Updated on August 24, 2022
Finding the most successful and effective defense against domestic violence charges in Texas can be a daunting task. Texas courts take any allegations of domestic violence very seriously, which is why it is imperative to seek help from a Florence lawyer to identify the best defense strategies against domestic violence in your unique criminal or divorce case.
Types of Domestic Violence Crimes in Texas
Depending on the severity of the offense, Texas Penal Code recognizes three different types of domestic violence crimes:
Domestic assault, which includes intentionally or knowingly causing bodily injury or threatening to cause bodily injury to another person
Aggravated domestic assault, which includes intentionally or knowingly causing serious bodily injury to another or using or exhibiting a deadly weapon while assaulting the victim
Continual violence against the family, which is defined as assaulting family members at least twice in 12 months
If you have been charged with any of these domestic violence offenses, speak with a skilled criminal defense lawyer immediately. You have no time to waste.
The Criminal Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction
The importance of defending yourself against domestic violence charges cannot be overstated. The penalties of a domestic violence conviction in Texas depend on the type of your offense, but they are all serious:
Class A Misdemeanor
If you are convicted of a Class A misdemeanor, you could face up to $4,000 in fines and a maximum jail sentence of one year.
Third-degree felonies are punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.
If you are convicted of a second-degree felony, you could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison and be required to pay a maximum fine of $10,000.
You could face up to $10,000 in fines and from 5 to 99 years of imprisonment for a first-degree felony conviction.
In addition to the prison sentence and fines, people convicted of domestic violence may be required to pay restitution to the victim to reimburse the medical expenses and other damages resulting from the crime.
Under certain circumstances, a person charged with domestic violence can receive deferred adjudication or community supervision as an alternative to serving a sentence in prison.
The best way to fight against domestic violence charges is to prepare a strong defense strategy. However, since each case is unique, it is vital to speak with a Florence criminal lawyer to identify the most effective defense strategy in your particular situation.
The Consequences of a Domestic Violence Conviction during Divorce
If you are convicted of domestic violence while going through a divorce, this factor can work against you when the judge makes decisions about child custody, spousal maintenance, and the division of marital property.
If you are accused of family violence, the judge can take it as a sign that you are not a suitable parent. As such, the court will either award you less parenting time or remove your visitation rights entirely, based on the severity of the accusation.
Spousal maintenance is not applicable to many divorces. However, if domestic violence plays a role in your divorce, the spouse who was a victim will most likely be eligible for spousal maintenance, even if he or she wouldn’t qualify otherwise. The presence of domestic violence will also lengthen the duration of spousal support for a spouse who is already eligible.
Division of Marital Property
Marital property is usually divided in a just and right manner, which is often fairly equal. However, the court has considerable discretion when making decisions about the division of marital property. Judges will often reward a larger portion of marital assets to spouses who are victims of domestic abuse.
False Accusations of Family Violence During Divorce
If you are going through a contentious divorce, a fierce custody battle, or another kind of familial low point, it can be very stressful. In fact, it is difficult to overestimate exactly how painful such circumstances can be.
People react to stress in different ways, and, in the process, some people lose sight of what is right and what is wrong—and even of what is real and what is not. In other words, if your spouse decides that the ends justify the means, he or she might feel justified in bringing false allegations of violent conduct.
For example, your spouse could let his or her moral code lapse if it means that he or she will be awarded primary custody . Further, some people convince themselves that their divorcing spouse is a threat when that is not actually the case.
Whatever the reason for the false charges, it is important to recognize that they are serious charges that should be taken extremely seriously. Contact a divorce lawyer right away to make sure that your rights are protected and that your divorce proceeds as smoothly as possible.
Facing False Accusations
Nearly any family member or loved one can levy false accusations of domestic violence—even if they have no real proof to substantiate their claim. Further, such allegations can be brought quite easily through the following actions:
Calling the police
Filing a false report with the court
Saying something to one’s lawyer or the judge during a legal proceeding
Once such an accusation is made against you—regardless of whether it is substantiated—the judge involved in your divorce is likely to issue an emergency protection order. Such an order usually means that you will need to leave your family home (if you are still residing there with your accuser) and avoid all contact with that person.
Having such an order issued against you can have a significant effect on your ongoing divorce or custody proceedings, and a domestic violence conviction can upend your future.
Divorce and custody battles are difficult enough, but if your divorcing spouse has resorted to bringing false claims of domestic abuse, your future could be on the line. You need a Florence divorce lawyer committed to protecting your rights and good name. Contact a divorce lawyer for more information today.
The Most Successful Defenses Against Domestic Violence in Texas
Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, your criminal attorney may use one of the following defense strategies to defend you against domestic violence charges in Texas.
The Accuser Is Lying
Unfortunately, many accusers lie in court about being assaulted by their spouse or intimate partner. It is not uncommon for innocent people to face false allegations of domestic violence, especially in the middle of a divorce or child custody case. Some “victims” use domestic violence to get the upper hand against the accused.
Texas courts take any allegations of domestic violence very seriously, which is why you can be arrested for allegedly assaulting your spouse or partner even when you caused them no harm.
If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence, it is critical to contact a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer will be able to prove that the victim is lying using several possible cues:
The accuser provided contradictory statements.
There are inconsistencies in the accuser’s story.
The accuser presented questionable evidence (or no evidence at all).
The accuser’s injuries do not support the story (this may require a medical evaluation).
The accused or accuser was at another location at the time of the alleged violence.
It Was an Accident
Sometimes, people may accidentally hurt their spouses or partners when they mean no harm. Under the Texas Penal Code, a person can be convicted of domestic violence when the person acted in any of these manners:
Thus, if you accidentally hurt your spouse or intimate partner and they accuse you of domestic violence, you may be able to successfully defend yourself. However, you should be represented by a skilled lawyer to help you prove that you had no intent to cause bodily injury to the accuser and that you did not behave recklessly. (“Is It Criminal Intent or an Honest Mistake?”)
I Was Defending Myself
You may be able to avoid a domestic violence conviction if your attorney can prove that you were acting in self-defense. To raise the self-defense justification, you are required to prove that the accuser posed an imminent danger and you felt the need to protect yourself.
However, your argument that you acted in self-defense may not be successful if your use of force was disproportional to the threat. For example, you may not be able to successfully argue that you were acting in self-defense if you punched your spouse in the face after he or she slapped you.
In addition, you are more likely to successfully argue that you were trying to defend yourself if you can prove that your spouse or partner was trying to provoke you.
Speak with a Florence Criminal Lawyer Today
If you are facing domestic violence charges in Texas, do not hesitate to speak with a knowledgeable criminal lawyer as soon as possible. Domestic violence allegations are taken seriously by Texas courts, which is why you must act quickly to build a strong and effective defense strategy.
Our Florence criminal lawyers at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard will investigate your situation to determine the best defenses available for your case. We understand that you are concerned about your future and your freedom. That’s why we are committed to fighting for your rights.
We are dedicated to providing comprehensive legal services and helping you explore your legal options. If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence or you otherwise do not agree with the allegations, you may be able to avoid a conviction. Schedule a FREE case review by calling (254) 781-4222 or contacting us online today.