Harris County Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer

woman being held down with a man griping her wrist and her hand over her face.

In the state of Texas, domestic violence crimes are often referred to as family abuse cases as this term broadly includes all types of violent disturbances and abuse within the home. Many people believe that if a person drops a domestic violence charge, the accused will walk free. However, this is not the case in Harris County, Texas. If the police have been called to a family disturbance, they can still press charges, this is why it’s important to contact a Harris County domestic violence defense lawyer immediately to start building your case.

Domestic violence cases can be difficult to handle due to the emotions involved for all parties. Courts deem family violence crimes more serious than physical crimes that occur outside of the home, making domestic assault cases immediately more consequential. This is why an experienced Harris County domestic violence defense lawyer must be hired to support the case and inform clients throughout the case.

Don’t delay in securing the proficient legal guidance you need to challenge accusations in Harris County. An experienced lawyer, like those at The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, can handle complexities effectively. It’s never too early to start building your defense. Contact our law office today at 832-471-6904 to take the first steps towards more effective representation.

Understanding Domestic Violence Charges in Harris County

In Harris County, domestic violence charges demand serious attention. The criminal justice system adopts a robust approach, with thorough investigations led by law enforcement, and the district attorney holding the sole authority to dismiss or drop charges. The impact extends beyond the courtroom, as a conviction can lead to severe consequences, including loss of employment and strained personal relationships.

It is worth noting that not all domestic violence accusations hold truth. False accusations tend to surface, especially during divorce or child custody battles. This fact further accentuates the need for legal guidance. Laws surrounding domestic violence are intricate, and defenses can range from challenging the validity of the accusations to negotiating with prosecutors to avoid harsh outcomes like imprisonment.

Types of Domestic Violence Offenses

Parents fighting on couch behind a son hugging a teddy bear.In Texas, the definition of domestic violence is broad and encompasses acts intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault by a family or a household member or by an individual in a dating relationship. The legal concept of ‘family’ extends beyond blood ties or marriage and can include:

  • Biological, adopted, and foster children.
  • Siblings
  • Married or long-term partners.
  • Cousins, aunts, and uncles.
  • Parents and grandparents.
  • Any blood relatives.
  • Any household member.

This wide scope is important to consider when dealing with a domestic violence case.

Several types of domestic violence crimes are recognized under Texas law, including:

  • Assault, which is defined as an offense against a family member, household member, or someone in a current or previous relationship
  • Aggravated assault
  • Continuous violence against the family

Aggravated domestic assault charges may be pursued for more serious offenses, including those involving strangulation, indicating a higher degree of danger and possibility of enhanced felony charges or even a domestic violence charge.

The imposed penalties for these offenses can be harsh, with imprisonment ranging from 2 to 20 years for a second-degree felony, and up to 5 to 99 years for a first-degree felony, often accompanied by fines up to $10,000. However, the final amount can vary significantly based on the unique circumstances of each case.

Types Of Abuse Included In Domestic Violence Charges

Abuse in family settings can look like the following circumstances. Many of these subtypes of domestic violence crimes can interlink, making each individual case complex and unique.

Neglectful Abuse

Depriving the dependents within the family of food, shelter, and personal items such as clothing. Withholding emotional and psychological support is also included in neglect and domestic abuse.


This form of violence is any circumstance whereby a family member is subjected to imminent physical harm and bodily injury. It can include a wide range of aggravated assaults, including hitting, kicking, and choking.

A domestic violence incident of choking is a very serious crime that can raise the charge from a misdemeanor to an extensive prison sentence. If a victim claims choking occurred, the prosecution must prove that the accused caused impairment to breathing or blood flow for the victim.

A choking claim is often seen within dating violence and could be claimed by either a sexual assault or a physical assault case. A skilled domestic violence defense lawyer can disprove an unsubstantiated choking claim.

Any assault involving a deadly weapon is also included in physical abuse as an aggravated domestic assault charge. Charges can vary from class A misdemeanors for domestic abuse if the accused has no prior convictions or repeat convictions can be upgraded to a higher degree felony.


This type of abuse involves any malicious attempts to impact a person’s emotional well-being. This can include stalking, blackmail, and criticism of their personal life.

Economic Abuse

Controlling a person’s finances or forcefully taking advantage of the economic status of a family member constitutes economic abuse. In addition, forcing an individual to work or refusing them the right to work is also covered under economic domestic abuse.

Sexual Exploitation And Abuse

Any situations where sexual acts are coerced, including rape and prostitution. In addition, any form of sexual assault against an alleged victim is included within this subtype of family law.

Additional Types Of Family Abuse

Any other circumstances whereby their beliefs – political or religious – are manipulated are included in family abuse laws.

If you have been arrested for a domestic violence charge, contact an experienced Harris County domestic violence defense lawyer who can prepare the ideal defense to ensure your freedom.

The Role of Law Enforcement

Officer speaking with a man.Law enforcement in Harris County has a crucial role in handling Houston domestic violence cases. Upon being called to a domestic violence situation, their immediate goal is to arrest and remove the individual from the environment, thereby defusing the situation. The Houston Police Department’s Family Violence Unit plays a key role by conducting evidence-based investigations and collaborating with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office to present cases for charges.

After an arrest on grounds of a domestic violence offense, an automatic Magistrate’s order of emergency protection is issued to provide immediate protection to the victim. The Family Violence Unit operates in collaboration with community agencies and victim advocates to ensure survivors have access to legal referrals, counseling, and help with Crime Victims’ Compensation. A thorough evaluation of the evidence is critical to ensure that police have properly adhered to legal procedures during their investigations and interviews in domestic violence cases.

Domestic Violence Conviction Punishments In Houston, Texas

The charges and penalties for domestic assault crimes vary depending upon the specific situation, including factors such as the degree of harm caused and previous violence. When a person is charged with a family violence crime, the victim can often retract their statements and decide to drop the charges. In the eyes of the law within Texas, this is not the end of the case.

The person charged with the domestic violence crime will still be required to attend court. This is to ensure the charges were not dropped by the family member out of fear and to also prevent repeated domestic violence behaviors in the future. Penalties for family violence crimes can have serious consequences, including fines and jail time.

  • Class C Misdemeanor: If the alleged victims have suffered no bodily injury or permanent harm, these charges can be punishable by a $500 fine.
  • Class A Misdemeanor: If the domestic violence caused significant pain, long-lasting injury, or left physical marks, the charge can be punishable by a year in jail and/ or a $4,000 fine.
  • Third-degree Felony: This charge can be bought for a variety of reasons, including if the alleged victim was strangled, had a serious bodily injury, or the accused had previous domestic violence convictions against them. A third-degree felony can result in between two and ten years in jail.
  • A Restraining Order: A successful prosecution in a domestic violence case can result in a restraining order. This would require the prosecuted individual to keep a set distance from the family member or partner and to avoid contact in person and virtually.
  • A Protective Order: A protective order can also be known as a protection order. This is a more serious consequence within Texas as it requires the prosecuted to keep their distance from the victim, the children, and the family too, regardless of whether they are at home or in a public place. This type of order can be placed within a dating relationship also. A protective order can be issued for up to two years, involving mandatory counseling services, paying spousal or child support, and involvement in intervention programs. Additionally, it can remove the right to bear arms in the Texas area for the person prosecuted.

Protective Orders in Harris County

Survivors of domestic violence in Harris County have the option to obtain protective orders via the District Attorney’s Office – Domestic Violence Division, which assists with the application process. Protective orders are legal shields issued by civil court and can be applied for where the victim or abuser resides, or where the domestic abuse occurred.

While securing a protective order is one aspect, modifying or challenging it is a separate matter. To modify an existing protective order, the involved parties must file a motion; the court may modify the order following a notice and a hearing where both parties present evidence and legal arguments.

To contest a protective order, the respondent must provide proof that family violence did not occur or that it is unlikely to occur in the future.

Types of Protective Orders

Texas law recognizes three main types of protective orders:

  1. Temporary ex parte protective orders: Provides immediate protection for a victim and can be issued without the alleged abuser being present.
  2. Final protective orders: Issued after a hearing where both parties have the opportunity to present evidence and arguments.
  3. Magistrate’s orders of emergency protection: Issued by a magistrate judge in cases of emergency situations.

Each type of protective order has specific issuance conditions and duration.

A Final protective order, on the other hand, is granted after a court hearing where both parties have the opportunity to present their case. Protective orders in Texas can last up to 2 years and may be extended under certain conditions like the commission of a felony involving family violence by the abuser.

Consequences of Violating a Protective Order

Violating a protective order in Harris County is a serious offense that can result in immediate arrest and criminal charges. Such violation can lead to additional legal ramifications beyond those for the original act of domestic violence, particularly when there is a risk of imminent physical harm.

It is essential to fully understand the terms of a protective order and adhere to them strictly. Violations can result in severe consequences such as fines and imprisonment.

Building a Strong Defense Against Domestic Violence Charges

Constructing a formidable defense against domestic violence charges is imperative to safeguarding your rights and securing a favorable outcome. At The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, we leverage our experience to construct a solid defense strategy tailored to your unique situation. Our approach includes:

  • Asserting self-defense
  • Demonstrating accidents
  • Refuting false accusations
  • Identifying investigation faults

All aimed at undermining the prosecution’s burden of proof.

Drawing from their background as former prosecutors, our attorneys:

  • Anticipate prosecution moves
  • Build robust defenses that have led to dismissals and not-guilty verdicts
  • Push for charge dismissal
  • Engage in plea negotiations
  • File motions to dismiss
  • Explore deferred adjudication options

We believe in ensuring the best possible outcome for our clients.

Evaluating the Evidence

The assessment of evidence is essential in constructing a strong defense. Assessing witness testimony and credibility is critical, as it is often prone to emotional influence, potential bias, or misunderstandings which can be revealed during cross-examination. Digital evidence also requires thorough analysis to verify authenticity and to check for tampering.

Physical evidence demands careful examination, particularly the evidence collection and handling process, including chain of custody and collection methodologies, to identify grounds for exclusion. Injury analysis is conducted to determine if the documented injuries are consistent with the client’s narrative, such as self-defense, while also considering alternative explanations for the injuries.

Challenging False Accusations

The presence of false accusations in domestic violence cases can cause significant stress and turmoil. Up to 10 percent of domestic violence reports in Houston might be false or fraudulent. This indicates the potential for misrepresentation within a small portion of reported cases. At The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, we understand this reality and are prepared to challenge these false accusations aggressively.

Our defense lawyers question the accuser’s motivations, uncovering any underlying motives such as revenge or manipulation that could lead to false accusations. Part of our defense strategy includes disproving the intentional element of the offense, particularly in instances where the actions are claimed to be accidental. Clients are advised to avoid any communication with the accuser to prevent additional claims or misunderstandings.

The Impact of a Domestic Violence Conviction on Family Law Matters

The implications of a domestic violence conviction can be extensive, particularly in family law matters. In Texas, domestic violence can influence conservatorship outcomes, affecting who has the authority to make important life choices for the child. Texas law restricts parents with a domestic violence record from obtaining joint conservatorship, protecting the child and the other parent from potential harm.

A domestic violence conviction can severely impact custody disputes, making it substantially more challenging for the convicted individual to secure custody or visitation rights. Visitation rights may be restricted or completely revoked by Texas courts if there is a documented history of domestic violence by a parent.

Child Custody and Visitation

Parents with a history of domestic violence may face severe limitations on visitation rights or lose parental rights altogether in Texas. Texas courts are prohibited from granting joint conservatorship to parents when there is evidence of domestic violence by one parent against the other or the child.

A parent with a history of domestic violence may be permitted custody or visitation only if it’s determined to be in the child’s best interests and not detrimental to the child’s emotional and physical health. Courts in Texas have the authority to restrict the abusive parent’s access to the child, including mandating supervised visits or limiting the frequency and duration of visits, based on the child’s well-being and family violence history.

Protective Orders and Family Court

In Texas, there is a close interconnection between protective orders and family court proceedings. Texas Family Code Chapter 71 defines ‘family violence,’ ‘member of a household,’ and ‘household,’ which are relevant in family court proceedings and for the issuance of protective orders. In cases involving family violence, Texas courts can dictate visitation terms for family members, including supervised visitation or, in extreme cases, termination of visitation rights.

Texas courts may also impose restrictions on how parents communicate post-separation, requiring the use of written forms such as email, text message, or co-parenting apps to limit abusive or harassive interactions.

The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC: Your Harris County Domestic Violence Defense Team

As you confront domestic violence charges, a team of skilled Houston domestic violence lawyers is essential who understand the intricacies of the law and can guide you through this challenging legal journey. The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, a Houston domestic violence attorney, also has a Houston domestic violence lawyer serving clients in:

  • Sugar Land
  • Fort Bend
  • Houston
  • Katy
  • Harris County in Texas.

Our legal team, featuring Jeremy DuCote and Leigh Love, brings decades of collective experience to the table in defending clients against domestic violence allegations. We understand the importance of clear communication and strong attorney-client relationships, keeping our clients well-informed throughout their cases.

Our Approach to Domestic Violence Defense

The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC is committed to providing legal advocacy and guidance to protect your interests. Our case investigations are thorough, involving a detailed review of witness statements, physical evidence, and police reports.

We work aggressively to defend our clients, aiming to have charges dropped and no contact orders lifted, ensuring a favorable outcome for you. With our focus on client communication, you’ll always be kept informed and involved in your case, enabling you to make informed decisions at every stage.

Client Testimonials

Our dedication to our clients, coupled with our experience in managing domestic violence cases, has earned us the title of Best Family Law Firm for 2022. But don’t just take our word for it. Our clients’ testimonials speak for themselves. They express profound gratitude, often recommending our firm and describing our attorneys as:

  • incredible
  • helpful
  • knowledgeable
  • compassionate
  • professional

We are consistently commended for our professionalism and the respectful treatment of our clients. Testimonials frequently highlight our adeptness at navigating clients through challenging legal scenarios with guidance. We are humbled by such positive feedback and remain committed to providing the highest quality legal representation for our clients.

Contact Us

If you have been arrested or charged with domestic violence situations or family violence charges in Harris County, Texas, or the surrounding areas, you should contact our legal service as soon as possible. A prosecution team will use every available legal tool to obtain the strongest penalties available. This is why it’s imperative to begin working on a resilient defense immediately, with the support of a reputable Harris County domestic violence defense lawyer.

At The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, we treat every case as an individual case, and our outstanding lawyers will work tirelessly to ensure that anyone facing domestic violence charges thoroughly understands their full legal options. The benefit of a personalized and strong client-attorney relationship is that our lawyers will work hard in your best interests and support you throughout the complex legal case.

The earlier the defense case is started, the more effective it can be in securing your future. Contact The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC today for an initial consultation at 832-471-6904.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a statute of limitations on domestic violence in Texas?

Yes, in Texas, the statute of limitations for domestic assault, a misdemeanor, is up to two years, while felony charges like continuous violence against the family have a statute of limitations of three years.

How do domestic violence cases work in Texas?

In Texas, domestic violence cases enter the criminal justice system when an individual is charged with an offense. The prosecution and defense may discuss plea agreements, but Texas is known for its strict approach to domestic violence, often leading to aggressive prosecution. Unlike some states, Texas does not always rely on plea bargains, and many cases go to trial to be decided by a judge or jury. This process underscores the importance of experienced legal representation to handle the state’s legal system.

Can domestic violence charges be expunged in Texas?

In some cases, domestic violence charges can be expunged in Texas if the charges were dismissed, the person was acquitted, or they successfully completed a pre-trial diversion program. However, if there was a conviction, an expunction is not possible, though a non-disclosure order may be an option depending on the circumstances.

What is the difference between a restraining order and a protective order in Texas?

In Texas, a restraining order is typically used in civil cases and can be issued to prevent actions like harassment or stalking. A protective order, on the other hand, is used in cases of family violence and offers more comprehensive protection. It can order the abuser to stay away from the victim and can have criminal consequences if violated.

How can I defend myself against false domestic violence accusations in Texas?

Defending against false domestic violence accusations in Texas requires a strong legal strategy. This may include gathering evidence to refute the claims, such as texts, emails, or witness statements. It is crucial to work with a skilled domestic violence defense attorney who can challenge the credibility of the accuser and present a compelling defense on your behalf.


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