This area of the law, for Houston criminal defense lawyers, is rife with problems. In the dozens of Houston family violence-domestic violence cases that I’ve handled over the years, I’ve found that sometimes personal non-violent issues are brought to the attention of the authorities via an exaggerated false and malicious charge. A stressful situation can result in a call to the police by an alleged victim, household member, or even a neighbor.
These emotionally charged calls are recorded and saved by 911. Police know this is one, if not, the most dangerous kind of emergency responses they can make. The accused is usually arrested after a perfunctory investigation and is often assessed a large bond/bail.
Upon going to court they are slapped with a PROTECTIVE ORDER, a violation of which can result in additional criminal charges. Many times the alleged victim wants all charges dropped, but does not have the right to do so; some have even been threatened with criminal charges themselves. A second allegation of assault-family violence can result in a felony charge and even a bond/bail higher than some murder charges. (See case results)
An alleged victim does not have to be a spouse, but can be any member of the household. A second allegation of assault on anyone defined as a family member, even if the alleged victim is a different person from the first allegation, is considered a 3rd degree felony.
Deferred adjudication is usually not a good option on all misdemeanors or felony family violence charges because even though the charges are dismissed after successfully completing deferred adjudication, the charge can be never be expunged or hidden from public view via an expungement-expunction or certificate of nondisclosure.
Domestic violence-family assault cases are also considered a crime of moral turpitude and will be on your record for the rest of your life. Give me a call at 713-228-4607, maybe I can help. I am a licensed domestic violence and family violence Houston criminal defense attorney.
If you’re facing allegations related to family violence, assault, or felony domestic violence, contact Houston criminal defense lawyer Jack B. Carroll as soon as possible at 713-228-4607 for a NO COST Case Evaluation.
ASSAULT: TEXAS PENAL CODE CHAPTER 22
22.01 (a) A person commits an offense if the person:
(1) Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse;
(2) Intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person’s spouse; or
(3) Intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should have reasonably known that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.
(a) FAMILY VIOLENCE: an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent bodily injury, but doesn’t include defensive measures to protect oneself.
(b) DATING VIOLENCE: (a) “Dating violence” means an act by an individual that is against another individual with whom the person has or has had a dating relationship and that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself
(c) “Dating relationship” means a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on consideration of: (1) the length of the relationship (2) the nature of the relationship (3) the frequency and type of interactions of the persons involved in the relationship (4) a casual acquaintanceship or ordinary fraternization in a business or social context does not constitute a “dating relationship”
In the application for a protective order, the court shall find(a) At the close of a hearing on an application for a protective order, the court shall find whether:
(1) Family violence has occurred: and
(2) Family violence is likely to occur in the future.
(b) If the court finds that family violence has occurred and that the family violence is likely to occur in the future, the court:
(1) shall render a protective order as provided by 85.022 …… applying to a person who committed family violence; and may order the person to complete a battering intervention and prevention program and counsel with a social worker and may prohibit the person found to have committed family violence from committing family violence and communicating with the person in a threatening or harassing manner or a threat made through any person to a person protected by an order, or going near the residence or place of employment or business of a person protected by an order, except through the person’s lawyer. And the order will specially delineate the minimum distance from the location. And a license to carry a firearm can be suspended.
(2) May render a protective order as provided 85.021…. applying to both parties that are in the best interest of the person protected by the order or member of the family or household of the person protected by the order. The court may prohibit any party from removing a child who is a member of the family or household from the possession of a person named in the order
(c) A protective order that requires the first applicant to do or refrain from doing an act shall include a finding that the first applicant has committed family violence and is likely to commit family violence in the future.
Violating a protective order is very serious because it shows a disobeying of a direct order from the judge. Also, it’s a misdemeanor on the first offense and there are additional penalties and conditions not normally given in other misdemeanor cases. The police can arrest you without a warrant, simply by a witness statement that you went near, or threatened a person protected, and you can be held in jail without bail/bond.
The orders can last from 90 days up to two years. If you are sent to prison or the county jail it can last up to one year after you get out. A conviction for a violation of a protective order is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine up to $4000. If you have 2 or more previous convictions for a violation, it is a 3rd degree felony punishable by up to 10 years TDC and a $10,000 fine, and you may not be able to own a gun for up to 5 years after your probation or sentence ends.