An arrest for family violence (also known as domestic violence) often occurs in the house, in front of children, friends, or family members. In Texas, the most common charge is Assault – Bodily Injury (Family Member), which is a Class A misdemeanor carrying a penalty of up to a year in county jail and a $4000 fine, as well as permanent loss of the right to ever own or possess firearms and ammunition. If you are a military member or in law enforcement, this is a career-ender.
Felony-level family violence cases often involve choking or impeding the person’s breath or circulation by applying pressure to the neck or throat, or my blocking the person’s nose or mouth. Such allegations carry the potential of significant prison time. If the alleged victim is saying anything about being hit or grabbed or otherwise assaulted on the neck or mouth, the odds of a felony charge are going to increase dramatically.
Texas law very broadly defines “family member” to include anyone living in your household, or who you’ve ever been in a dating relationship with, even if you never lived together. So, ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends are included, as are parents, brothers, sisters and other relatives.
Most family violence cases begin by someone calling the police on a recorded 911 call. Often, the alleged victim does not want to have the alleged offender arrested, but in the vast majority of cases in Texas, that alleged offender is going to jail no matter what. Even if there are no signs of physical injury, the police are trained to find probable cause to make an arrest simply based upon the initial outcry. Remember that even an alleged victim who is unwilling to cooperate with the prosecution or agrees to sign an affidavit of non-prosecution does not control what happens to the case. It isn’t the alleged victim’s case; it’s the State’s case. There is no such thing as “pressing charges” or “dropping charges” by the alleged victim. If the police have been called and certainly if someone has been arrested, that case is almost certain to be pushed forward by the State.
So it’s critically important to get a lawyer on your case fast in a family violence case, because these cases can sometimes be derailed before they get filed by getting favorable defense evidence to the prosecutor. I will hit the ground running on your case, interviewing witnesses both in your favor and those testifying for the State. Showing your hand before trial may or may not be a good idea in your specific case. When we discuss your situation in private, I will advise you of the best course of action, and explain why.
If you or a family member have been arrested or charged with any family violence offense, I can help you. Call me or email me directly from this page. Your initial consultation will be free of charge.