Posted on

What To Know If You’re Charged With A Family Violence Crime in Texas

Charged with Family Violence

In Texas, a Family Violence misdemeanor is one of the more severe crimes you can be charged with. Aside from the illegal nature of the crime, they can cause physical and emotional damage to everyone involved. Texas has a unique way of handling crimes related to family violence. 

Texas laws on family violence

Family violence is considered any assault against a relative or member of your household and is classified as a misdemeanor. It includes any violence that results in bodily injury or physical harm, including physical and sexual assault. Texas laws also classify situations that place family members in fear of imminent physical harm or bodily injury under the category of family violence.  This applies to all domestic cases except for in instances of self-defense. To be considered assault, the crime must have intent, meaning that the offender knowingly and recklessly caused bodily injury to a person. 

Additionally, Texas law has specific mandates that require offenders to stay away from their home and children following an assault. If you are charged, it is incredibly unwise to violate that protective order, even if you are told by the family member that they will drop the charges. In Texas, victims of assault cannot decide to drop charges or dismiss the case once the police are involved. Only the district attorney has the power to dismiss your case. That is why it is essential to have a defense attorney on your side to help you manage your situation. 

What to expect if charged with a family violence crime

When a criminal complaint is made after an assault, the system moves relatively quickly. Once the victim makes a statement to law enforcement, the charges are sent to a prosecutor for review. This can result in a warrant to arrest the defendant. 

Once the court date is set, you will have to appear in front of a judge while they explain the charges and set initial bail. Depending on the circumstances of the case, you may still be detained after bail is posted. If there is enough evidence to go to trial, you will have to attend a pretrial hearing. Then you will need to work with your attorney to either come to an agreement on a plea or face going to trial. 

First-time offenders, if convicted with assault against a family or household member, can be subject to up to a year in prison and a fine of up to $4,000. This conviction can also come with lifelong implications and affect your ability to own a weapon, employment eligibility, child visitation, and immigration status. 

If you’re charged with a family violence crime, consult an attorney before making any decisions. Don’t agree to a plea without speaking to an attorney first. Don’t rely on the internet to learn about the possible implications of your case. Every situation is different, and your best course of action is to hire a qualified Houston criminal defense attorney. If you are facing a family violence charge in Houston, call Christoper T. Gore to learn more about how he can represent your case and help you move forward. 

Posted on

What to do if you’re charged with assault in Texas

Handcuffed Arrested on Assault Charges

Being accused of assault in Texas is a serious crime that can come with many severe consequences. When you’re arrested on assault charges, it’s essential to know what to expect and how the legal process will play out. There are a few things you can do to prepare yourself for what’s to come. 

What to know prior to appearing before a judge 

If you’ve been arrested, you’ll likely need to appear before a judge or magistrate within 48 hours of your arrest. They will inform you of your rights, including your right to an attorney and your right to remain silent. Ideally, you should obtain a lawyer before this meeting so that they can speak on your behalf and explain the proceedings to you. 

During this time it’s essential not to make any statements or say anything that would later be used against you or incriminate you further. At this meeting, your court date will be set by the judge. 

What to expect at arraignment

Your arraignment is the first time you’ll appear in court after the official charges have been filed. At this point, you should have determined with your attorney whether or not you will plead guilty, or if your attorney will negotiate a plea agreement on your behalf. If you and your attorney are unable to negotiate a plea, then the case will continue to trial. 

Preparing for the trial 

The way your trial is organized will vary based on the level of your assault charge. Depending on the circumstances of the situation, you will be charged with either a felony or a misdemeanor. Instances of misdemeanor assault include offensive physical contact, assault on a sporting participant, or causing bodily injury to someone. Some examples of felony assault charges include assault on a family member, assault while intoxicated and aggravated assault with a weapon. 

Misdemeanor cases usually include a jury of 6 people, while felony cases have twelve jurors. It’s the prosecution’s job to try and prove to the jury that you are guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. 

If the jury finds you guilty and you are convicted of assault, your sentencing depends on the specific charges and the severity of the assault. If found guilty of a misdemeanor assault, you could face up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000. If you’re convicted of a felony assault, the punishment can range from five to ten years in prison and a fine up to $10,000. 

Navigating your charges, trial, and possible defense requires help from an experienced lawyer who is familiar with Houston laws and has handled similar cases. It’s important not to rely on the internet or other unreliable advice to know what to do during this time. Using an attorney will give you a better chance of having the charges dropped or reduced. 

If you’ve been arrested on assault charges, contact experienced Houston criminal defense attorney Christopher T. Gore to learn more about how he can help represent you in court. 

Posted on

What To Do When You’re Charged with Domestic Violence

wedding ring

If you have been charged with a domestic violence offense, it’s important to know what will happen next and how your behavior and reaction could affect your future.  In cases like these, there is a certain protocol that you should follow in order to not cause further damage or escalate the situation even more.

According to Texas Law, domestic violence is referred to as both “domestic violence” and “family violence.” Domestic violence, under these laws, means an assault took place against a member of the household, family member or current (or past) partner. In Texas, these laws not only apply to spouses, but to other people living in the same household as well as people you are related to through blood or affinity.  This includes foster and children, and unmarried couples in a “dating” relationship.

Under accordance of Texas law, you can be charged with domestic violence if you intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly, cause bodily injury to another person, threaten another person with an injury or create physical contact with another person that is seen as provocative or offensive.

There are a few things you need to keep in mind, after being charged with a domestic assault, that will alleviate additional trouble you could face in the future.

Here is what NOT to do when dealing with a domestic violence arrest.

Do not attempt to explain your side of the story without a lawyer present. You may feel compelled to explain the situation to the police, but this is against your best interests. A police officer might tell you that you can straighten this out together, but under no circumstances should you meet with the police without a lawyer present.

If asked to explain or describe the situation, simply say “No, I don’t have anything to share at this time,” and contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

Avoid all communication with the person or people involved in the conflict since they, or the police, may be able to use anything you say at this time against you in court. It is definitely not the time to make threatening or harassing comments. Your best course of action is to remain quiet until you have a chance to speak with a lawyer.

If the incident involved a person or people that you live with, be prepared to find a new place to stay at least for the duration of the case.

Don’t talk to witnesses or anyone else involved in the incident. Despite your intentions, this can be seen as witness tampering or harassment and will escalate the situation further in the eyes of the law. Don’t ask witnesses to talk to the police for you. The best thing to do is to talk candidly with your lawyer about the best course of action moving forward.

Avoid making excuses or creating a “yeah, but…” defense. For example, saying “yeah but she hit me first” is not in your best interest in this situation.

Domestic violence charges are very serious in the eyes of Texas law and can have a big impact on your life. It’s important not to take these charges lightly, or assume that if you ignore them they will just go away. Get in touch with an attorney as soon as you can to learn about your options and to inform yourself of how to proceed on moving forward with the case and with your life.