Charged with Domestic or Family Violence in Fort Worth, TX / Tarrant County? We Can Help
Are you or someone you know facing a family violence charge after a dispute or altercation in Fort Worth, Arlington, or a surrounding city? If so, you need an experienced Fort Worth Domestic Violence Lawyer to fight on your behalf.
Texas Penal Code §22.01 states that a person commits the misdemeanor offense of assault if the person: (1) Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse.
Under Texas law, you can be charged with assault and family violence if the altercation involves siblings, a spouse, a parent, a dating partner, or any member of the household. An Assault-Family Violence conviction in Fort Worth has serious consequences.
For example, if you are convicted of family violence, you are not allowed to carry a firearm. In addition, you cannot request a non-disclosure (sealing of your record) with a family violence conviction.
What are the Possible Punishments for a Domestic Violence Conviction?
The punishment range for an Assault-Family Violence charge is up to one year in the county jail and up to a $4,000 fine. If you have been previously convicted of Assault-Family Violence, the punishment range is increased to a third-degree felony, and you are facing 2-10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Can Domestic Violence Attorneys Have My Case Automatically Dismissed if the Alleged Victim Does Not Want to Prosecute?
Many people facing domestic violence charges in Fort Worth, Arlington, and surrounding cities ask whether their case will be dismissed if their spouse or other family member does not want to prosecute. The short answer is that once a case is filed by the police with the District Attorney’s Office, the decision is out of the alleged victim’s control.
Typically, the situation starts with a 911 call that brings the police to the scene to assess the situation. If the responding police believe the elements of an assault occurred, at least one person will be arrested and taken to jail. The police officer will then file a case with the District Attorney’s Office.
Who Decides Whether to Pursue a Criminal Charge?
The District Attorney’s Office will decide whether to accept the case. If they do accept the case, the decision about how to prosecute the accused person is generally out of the alleged victim’s hands. Whether the case will be dismissed is now up to the prosecutor who is assigned the case.
Most prosecutors have implemented a “No Drop” policy, which is intended to protect victims of domestic violence. The prosecutor will try to contact the alleged victim and will discuss the case with the alleged victim, but ultimately, it is the prosecutor’s decision whether to dismiss the case when the proceedings have reached this point
Assault crimes are categorized as violent crimes that, many times, carry devastating consequences. If you are convicted of a domestic assault charge, it may be extremely hard to find a job because the violent criminal conviction could remain on your record for the rest of your life.
Domestic Assault Cases Do Not Always Involve Family Members
Heated arguments can sometimes occur between people who live together, whether they’re family or not. Money issues, stress, and simply being around someone for a long time can lead to an increase in irritation that boils over into an argument where the police are called.
Going too far in these arguments comes with real-world consequences, especially if you are convicted of domestic assault. Because Texas has made some procedural changes regarding the nature of the relationship required between the defendant and the victim, you could find yourself in some serious legal trouble.
Here’s what you need to know about domestic violence in Fort Worth and how these laws could impact your case.
Texas Domestic Assault
Family violence in Texas is governed by the Texas assault statutes. These cases involve violence between family members, those who live in the same household, and those in a romantic relationship. Because of these relationships, there can be additional restrictions or penalties when the case goes to court.
In Texas, simple assault is characterized as intentionally, recklessly, or knowingly causing harm to another, threatening another with bodily harm, or making physical contact with another person that they would find offensive or provocative.
Aggravated assault can be charged if simple assault is committed and there is serious bodily injury or a deadly weapon was used or shown to the victim during the commission of the crime.
Domestic Assault Involving Family or Household Members in Fort Worth
The relationship between the people involved in the case can also increase the charges. For example, it can raise what would have been a misdemeanor charge to a felony or raise felony charges to a more severe felony.
In Texas, family violence is defined as violence between those related by affinity (such as marriage) or blood, including:
- Parents of a child
- Former spouse’s children
- Foster children
- Adopted children
- Foster parents
- Uncles and Aunts
Texas family code also includes people who live in the same dwelling, whether they are related or not, as well as any person who lived in the household previously.
Courts Can Consider the Nature of the Relationship Involved
This recently passed bill from the Texas State Senate changes the type of evidence that can be introduced into a case when the defendant and victim are related or considered related under the domestic assault laws, such as people who have shared a dwelling but are not related.
In effect, the court is now allowed to consider the nature of the relationship between the defendant and the victim as evidence to help paint a bigger picture of the cause behind the alleged crime.
Previously, this law only applied in cases of domestic violence. Now, each party in criminal cases can submit this type of evidence.
Penalties for Assault in Fort Worth
Additionally, the new law can increase the penalty for committing assault. For example, in the state, simple assault is considered a Class A misdemeanor, but committing assault against a family member or someone in the household is a felony in the third degree.
A Class A misdemeanor can be punished by as much as one year in jail and fines of $1,000. A conviction for third-degree felony assault is punishable by as much as ten years in prison and fines of $10,000.
How a Domestic Violence Lawyer Can Help When You Are Facing a Family Violence Charge
Domestic violence is an incredibly pervasive problem in the State of Texas, but if we ever want to truly stamp it out, it’s going to take more than putting offenders behind bars. We have to get to the root of the problem and work to treat behaviors that, in some cases, may have gone on for generations or be due to uncontrolled personal factors.
If you have been charged with domestic violence, an experienced Fort Worth domestic violence defense attorney may be able to request the court to reduce your charges, drop them, or dismiss them by arguing that you need help, not punishment.
An experienced Fort Worth criminal defense attorney who has handled domestic violence cases in the past will be aware of the many different reasons that lead people to act out and will know what to argue to increase your chances of being admitted into a treatment program rather than put behind bars. Reach out today for a free consultation and learn about the options available in your case.
Trust the Dedicated Family Violence Lawyers at Fulgham Law Firm to Help You Receive a Fair Outcome
If you have been arrested and charged with assault-domestic violence in Fort Worth, Arlington, or surrounding cities, you need an aggressive and knowledgeable Fort Worth family violence defense lawyer on your side. Whether you have been charged with a misdemeanor assault-domestic violence or felony assault-family violence, a conviction could carry the possibility of jail time. At Fulgham Hampton Criminal Defense Attorneys, our goal is to prevent jail time and to help you clear your record.
At Fulgham Hampton Criminal Defense Attorneys, we offer a Fort Worth criminal defense practice focused on passionately defending people who have been accused of various crimes, including family violence. Contact our Fort Worth office now at 817-877-3030 for a free and confidential consultation with an experienced Fort Worth domestic violence attorney.
Call us right now to get help
We’ve helped hundreds of people in Texas, and we can help you, too. Contact us for a free consultation with our dedicated legal team to help you decide what to do next. Fulgham Hampton Criminal Defense Attorneys serves Fort Worth and Tarrant County areas.
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