if you’re a criminal defense lawyer, then you’ve seen these types of cases a thousand times. Many states define domestic violence as a distinct crime so that a family member who acts violently against a significant other is charged with domestic violence instead of other crimes. Considering that suspects of family violence take advantage of the victim’s trust and confidence, prosecutors often push for a merciless sentence after the defendant is convicted of the crime.
As for law enforcement practices in Houston, TX, if you are arrested or charged with a domestic violence-related offense, you should know that the prosecutors can make it a felony charge. Family violence crimes can be a serious misdemeanor or felony, depending on the circumstances and nature of the crime. These two factors also influence the possible penalties. However, it is noteworthy that certain circumstances can elevate what seemed a less serious crime to a third-degree felony.
Being convicted of domestic violence or assault in Texas will likely leave you with a permanent stain on top of facing a number of severe consequences. You will have a permanent criminal record which has the potential to impact your employment opportunities and future educational opportunities negatively. The best advice we can give to person charged with such an offense is to hire a Houston criminal defense lawyer from Bennett & Bennett to get the truth about your legal options.
To give you a clear picture of what to expect, this article will discuss some of the possible penalties and consequences should be convicted of domestic violence.
Domestic Violence Penalties in Texas
Like most other cases, the penalties of domestic violence-related crimes depend on several factors, including the nature of allegations and the criminal history of the defendant. Considering that Texas is well-known for harsher sentences, the penalties of convictions in family violence can be very severe.
With that in mind, here are some possible penalties should you be convicted of domestic violence.
Criminal Penalty: Incarceration
Imprisonment is one of the most common forms of punishment and rehabilitation you can expect if you are sentenced for committing a felony. If you are convicted of a simple domestic assault, you will likely be confined in prison for one year. Defendants with domestic violence criminal records can be imprisoned for up to 10 years. A conviction for aggravated domestic assault, a first-degree felony, can carry a penalty of five years to life in prison, depending on resulting injuries and other factors.
Criminal Penalty: Fines
Upon conviction, a defendant may be ordered to pay a fine depending on the nature of the crime. A misdemeanor carries a fine of up to $4,000, while a felony carries a fine of up $10,000. The alleged offender might also have to pay possible recompense, fees, and other court costs.
Criminal Penalty: Probation
This is a more manageable form of punishment commonly known as community supervision. It means that the alleged offender continues to live in the community but with certain stipulations. Failure to meet these court requirements, the probation is nullified, and the defendant is imprisoned probably for the rest of their sentence.
Criminal Penalty: Forced Counseling
This is the least form of punishment you can expect if convicted of domestic violence or family assault. If you are convicted of a very simple domestic violence-related crime, you can be ordered to receive anger management counseling or other related services. Also, you may be required to provide for the counseling of the alleged victim.
The punishment that a defendant is sentenced to depends on the circumstances of individual cases. On top of the fines and prison time, being convicted of domestic violence can potentially ruin your reputations and create a notable barrier between you and opportunities. The most significant out-of-court side effects include loss of job and future employment opportunities, challenges in finding a partner, inability to obtain certain licenses, and difficulties in joining college.
Even without side effects, carrying the label “abuser” is a serious stigma by itself. The court may order you to cease contact with a spouse, a child, or other close relatives.
If convicted, you may also lose the right to bear arms regardless of the future instances that may force you to have one.
Bottom Line: Hire A Criminal Defense Lawyer
Any Houston criminal defense lawyer will tell you that domestic violence crimes can carry severe punishments. This is because there is a common misconception that domestic violence is considered criminal if the abusive act resulted in physical injury. The truth is that convictions in domestic violence charges can end in very harsh sentences. For this reason, it is important to work with a knowledgeable domestic violence defense lawyer should you be charged with family violence crimes.