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Family Assault FAQ

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Assault and especially Family Assault is one of the crimes most vigorously prosecuted by the State of Texas. You should never take assault charges lightly and should immediately seek the help of an assault lawyer.

Harming a spouse, partner or child in an abusive act is never the right thing for a person to do. However, false or overblown allegations leads to unfair and vindictive prosecution under our tough statutes governing Assault of a Family Member offenses.

When facing a domestic violence charge of any kind, a Family Assault Lawyer in Houston, like attorney Ed Chernoff can act swiftly to help you avoid a conviction.

I am well known as a strong assault lawyer and I defend aggressively. I understand that misunderstandings, exaggeration of facts, and even false accusations that are often part of domestic abuse allegations. We pledge to offer intimate client care, personalized service, and aggressive legal defense against charges that are often filled as a result of difficulty and emotion. Our only concern is the protection of your legal rights and future.

What Constitutes an Assault in Texas?

The misdemeanor version of this crime can loosely be described as the use of force to injure or make offensive contact toward another person. Bodily injury makes the crime a Class “A” Misdemeanor. Bodily injury only requires that some pain be caused.

According to Texas Penal Code, Title 5, Chapter 22, the definition of domestic violence is the intentional harm of a family member or one in a dating relationship. The laws governing family violence, often take it out of the realm of simple assault and battery. Those charged with assault will likely face a Class A misdemeanor, but charges and punishments will get more serious depending on the nature and extent of the incident. An allegation of choking, or use of deadly weapon will result in a felony charge.

What Is the Difference Between Simple Assault and Aggravated Assault?

When a family matter or household quarrel develops into something more serious and police are contacted, one of the parties involved will likely be arrested on assault charges for family violence. The official type of crime you could potentially be charged with include: Assault of a family member, continuous family violence, or aggravated assault resulting from serious bodily injury or use of a deadly weapon.

The difference between crime classifications and respective penalties depends on the seriousness of the offense and a few other important factors – whether the offense results in Serious Bodily Injury: i.e., causes bodily impairment or permanent disfigurement; whether a Deadly Weapon was used; whether the offense involved choking or whether it repeatedly occurred against a Family Member.

Consequences of a Domestic Assault Charge in Texas

A misdemeanor domestic violence or family assault conviction can result in up to one year in jail and a $4,000 fine.

Even if you are not incarcerated, you will face stiff discrimination in employment as many employers are fearful of hiring someone with an assault on their record. Your civil rights will also be affected. For instance, even if you are on a deferred adjudication for Assault of a Family Member, you will likely lose your ability to own a handgun.

If you are facing domestic violence charges you should understand the wide range of negative effects a conviction for family violence may have. You will face severe restrictions if a restraining or protective order is issued by the court. This will mean that you cannot return home or see or contact your spouse, ex-spouse or other family, including possibly your children.

Probation may be available but unlike probation in some other criminal cases, information on a domestic violence charge is always available to the public. It is not kept private and you cannot seal it from your criminal record or have it expunged or non-disclosed.  As a consequence, your domestic violence conviction, your arrest, and plea will be on your criminal record for the rest of your life.

  • That can affect your ability to find future employment.
  • It can stand in the way of obtaining a security clearance or getting a professional license.
  • If you were trying to rent an apartment, your prospective landlord will see the assault charge.
  • It can prevent you from buying a handgun or hunting rifle.
  • Deportation if you are an immigrant

What are the Penalties for a Domestic Violence Conviction in Texas

A first-time domestic violence charge is classified as a misdemeanor but can still bring a sentence of up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. When deadly weapons enter the equation, a charge of aggravated assault can be filed and the subsequent penalties will also be enhanced. Repeated convictions can lead to felony charges and long prison sentences.

  • Assault Family Violence: Class A Misdemeanor — Up to 1 year in jail, $4,000 in fines, or both.
  • 2nd Assault Domestic Violence: 3rd Degree Felony — $10,000 fine plus a minimum of two years in prison, a maximum prison term of 10 years.
  • Continuous Family or Domestic Violence: 3rd Degree Felony — $10,000 fine and between 2 and 10 years in prison in addition to the other charge.
  • Aggravated Assault or Assault with a Deadly Weapon with Family or Aggravated Assault with Domestic Violence: 1st Degree Felony — $10,000 fine and prison sentence from 5 to 99 years or life in prison.

Why Do You Need to Hire an Experienced Assault Attorney If Charged with Domestic Violence?

Family matters and passions about love, marriage and relationships can bring out the best and the worst in people and can create complicated emotional situations. When police are called to the scene of a domestic quarrel, the matter is no longer fully within the control of those involved. If an arrest is made, a prosecution will be pursued under strict domestic violence laws, regardless of whether an alleged victim chooses to file charges or not.

If you have been arrested or accused of any domestic abuse offense, it is imperative to obtain strong legal counsel from a Houston Assault lawyer.

The law is a highly complex area, and successful negotiation and defense require specialized training and experience. The attorneys at Chernoff Law can help protect your legal rights and interests through each step of the process, from hearings regarding protective orders to pre-trial negotiation with prosecutors and strong action in the courtroom during possible trials and appeals.

When your future is hanging in the balance – potential criminal record, custody issues, living arrangements, involvement in the lives of your children – it is critical that you have experienced and aggressive legal representation who is committed to defending your case.

What Will Chernoff Law Do for You?

The firm has many years of experience representing people charged with domestic violence, family assault, battery, or other assault charges. Assault of a Family Member is one of the major focus areas of Chernoff Law. We vigorously present our client's defense. We insist that the prosecution prove its case.

Because Ed Chernoff is a former prosecutor,  he can anticipate the prosecution's strategy and tactics. When the state's evidence does not add up, he brings it to light. He rigorously cross-examines the state's witnesses and points out inconsistencies, exaggerations, and lies in their testimony. Our purpose is to establish a reasonable doubt requiring acquittal. He is quick to counter any prosecution and argue for a dismissal or acquittal.

If charged with misdemeanor Assault or Aggravated Assault with bodily injury in Texas, you need an experienced lawyer on your side in court. The consequences for a conviction are much greater than you might think. Especially if the alleged victim is a family member.

Ed Chernoff is the founding attorney of Chernoff Law, and he has over 30 years of experience defending people charged with a crime in the greater Houston area. He is Board Certified in Criminal Law.

It is important that an accused understand the damage that an affirmative finding of family violence can have on his future.  With an experienced and zealous defense, we may be able to get the charge reduced or dropped.

We urge you to contact Houston assault lawyer Ed Chernoff at Chernoff Law for a free confidential consultation.

What To Do If You Have Been Issued a Protective Order?

Recently there has been great interest in the prosecution of Family Violence in the household. In Harris County, an entire division of the District Attorney's office is authorized to prosecute domestic violence, spousal and family abuse. Often times, these prosecutions are overzealous and result in a Magistrates Order of Emergency Protection, a protective order otherwise known as a MOEP.

The difference between a restraining order and a protective order is semantic. A restraining order is a label placed on civil orders keeping an individual from doing certain things with regard to a protected individual. In criminal court, the typical orders that apply are a MOEP and a no-contact bail condition.

The effects of a MOEP are severe and intrusive. You will be forced out of the home and ordered to limit your communication with your loved one and children. Only the help of a good and experienced Family Assault Attorney can help you remove these restrictions.

In addition to the problems of where to live and how to regain your possessions, people on the wrong end of a criminal protective order face problems with bail and the potential for re-arrest.

  • Bail: In Harris County, Texas bail may be set as high as no bond in domestic violence cases. After you are served a copy of the criminal protective order the prosecutor may agree to reduce your bond, but that's little comfort if you've had to sit in jail or pay for an unnecessarily high bond.
  • No Contact Orders: The prosecutor may request that you have no contact with your loved one as a condition of bail. This should be fought strenuously.
  • Consequences of Violating No Contact Orders: If you violate the no contact order, even accidentally, and the complainant takes it to court, you may find yourself under arrest again and facing the inability to make bail.

What is a Violation of a Protective Order Case

When a temporary protective order (MOEP) is issued, the accused is bound by law not to do certain things.  Doing any of the following may be a violation of a restraining order:

  • Threats or harassment
  • Following or stalking
  • Destruction of property or assets
  • Financial manipulation such as changing or emptying bank accounts or hiding assets
  • Relocation of the family home or changing of a child's school
  • Contact with the “victim”
  • Coming near the alleged victim's home or work

Violating a protective order is serious. If you find yourself in this position, you need to contact a assault attorney experienced with Violation of Protective Order cases. Violations of protective orders can be punishable by fines up to $4,000 or possibly up to one year in jail. In addition, bail may be revoked.

Of course, a temporary emergency protective order can be filed unnecessarily without any proof, which is why we are prepared to defend you in court and have the charges dropped before the protective order becomes permanent.

Fighting No-Contact Orders and Violation Charges

The earlier you contact our firm, the sooner we can begin to represent your best interests. We can help you with the orders and the additional difficulties of high bail and bail conditions, and the frequent and often accidental violation of these conditions. In fact, just going home with the permission from your spouse to collect your belongings can make you subject to arrest. We are here to help you and can answer all your questions when you call our offices.

Chernoff Law can help keep false restraining order accusations and unfair motions for criminal protective orders from landing you in jail. You have the right to fight. You have the right to a hearing. We work aggressively to get charges dropped and no contact orders lifted. When the stakes are high, put our defense on your side.

See latest Blog Entries, Moep is Bulsh**

Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence?

Anyone can make an allegation of domestic violence. That does not make it true. However, even a mere allegation can result in a charge of assault, domestic violence or spousal abuse.

If police are called to your home, they will likely make an arrest. You will need to procure the help of a family assault lawyer if faced with false accusations of domestic assault or Assault of a Family Member.

If false domestic violence charges were filed against you, you must know that you are innocent UNLESS proven guilty. You need an experienced assault lawyer that can help show your innocence if wrongly accused of domestic abuse or family assault.

We understand how important partners, spouses, and family members are to our clients. We also understand the damage that can be caused by a heated disagreement or quarrel. Accusations of spousal abuse can result.

We also know that Domestic Violence accusations can easily be misused by individuals hoping to gain an upper hand in divorce or custody proceedings. False accusations can occur if police read a situation poorly and insist there is a victim or neighbors said they heard arguing.

Contact Chernoff Law now

At Chernoff Law, we understand your fears and concerns if you have been arrested for family assault. We vigorously present our client's defense. We also insist that the prosecution prove its case. As a former prosecutor, we understand how prosecutors think. When the state's evidence does not add up, we know it. We rigorously cross-examine the state's witnesses and point out inconsistencies, exaggerations, and lies in their testimony. Our purpose is to establish a reasonable doubt requiring acquittal.

We are accomplished in obtaining dismissals and acquittals for our clients. We have obtained over a hundred dismissals in the last five years. Although each case is fact specific, the majority of our clients never face conviction. We urge you to contact a Family assault lawyer at the firm for a free confidential consultation.

For More Information check out:

Family Assault FAQ

Blog – Can my Spouse Drop Charges

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Chernoff Law is committed to answering your questions about Theft, Assault, Sex Crimes, Drug Crimes, Federal Crimes, Probation Violation, Murder, DWI/DUI, and Violent Crime law issues in Texas.

I offer a free consultation and I'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact me today to schedule an appointment.