About Domestic Violence

A woman upset with her head down in her arms.Domestic violence charges are a serious accusation, and a successful domestic violence conviction can have long-lasting implications on the rest of your life. The exact consequences of a domestic violence conviction will depend on the specifics of your case. The consequences of a criminal case may be impacted by: the severity of the violence or threat involved, whether the alleged event was a one-off or a case of continuous violence, whether the accused has a past history of facing domestic violence charges, and other such things.

However, any successful criminal convictions for domestic violence charges will result in a criminal mark that will stay on your record for life. While at their most severe, domestic violence charges can result in a felony conviction, even a conviction for a misdemeanor-level domestic violence offense will result in a criminal history that can have long-term consequences for the rest of your life. Plea bargains, probated sentences, and deferred adjudication will also result in a lifelong criminal record.

The only way to avoid a lifelong record in the Texas courts is to secure a not guilty verdict for your domestic violence charge. For this, you will need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. Thankfully, here at The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, we have helped many people in your position to beat the criminal charges leveled against them. We have the skills, knowledge, and compassion to form you a defense strategy to protect your future.

Do not take risks with the rest of your life. Get help overcoming your domestic violence charge today by calling 832-471-6904.

Domestic Violence Convictions Always Lead To A Permanent Criminal Record

If you are found guilty of any domestic violence crimes, this will lead to a mark on your record that will last for the rest of your life.

Under Texas law, a domestic violence conviction on your record cannot be sealed or expunged – the processes on how your record is cleared. A domestic violence arrest without conviction can however be expunged in certain cases.

Any type of domestic violence conviction will leave you with this permanent record, even if the exact consequences you are facing are minimized or softened in some way. This means that successful plea bargains, deferred adjudication cases, and probation convictions still carry the same record length severity.

The Consequences Of A Criminal Record For Domestic Violence

handcuffed hands in black and white.There are many collateral consequences that come from having a record of domestic violence. These things can stop you from living your life in a normal way, impact the opportunities you are afforded, and seriously limit your freedoms.

Your record is also not confined to Texas. Your record can follow you from state to state, meaning that even if you completely uproot your life, you may have to live with the same consequences.

Possible consequences of having a criminal record include:

  • Employers, government entities, and government agencies are able to see your record, which will severely limit your ability to be competitive when seeking worthwhile employment.
  • Not being allowed certain recreational and professional licenses.
  • Be ineligible to vote at a state or federal level.
  • Having difficulty accessing financial borrowing, mortgages, or other credit facilities.
  • Being turned down on housing applications.
  • The likelihood of being severely negatively impacted in any possible future child custody legal proceedings.
  • Not being legally allowed to carry a firearm.

Once you have received a domestic violence conviction, it will likely count as evidence towards the case of an alleged victim in any potential future cases. It may also mean that you receive greater consequences for any future domestic violence crime.

Expunging An Arrest For Domestic Violence

There are some very specific circumstances wherein you can have your arrest record for domestic violence expunged. These are:

  • If your criminal trial for domestic violence reached a not guilty verdict.
  • If the domestic violence case leveled against you is dismissed, and additionally, the time frame of the statute of limitations has expired.

The statute of limitations for misdemeanor domestic or family violence cases is two years, whereas felony-level domestic or family violence offenses come with an extended statute of limitations period, of three years.

You will need to apply and attend a court hearing to have your arrest record for domestic violence expunged though. This can come with its own separate set of challenges and bureaucracy, for which it is a good idea to have the assistance of a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.

Criminal Defense Strategies For A Domestic Or Family Violence Charge

Since the answer to ‘How long does domestic violence stay on your record in Texas?’ is a lifelong criminal record, the next question most people ask is ‘How can I defeat my domestic violence charges?’

Thankfully, there are many established precedents for protecting domestic violence defendants against the false accusations of their alleged victims.

Since a domestic violence charge is under the purview of criminal law, the burden of proof is at its highest. It is up to the alleged victim and the prosecution to demonstrate guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Examples of successful defenses used in past domestic violence cases include:

  • Self-defense, in situations where the alleged abuser was in fact defending themselves against violent or threatening behavior.
  • There was no criminal intent behind a bodily injury, but instead an accidental injury occurred. There are many ways this could happen and be wrongfully framed as domestic or family violence.
  • Demonstrating a gap between the alleged offense and the alleged victim seeking medical attention. If there is more than a two-day delay, there is an opportunity to demonstrate doubt that a bodily injury was caused by alleged domestic or family violence.
  • Challenging the evidence presented by the other party, family member, or their prosecution lawyer. If their evidence is insufficient or their case weak, an experienced lawyer could get the charges dropped or have them downgraded to something outside the realms of domestic or family violence.

Every family or domestic violence charge is different. Your lawyer will work with you to create a personalized defense plan that stands the best chance of overcoming the charges leveled against you.

How Are Domestic Violence Offenses Defined Under Texas Law

Domestic violence, which is also known as family violence, is defined as intentionally, recklessly, or neglectfully causing a bodily injury to family members or a household member.

Texas Penal Code Section 1.07 (8) defines a bodily injury as a physical pain, an illness, or any other impairment of physical condition.

Family violence charges will cover the following parties:

  • Any biological or non-biological family member, including in-laws, adoptive or foster parents, children, and siblings.
  • Anyone you have had a romantic or intimate relationship with at any point in time, including a former spouse, girlfriend, or a household member you were previously romantically involved with.
  • Any household member in the present or past, including an extended family member or roommate.

The Different Types Of Domestic Abuse Charges

There are many different types of domestic abuse charges, from non-physical abuse to domestic assault and sexual domestic violence.

The following sections will briefly explain each type, and the consequences associated with a guilty conviction.

Non-Physical Domestic Violence

Physical contact is not necessary for someone to be convicted of domestic violence.

If a person threatens physical contact to a family member or someone in the same household, or exhibits financial, technological, emotional, or psychological abuse, the accused may still be convicted of domestic violence.

In this case, the consequence for a guilty conviction will likely be a class C misdemeanor. However, even though there is no violent domestic assault and it is a misdemeanor charge, the conviction will still stay on record for life.

Domestic Assault

Domestic assault includes any violent act or verbal threat. A domestic assault charge does not necessarily have to cause a bodily injury, simply the threat of violence is enough to qualify for a domestic assault charge.

The severity of the bodily injury will determine the severity of the domestic violence charge. It is possible to receive a class A misdemeanor for acts that do not cause a serious bodily injury, such as threats, scratching, or hair pulling. However, causing a more serious bodily injury may be charged as a felony offense.

Sexual assault is also covered under a domestic assault charge. This level of domestic assault is likely to result in at least a second-degree felony.

Prior convictions or deferred adjudication charges for domestic assault are likely to mean at least a third-degree felony charge, no matter what the specific injuries are against the household or family member.

Aggravated Domestic Assault

Aggravated assault in the domestic capacity means that serious injuries were inflicted or meant to be afflicted. Similarly, if a weapon is used, it is likely that the result will be a charge of aggravated domestic assault.

Aggravated domestic assault will result in a first-degree felony charge.

Domestic Assault Impeding Breath

Similarly to aggravated domestic assault, domestic assault impeding  breath is a more severe charge. These charges occur when the alleged perpetrator intentionally stops the alleged victim’s ability to breathe – usually through choking or strangulation.

This type of domestic assault charge is likely to result in at least a third-degree felony charge.

Continuous Violence

Continuous violence is a separate charge that is likely to be raised if you are charged with two or more domestic assault incidents in a year-long period. The offenses do not have to be against the same child, family member, or household member to constitute continuous violence.

Continuous violence is a third-degree felony, and will usually be an additional charge on top of your already existing domestic violence charges.

Contact A Domestic Violence Lawyer Today

As you can see, domestic violence charges are extremely serious. Not only will you be looking at potentially huge fines, a long prison sentence, and various types of community supervision – federal law may also mean you will never be able to escape the criminal history you are branded with.

The only real way to preserve your future prospects is to overcome the charges leveled against you with a verdict of not guilty. To achieve this, you will need a lawyer who is experienced, skilled, and will handle the complexity and individuality of your case with the precision it deserves.

Secure your hopes for the future with a domestic violence lawyer from The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC by calling 832-471-6904 today.