Domestic violence cases are basically any cases involving violence between two people that live together or share a child together, regardless of their current relationship. The only requirement is that you do have to live with the person for a certain period of time for charges to be considered domestic violence.
Oftentimes, domestic violence charges do involve physical violence. When that is the case, I represent the person who is being accused of committing the act of domestic violence. The state of Texas represents the individual that’s making the allegations of violence/abuse. So, I exclusively represent people charged with the crime of domestic violence.
In Texas, the charges you may face in a domestic violence case depend on the details of the case itself.
For example, you could be charged with what is called “assault, bodily injury on a family member”, which is a misdemeanor charge. Again, in a domestic violence context, the family member definition is kind of broad but does have specific delineations. In the vast majority of cases, we are referring to violence between spouses or cohabitating romantic/sexual partners. This partnership does not have to be heterosexual: same-sex partners are extended the same protections. Domestic violence cases can also extend to biological or by-marriage family members, so long as you’re living in the same house. I frequently see “assault, family violence”, when the actual charge is “assault, causing bodily injury of a family member”. This can apply to a very wide range of circumstances. For example, it can be siblings fighting, or a parent and child.
There’s also the charge in Texas of “assault, bodily injury strangulation”, which is a more serious charge, as it is classified as a felony. Basically, in layman’s terms, what “assault, bodily injury strangulation” means is that somebody said that you choked them. So, if there’s an allegation that you choked an individual, that’s a felony charge, even if you’ve never been accused of anything before.
In addition, like other criminal charges, domestic violence/family violence charges are affected by whether or not you have priors. For example, if you have been charged with two misdemeanor incidences of family violence within a 12-month period, that bumps up the charge to a felony.
Orders of Protection are frequently put in place when domestic violence charges are filed in Texas. When the alleged domestic violence assailant is taken to jail and arraigned, whether the victim wants it or not, the police often put an Order of Protection in place.
They do this because often, victims of domestic violence do not want to press charges and do not want to press for protective orders, even if they may, in fact, need one. There are many reasons for this, which range from fear of retribution to being in denial about the abuse to many other circumstances and contexts that may lead to the same reticence to press charges/file for an Order of Protection.
Therefore, it’s become relatively common for judges to automatically issue a 60-to-90-day Order of Protection whenever domestic violence charges are filed, in order to keep the parties separate. This helps protect victims in the event that said victim is not being honest about what’s going on within the house.
While these automatic Orders of Protection do protect victims, they can also seriously impede and harm defendants if they are wrongly applied. As such, I work with people to get wrongful Orders of Protection removed quite a bit.
For example, if the spouse who is claiming that they were assaulted is willing to go back to court and tell the judge that they really don’t want the Order of Protection in place, and if there is truly no danger at the home, and no acts of physical violence, oftentimes, you can get a Court Order from a judge to remove the Order of Protection.
Even if an Order of Protection is put in place more or less automatically when you are charged with domestic violence, if you seek the help of an attorney, they can try to see if both parties want the Order modified, which happens frequently.
Generally speaking, you will still have access to your children if domestic violence charges were filed against you, so long as the children were not the actual victims of the alleged crime. If the charges only involve your former or current romantic partner, you should not necessarily lose access to your children. Rather, it’s the spouse that you’re normally restricted from being around.
However, if your children live with your spouse, issues may arise. The problem becomes, “My kids live with my spouse, and I am restricted from going near my spouse. What do I do now?”
In those cases, you have to figure out a way to meet with the kids without violating the Order of Protection or going near your spouse. Usually, there’s an independent third-party (what’s known as a “chaperone”) or a grandparent that can take the kids somewhere to let you see them. It can be uncomfortable for a while as we try to get the initial restraints lifted.
Generally speaking, though, unless you committed an act of domestic violence against your children, you should be able to get access to your kids. You just have to be a little creative in how that happens, at least for the initial phase of the investigation.
For more information on Domestic Violence Cases Handled In Texas, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (817) 877-0401 today.