Being arrested and charged with domestic violence can be a traumatic experience. In Texas, domestic violence is part of a criminal charge referred to as “family violence.” Under the Texas criminal code, family violence is an assault against a member of the accused’s household. This can be a spouse, child, or other individual who lives in the home.
The events that led to your arrest likely happened in a hurricane of emotions, and the arrest itself may have seemed like it happened in the blink of an eye, without the police or anyone else listening to your side of the story.
It is a difficult time, made more so by thinking about the possible consequences of a conviction. If you are wrongfully accused of domestic violence, you stand to lose much more than your reputation. A first-time conviction can result in a $4,000 fine or up to 12 months in jail. Additionally, you can permanently lose your right to own a firearm, have visitation with your children restricted, forfeit your professional license, and miss out on employment opportunities.
While you may be in a bad situation, you don’t want to do anything to make it worse and should take immediate action to protect yourself. If you’ve been arrested and charged with domestic violence, make sure you do these three crucial things to give yourself the best chance of a positive outcome:
- Call a criminal defense attorney immediately. It is critically important to speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after you have been arrested. Many people charged with domestic violence are under the mistaken impression that if their spouse “drops the charges” everything will be okay. The reality is that only prosecutors can decide whether to seek a conviction, and a “no drop policy” in many Texas counties means that prosecutors will pursue domestic violence cases without exception. Relying on that mistaken belief, or hoping that your spouse or significant other doesn’t show up is a foolish and risky decision that can lead directly to a conviction. Don’t leave your future to chance and call an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.
- Document your own injuries. It is not unusual for individuals accused of domestic violence to suffer their own injuries. In many cases, the individual being accused is actually the victim. When police arrive on the scene, they make assumptions that result in a wrongful arrest. “Defensive injuries” can include scratch marks, bite wounds, bruises, lacerations, and other injuries. Document your injuries by taking high-quality pictures at many different angles immediately after the incident. These photos can be invaluable in defending your case and fighting the charges against you.
- Follow the court’s order. In some domestic violence cases, the judge will enter an emergency protective order or a “no contact” order that may among other things prohibit you from calling, texting, emailing, or approaching the other person. You may also be barred from going to a home you share with the alleged victim, even if it is just to pick up some clothes or other personal items. Don not violate the court’s order, as doing so constitutes a separate criminal offense that could result in a large fine and up to a year in jail.
Mark Diaz & Associates – Experienced Texas Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers
When you have been charged with domestic violence, you need an experienced lawyer who focuses exclusively on defending criminal cases and who will aggressively protect your rights. Throughout my career, I have successfully handled every type of criminal defense case. More importantly, criminal defense is the only thing I do. I have witnessed firsthand how a criminal charge can negatively impact every area of a person’s life. As a lawyer, I consider it a privilege to help people during this stressful time in their lives. Call me today at (409) 515-6170 for a free consultation to discuss your case.