.
The prosecutor will have to meet a high burden of proof; consequently, we can use a variety of approaches to infuse reasonable doubt into your case.
We will also gather some evidence of our own, to develop insight to the nature of the accusations. This will often involve interviewing witnesses, friends, and family members, combing public records, and more, to identify the most effective defense strategies.
The most common defense strategies that family domestic violence lawyers use include:
- Arguing false or exaggerated allegations
- Accidental contact
- Self-defense or the defense of another
If we cannot convince the prosecutor to reduce your charges or the court to dismiss your case, we may recommend an approach that can help the court soften its perspective of you. This may involve going to rehab on your own or signing up for counseling. These actions reflect your commitment to the court to rehabilitate and avoid any similar problems in the future.
If all else fails, your family violence lawyer may recommend taking your case to court, where you may have success mounting a persuasive defense.
Throughout the process, we will protect your legal rights and make sure you make the best possible choice for your future.
Talk to a Family Domestic Violence Lawyer in Grand Prairie Today for Help.
Do not face these serious allegations on your own, or delay talking to a lawyer. The potential stakes are too high to risk it.
Randall Isenberg brings over 30 years’ experience as a criminal defense attorney, state district court judge, and felony prosecutor. Randall has the experience and insight necessary to make the strongest possible case in your defense.
Call us today 214-696-9253 to schedule your no-cost, no-obligation consultation.