Texas Domestic Violence Charges? Use a Smart Criminal Lawyer
In recent years, domestic violence seems to have become something of an epidemic in the Houston area and throughout American society as a whole. In response to the rising awareness of these cases, and national campaigns by victims’ rights groups—with supporters ranging from major corporations to the U.S. Department of Justice— law enforcement agencies and courts across the country have begun to really crack down in an effort to put show zero tolerance to family violence.
This is especially true in Texas, where all assault charges, especially those involving family violence, are taken extremely seriously. Now that law enforcement officials and the courts are publicly cracking down on domestic violence, individuals accused of these charges may find themselves facing some of the law’s harshest consequences.
Unfortunately, allegations of family violence are also one of the areas of criminal law most likely to involve false allegations, especially when the allegations are made during a time of impending divorce or child custody disputes. However, it is important for you to remember, if you find yourself up against a false allegation of domestic violence, it does not have to lead to a conviction. These cases can certainly be won.
Despite police officers’ zeal, and public opinion making it seem like the world is against you, if you have been unfairly accused of domestic violence, you should always fight back against those charges. A knowledgeable criminal lawyer will be able to help you avoid charges and keep your record and your reputation intact.
Trust a Texas Domestic Violence Lawyer Who Understands State Law
In Texas, domestic violence laws are complicated and their impact can vary significantly from case to case. Luckily, John T. Floyd has been successfully handling these cases for years. Mr. Floyd knows exactly how to navigate the complex world of Texas family violence laws and exactly what it takes to win these cases and keep your record clear.
The first important detail to understand is that domestic violence charges are not limited to people currently involved in romantic relationships. Oftentimes, accused men and women are surprised that they have been changed with domestic violence, incorrectly believing that because no spouse or partner was involved, they have been wrongly accused.
This is not always so. In Texas, an act can be considered domestic violence as long as that act is committed against any of the following:
- A family member
- A household member
- Someone the offender is currently dating or has dated in the past
Another common misconception is that domestic violence cases can only be considered criminal if significant physical injury occurred as a result of an assault. In fact, domestic violence charges can be filed and prosecuted even if no physical injury was sustained at all.
In these types of cases, nothing is as cut-and-dry as people tend to believe, which is why the charges can be so confusing. Still, if you are facing family violence charges, it is important your attorney understands exactly the relevant laws in Texas so that you can fight back more effectively.
In Texas, domestic violence cases can be divided into three types: domestic assault, aggravated domestic assault, and continuous violence against the family.
Simply put, a domestic assault is any assault on one of the types of people named above (i.e., a family member, household member, or former or current partner). There are a range of actions that can fall under the realm of assault, including:
- Intentionally causing bodily damage to another individual
- Intentionally threatening another individual with bodily injury
- Intentionally causing physical contact with another individual which that individual finds offensive or provocative
These types of charges are typically classified as Class A misdemeanors as long as the defendant has never before been charged with domestic violence.
Aggravated Domestic Assault
According to Texas law, a person can be accused of aggravated domestic assault if he or she causes serious bodily injury to another person, or if he or she uses any deadly weapon while committing an assault crime.
Again, things can get more than a little confusing here since there is so much room for subjectivity. For instance, what exactly constitutes “serious bodily injury,” and in which cases can certain items be considered lethal weapons?
In domestic violence cases, prosecutors will often try to twist these undefined areas into definitions that work in their own favor. However, these arguments are often weak and baseless. The legal team at The John T. Floyd Law Firm knows how to spot holes in these types of prosecutions and shut them down immediately so that you can have your case reduced or dismissed.
Continuous Violence Against the Family
An individual can be charged with continuous violence against the family if he or she is convicted of two domestic assaults within a span of 12 months. It is important to note here that it is not necessary for the accused individual to have been found guilty in either of the previous instances. Even without previous guilty verdicts, a person can be charged with—and potentially found guilty of—a continuous violence against the family crime. This kind of charge is considered a third degree felony, and carries with it incredibly serious penalties.
Another way family violence cases can be elevated to a felony is by an allegation of choking. Choking is defined by Texas law as intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of the person by applying pressure to the person’s throat or neck or by blocking the person’s nose or mouth. These cases are extremely serious as the range of punishment up to 10 years in prison. What is even more disturbing is the increasing number of cases that previously would have been filed as misdemeanors that are now filed as choking offenses and the speculation that police officers, or vindictive family members, understand the law and the magic language that is needed to drastically increase the seriousness of the allegation.
A Knowledgeable Domestic Violence Attorney Explains the Consequences for Domestic Violence Charges in Texas
If you have been charged with domestic violence in Texas, you could be facing a number of very serious consequences. The consequences of these crimes vary depending on the nature of the allegation and the defendant’s criminal record, but at their most simplified, domestic violence crimes are often charged in the following way:
- Class A misdemeanor – penalties may include up to one year in jail, up to $4,000 in fines, or both
- 3rd degree felony – penalties may include 2 to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
- 2nd degree felony – penalties may include 2 to 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
- 1st degree felony — penalties may include 5 to 99 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
These consequences do not take into account the social effects that a domestic violence charge could bring. In addition to fines and jail time, a domestic violence conviction has the potential to ruin your reputation, prevent you from obtaining certain licenses and employment, and change life as you know it for years or even decades following the conviction.
Houston Defense Attorney John T. Floyd: The Defense You Need in your Domestic Violence Case
In domestic violence cases, prosecutors often rely on the assumed sympathies of judges and juries, and they are wise to do so because it often works with an unprepared defense lawyer. With such staunch public opinion and the cards already stacked against perpetrators of family violence, it can be all too easy for the prosecution to tug at jurors’ heartstrings by painting the defendant in a sympathetic light while demonizing the accused.
But John T. Floyd not only understands how Texas courts work, how to confront false allegations and exactly what it takes to clear your name. He also knows how to reveal the other side of the story – the story that the prosecution will try to hide. Mr. Floyd knows what a credible defense looks like in a family violence case because he has successfully crafted them for countless defendants just like you. When you hire The John T. Floyd Law Firm, he will work hard to tell your story and clear your name.
Do not delay. The faster an experienced, compassionate domestic violence attorney can start crafting your defense, the more likely you are to achieve a positive outcome. Contact John T. Floyd today to set up a free initial consultation and discuss the options available to you. Fill out our online case form, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 713-224-0101.