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 complex to navigate due to the emotions involved for all parties. Additionally, courts deem family violence crimes are more serious than physical crimes that occur outside of the home, making domestic assault cases immediately more consequential.
This is why it’s vital an experienced Harris County domestic violence defense lawyer is hired to support the navigation of the case and inform clients throughout the 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.
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 assault, 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.
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 best defense to ensure your freedom.
Who Can Be Covered By Texas Family Violence Laws?
Most of the public deem domestic violence victims as those subject to physical spousal abuse. However, Texas domestic violence law extends beyond imminent physical harm and can be applied to more than those who are married.
In accordance with the Texas Family Code, which lays the significant foundations in domestic violence laws across the state, a domestic violence case can apply to a victim’s family member, a member of the household, or a current partner. In addition, ex-partners are protected by the Texas family code.
This means that domestic or family violence cases that take place in Harris County, Texas, may involve a wide variety of family members, including:
- Biological, adopted, and foster children.
- Married or long-term partners.
- Cousins, aunts, and uncles.
- Parents and grandparents.
- Any blood relatives.
- Any household member.
The law also includes various actions on the responsibility of the accused. This means that assault, threats of physical violence, actual physical harm, sexual assault, and physical injury are all included in the category of domestic violence in the Texas family code.
Dating violence can also be a legal issue that directly impacts a dating partner, for example, in cases of sexual assault. The judge will take multiple factors into account within the dating relationship, such as the length of the relationship, living arrangements, and the romantic or intimate nature of the relationship.
Continued Violence Against A Person Covered By The Texas Family Code
A person continuously accused of domestic violence should appoint a Harris County domestic violence defense lawyer at the earliest opportunity. If a person is accused of two cases of family violence within a 12-month period they can be investigated for a continuous violence charge.
Most importantly, these two incidents do not need to involve the same child or persons to be applicable for a continuous violence case. Additionally, no charge, arrest, or conviction has to take place either for an incident to be included within the two-cases limit.
Appointing an experienced Harris County domestic violence defense lawyer is the best way to build a strong case in these circumstances as there is so much ambiguity involved in continued violence cases due to accusations alone being enough to prosecute for ongoing family abuse.
A charge dealt with in these circumstances can be considered a third-degree felony and lead to a financial penalty of up to $10,000 alongside up to 10 years in jail.
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. However, 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 be 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 $4000 fine.
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.
How Can A Harris County Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer Help Your Case?
If you have been charged with domestic assault against a family member in Harris County, Texas, it can have very serious consequences. That’s why it’s so important that you contact a Harris County domestic violence defense lawyer quickly in an effort to defend yourself.
In domestic violence cases, the prosecution team works aggressively to prove their case, which is why it is vital to have an equally strong countercase.
From the instance of the accusation, it is important to consider the short and long-term implications. One allegation can carry ramifications for many years. If additional charges are included, then the court may not be as lenient as is usually expected with a first-time offense.
Any charges – felony and misdemeanors – can have huge implications on an individual’s life, including difficulty obtaining future employment or living arrangements. These charges remain on record for life, making it particularly difficult to continue professional development without these repercussions interrupting your life.
At The Love DuCote Law Firm LLC, our criminal defense attorneys understand the serious nature of such a criminal charge and the immediate impact it can have on all aspects of your life. They will acquire all the information involved in the case to build the strongest case to support you and your future. Our experienced Harris County domestic violence defense lawyers know that time is of the essence, and that’s why we will work to help you obtain the best possible outcome.
Incidents Involving False Accusations
In some domestic abuse cases, a domestic violence claim can be false accusations used to add leverage to an already difficult situation, such as a child custody case. If a bodily injury has occurred, it can be difficult to determine the cause of the injury.
Self Defense Measures
For example, if a man is being assaulted repeatedly by his spouse or dating partner and he reacts in self-defense on one occasion. Yet, the domestic violence calls to police officers are from the woman. He can use self-defense as a defensive measure in court.
However, the self-defense must be able to prove that the physical harm is proportional to an initial attack from the partner. Additionally, the accused person must be able to prove there was no opportunity to retreat or escape, resulting in self-defensive measures.
Self-defense is the most commonly used defense against a charge of domestic assault.
What could be claimed as domestic violence could, in fact, be a case of an accidental bodily injury and not an attack. If the alleged victim had slipped and an injury had occurred without the cause being reckless, purposeful, or malicious, then the alleged accuser could use accidental injury as a defense in court.
In the Texas family laws, prosecutors must prove that a defendant acted knowingly, recklessly, and with the intent to cause bodily injury to a family member. An experienced defense lawyer may be able to argue in court that the injury was unintendedly.
Tips From A Defense Lawyer To Support Your Case
In order to protect oneself when a domestic violence case is claimed, there are some tips from a defense lawyer that can support your case.
Refraining From Communicating About The Case Online
Any evidence of an alleged offender discussing a criminal case online or about the persons involved can be retrieved and used within the prosecution case against you. This could risk harming the case by admitting guilt or showing negative emotions towards the alleged victims, which would only harm your defense.
Don’t Confront The Alleged Victims
Whether the attempted contact is in person, virtually, or through other means, you must not contact the victims or family members involved in the case. In the first instance, contact could lead to further hostilities and another alleged act of violence.
Furthermore, it could violate the protective order if one has been put in place. In more serious cases, contacting a victim could be evidence of witness tampering and obstructing the investigation, which could carry further charges.
Contact A Harris County Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
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.