Austin Family Violence and Assault Lawyer
What can I do if I am charged with family violence (domestic violence) in Austin, Texas?
Being arrested for family violence (domestic violence) or assault can be a frightening experience. With over twenty-five years of practicing criminal defense in Austin, Travis County, Texas, we at Chambers & Associates are committed to providing the best possible representation to successfully defend you against a family violence charge.
With possible penalties of jail, fines, or probation, it is essential to find a law firm that can guide you through the dangers of the criminal justice system and who are committed to getting your family violence charge dismissed. Once released from jail you usually have two to three weeks before the first appearance in court. In that time it is important to secure legal representation as quickly as possible.
Why Chambers & Associates?
Chambers & Associates can assist you in preparing a strong defense and starting the process of gathering the evidence necessary to increase our chances of securing a dismissal. In many instances, we can keep you from having to attend the initial court dates in order to avoid conflicts with your work and hopefully reduce any stress associated with enduring the stigma of a criminal accusation. The State will most certainly use its resources to prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law. Chambers & Associates can serve as that buffer you need to protect you from the State’s desire to convict.
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WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU ARE CHARGED FOR FAMILY VIOLENCE IN AUSTIN, TEXAS?
Being charged with domestic violence
Once arrested, the arresting agency files a probable cause affidavit stating why the State should detain you for allegedly committing an act of family violence.
What happens when you go to court for domestic violence
You are then brought before a Judge who sets bail and informs you of what you have been charged with and the range of penalties for that charge. This is called magistration. It is important to note that the Judge who you first appear before will not be the Judge that hears your case. If you are charged with misdemeanor family violence, the case will be filed in county court most likely in County Court at Law #4. If you were charged with felony family violence, then the case could be filed in any of the district courts. Wherever the case is filed, you will have approximately two to three weeks before your first appearance in court. It is during this crucial period of time that you should be looking for an attorney to represent you.
What are the possible consequences of a family violence charge?
How serious is a domestic violence charge – domestic violence charges in Texas
A family violence assault charge is classified under the Texas Penal Code as a class A misdemeanor if it is a first offense and is punishable up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $4000. The State could also seek to place you on probation which is a form of court-ordered supervision that can typically extend up to two years. Besides jail, probation, and a fine, a conviction can also prohibit you from owning firearms and may result in a felony being filed against you if you are ever charged again with a family violence assault. If you have had a previous conviction for family violence, then the State may elect to enhance your charge to a felony of the third degree which is punishable up to 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
How to get a family violence assault dismissed?
(how to get domestic violence charges dismissed/dropped)
The State considers a family violence assault to be a very serious charge and prosecutors are reluctant to drop this type of case even when the evidence does not support a conviction. It is important to gather evidence including witness statements and possibly even a statement from the alleged victim if cooperative. Using these statements and other evidence we can confer with the State to determine if there is any opportunity to secure a dismissal of the family violence charge without the necessity of going to trial. The State in most instances considers the feelings and wishes of the alleged victim and, if it is at all possible and the alleged victim is cooperative, we should attempt to obtain an affidavit from the alleged victim stating his/her intention not to prosecute. Such an affidavit of non-prosecution could help us get the case dropped.
What is family violence?
In Texas family violence is an assault against a member of the family or household or even a current or past dating partner as defined by the Texas Family Code. An assault in turn is defined by the Texas Penal Code as intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another. It is important to note that bodily injury under Texas law has an expansive interpretation. It not only includes acts that cause readily visible injuries but also injuries that merely result in pain or discomfort. To illustrate, you can be charged for family violence by merely pushing another family or household member if that results in pain or discomfort to that family member without having to show visible injuries resulted. In conclusion, any physical encounter with a family or household member or dating partner can conceivably end in your arrest.
What happens when you press charges for domestic violence?
Sometimes we are asked how can someone press charges against their spouse, significant other, etc. This is in response to a tough patch in their relationship and people are looking for an easy answer.
However, when you involve the police you lose all control over the situation. Now your relationship problems have become a criminal matter and is now The State of Texas v. Husband/Wife/Girlfriend/Boyfriend. What you thought was an easy solution can easily turn into an unpredictable nightmare. The practical advice we give might just be to seek some sort of counseling or therapy. In some situations the best solution is to solve the problem as a couple and work through your difficulties. Of course, if this is a situation of true violence do not hesitate to contact the proper authorities.