Defense Lawyer for Domestic Violence Charges – Houston, Texas
Wrongly Accused of Domestic Violence?
If false domestic violence charges were filed against you, we want you to know that you are innocent UNLESS proven guilty. You need an experienced domestic violence lawyer that can help prove 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.
Anyone can make an allegation of domestic violence, but that does not make it true. However, merely an 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 domestic abuse attorney if faced with false accusations of domestic assault or spousal abuse.
How Can Innocent People Be Charged with Domestic Violence?
- Domestic violence accusations can easily be misused by individuals hoping to gain an upper hand in divorce or custody proceedings.
- If a neighbor hears you arguing, police can press charges without proof.
- When someone wants to get an upper hand for custody or alimony during a divorce.
- When an angry spouse or partner falsely claims they were physically abused.
- When police read a situation poorly and insist there is a victim.
What Do they Gain from Falsely Accusing Domestic Violence?
By obtaining a protective order after an alleged family assault incident, a spouse can prevent you from taking a part in the lives of your children or obtain access to your possessions. In child custody or spousal support arrangements, these allegations can put you in a difficult bargaining position.
Other unwanted repercussions can result, such as restriction of your right to carry a firearm, freedom to enlist in the armed forces or even your ability to be involved in certain professions. not to mention the possibility of incarceration.
Defending Your Rights Against Criminal Accusations, You Need a Houston Domestic Violence Attorney.
There are no justifiable excuses for abusing a spouse or anyone in one’s household, whether physically, mentally, or sexually. Sadly, when this powerful legal club is waved carelessly and unjustifiably, it not only harms your legal rights but also detracts attention from those who are actually experiencing the nightmare of spousal abuse. We at Chernoff Law are focused fully on ensuring that your rights are upheld, your dignity is maintained and your side of the story is told. You can put your whole trust in our firm’s experience and dedication to work compassionately and aggressively on every facet of your legal needs.
Assault is broadly defined as intentionally causing contact that results in bodily injury or offensive contact. These charges can be a misdemeanor or felony depending on the seriousness and whether a deadly weapon was used. Use of a deadly weapon or contact that results in serious bodily injury could result in years of prison. If you have been arrested for these charges, it is important to contact a strong and effective domestic assault lawyer in Houston or Fort Bend County to defend your rights. Violent crimes are treated harshly in Texas.
Recently there has been great interest in the prosecution of assault in the household. In Harris County and Fort Bend County, an entire division of the District Attorney’s office is authorized to prosecute spousal and family abuse. Often times, these prosecutions are overzealous, and result in unnecessary Magistrates Orders(MOEP).
Accused of Domestic Violence or Family Violence?
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: domestic violence, family violence, family assault, continuous family violence, or aggravated assault with serious bodily injury or a deadly weapon with family violence.
What is the Difference Between Family Violence and Domestic Violence?
Domestic and family violence are pretty much the same thing. The technical difference comes from the way that Texas family code differentiates the two crimes.
- Domestic violence is described by Texas Family Code Sec. 71.0021. Dating Violence as violence against someone the person is in a “dating relationship” with.
- Family violence on the other hand, is defined by Texas Family Code Sec. 71.004 Family Violence as violence against anyone related by marriage or blood; former couples or spouses that are now divorced; parents of a child even if not married; and foster parents of children.
What Constitutes Family Violence?
When contact is made intentionally or recklessly with another, which results in pain or is objectively offensive, then assault has occurred. An offense is created even if spouses are the only ones involved.
WHAT IF I’M CONVICTED OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?
When prosecutors prepare their document charging a person with assault, they usually prepare it to reflect that the assault was against a family member. If you plead guilty, without any changes to the charge, you are admitting to everything, including family violence.
A guilty plea to charges of family violence is not the only way the prosecutor can prove a domestic assault case.
The State can also prove it by producing evidence of prior assaults that were never prosecuted. The consequence of conviction for this charge can be severe.
Texas Domestic Violence & Family Assault Laws
A misdemeanor domestic violence or family assault conviction can result in up to one year in jail and a $4,000. fine. 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. 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 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.
Get Prompt, Aggressive Legal Help for Any Family Violence Charge
Our founding lawyer can help you understand the charges you’re facing and provide sound defense to protect your freedom. Domestic violence charges we defend include:
- misdemeanor family assault
- misdemeanor domestic violence
- felony domestic violence
- felony family assault
and many other related charges. The potential consequences of a guilty plea or conviction are far-reaching and will not only limit your freedom when you eventually get out of jail or prison, they will affect your ability to see your family and get a job.
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 charged reduced or dropped.
Punishment for Felony Family Assault Conviction
If you are facing a felony assault charge, you could be facing a lot of prison time. Even if you are not incarcerated, you will face stiff discrimination in employment as many employers are fearful of hiring someone with a felony assault record. Your civil rights will also be affected. Skip to punishment for domestic violence/ family violence convictions.
Consequences of Domestic Violence Conviction on Immigration
The effects of a guilty plea or conviction are especially bad for immigrants. A family assault can now be considered a third-degree felony if you pled guilty to or have been convicted of any other “violent” crime involving a family member. This is true even if you were given probation. An accused who is not a citizen, even those who are permenant residents, may find a conviction or deferred adjudication on a misdemeanor used to justify a government petition to remove the accused from the United States.
Punishment for a Domestic Violence Conviction in Texas
- 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, 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.
If you are facing domestic violence charges you should understand the wide range of negative effects a conviction for family violence may have. The specific charges against you can range from a misdemeanor to a felony and can result in jail time, a prison sentence, fines and or a long probation. You will also 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 your children.
If you have been arrested for domestic violence, spousal abuse, harassment, stalking or any form of terroristic threat, you should speak to a domestic violence defense lawyer at Chernoff Law as soon as possible. We can arrange a consultation immediately to discuss the details of your case and determine your best course of legal action.
Our firm places a strong focus on defending those accused of domestic violence. Our lawyers are board-certified in criminal law and have all served as prosecutors in criminal and domestic violence cases. They have seen the actions taken by the police, prosecutors and the criminal justice system to attempt to get as many convictions as possible in such cases. They are also well aware that even if a spouse attempts to drop the charges or even refuses to file charges, it remains in the hands of the prosecution to decide whether to dismiss or go to trial.
The repercussions of a domestic assault conviction can be far-reaching, not only impacting family law and custody matters but also leading to prison time, fines and probation. Since domestic violence laws are being strengthened in many areas, whether or not a victim chooses to pursue criminal charges no longer bears influence – charges will likely be pursued regardless of the alleged victim’s wishes.
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.
Contact Domestic Violence Attorney Ed Chernoff
At Chernoff Law, we understand your fears and concerns if you have been arrested for domestic 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 urge you to contact a domestic assault lawyer at the firm for a free confidential consultation.