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.