You can face domestic or family violence charges if you are alleged to have committed — or threatened to commit — a violent act against a family member, spouse, live-in partner, boyfriend/girlfriend, or even a roommate. Fortunately, you will have a chance to tell your side of the story and we will ensure the court hears it.
Speak to a family and domestic violence lawyer in Plano to learn more about your options. We can help protect your legal rights and, if necessary, defend you in court.
Call the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg to schedule a free consultation: 214-696-9253.
What is domestic or family violence in Texas?
Texas law defines domestic violence and family violence in different portions of the statutes. Although these crimes share many characteristics, two different departments within the Texas court system handle these cases.
In either type of charge, violent physical contact, use of or threatening to use a weapon, threats of harm or violence, and intimidation all constitute a violation of the statutes. In many cases, you may face charges based solely on allegations, even if you never laid a hand on anyone.
What is family violence?
Per Chapter 71 of the Family Code of the Texas Statutes, a family member is someone related to you by blood or marriage. It also includes any person with whom you live, share a child or, depending on the circumstances, or dated. Family violence is an injury or threatened injury against one of these persons.
What is domestic violence?
These offenses, also referred to as dating violence in some contexts, can involve violence or assault carried out or threatened against a current spouse or dating partner, former spouse or dating partner, or your child’s co-parent.
Can you go to jail for domestic or family violence?
Yes. If you are not careful, a family or domestic violence conviction could land you in jail.
The details that led to your arrest will help determine which charges the prosecutor files against you, as will any past convictions you may have. If the incident involved only threats of violence, you will likely face misdemeanor charges.
If the allegation involves more than minor contact, resulted in a serious injury, or involved the use of a weapon, expect to face felony charges for family or domestic violence. Enhanced charges may apply if the incident was life-threatening, if a child was involved, or if the other party alleged choking, strangling, or smothering.
We have noted the potential penalties for each charge below.
|Class C Misdemeanor||none||up to $500|
|Class A Misdemeanor||up to 1 year||up to $4,000|
|Third-Degree Felony||2 to 10 years||up to $10,000|
|Second-Degree Felony||2 to 20 years||up to $10,000|
|First-Degree Felony||5 to 99 years||up to $10,000|
The prosecutor has some leeway to determine what to charge you with, based on the victim’s experience. For example, an incident of family or domestic violence that was life-threatening, particularly traumatic, or that impairs the victim in some way will carry more serious charges.
In some cases, the defense can convince the prosecution to pursue lesser charges. For this reason, it is imperative that you get a defense lawyer involved immediately after your arrest.
Does a family or domestic violence conviction go on your record?
Yes. Upon conviction for these charges, you face much more than fines and jail time.
Not only do domestic and family violence convictions go on your record, they are also never available for sealing or expungement. A permanent criminal record for domestic violence can cost you custody of your children or that new job you applied for. In addition, you will be unable to hold a hunting or fishing license or own or even possess a gun in Texas.
For many people, a conviction can cost them their profession. Doctors, nurses, lawyers, financial professionals, teachers, cosmetologists, and real estate agents are just a few of the people who stand to face penalties, fines, or suspension or loss of their professional license if convicted of domestic or family violence.
What if the other party drops the charges?
Unfortunately, the other party cannot drop the charges as s/he is not the one who filed them. Instead, the State of Texas is the party that files the charges and rarely will it drop them. This can be problematic, especially because officers must make a split-second decision that can lead to incorrect conclusions or even detaining the wrong party.
Secure your freedom and your future. Call Randall B. Isenberg today.
Unless you are willing to give up your freedom, your family and your profession, you may have no choice but to fight the charges filed against you.
Fortunately, a Plano family and domestic violence lawyer may be able to help you.
We can explore all the evidence against you, including police reports, witness statements, medical records, and more to determine the strength of the prosecution’s case. The prosecution must prove every element of its case in court, beyond a reasonable doubt. In many cases, this is simply not possible.
To poke holes in the prosecution’s case, we might assert the charges result from a false accusation or self-defense. In other cases, the incident may truly have been accidental.
Whatever the best approach to fighting your family violence case may be, we will explain your options and help guide you to make the right choice for your future.
At the Law Offices of Randall B. Isenberg, we know how painful and frightening this situation can be. But you can rest assured that we will fight aggressively on your behalf. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation and case review with a Plano family and domestic violence lawyer: 214-696-9253.