This is the first post in a series which will discuss the process of defending against domestic violence charges in Austin, Texas. I felt it necessary to write on this topic as many defendants are unsure of how to proceed when they find themselves in such a situation. It is important to understand that such charges will have a dramatic impact on your future. The goal of my coming posts is to provide information which will help people in our area understand what to expect from the process. It is also my hope that this information will also help the accused to make an informed decision when selecting a criminal defense attorney. If you have been arrested for assaulting your domestic partner then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
I will be addressing several topics over my coming articles. Issues which I will analyze include:
- What happens after one is arrested for family violence
- Defending yourself against false claims
- Claiming self-defense
- Your right to a jury trial
- Texas’ penalties for these types of cases
- The importance of taking an application for a protective order seriously
There are several reasons why defendants should understand these issues. First, some make the mistake of thinking that domestic assault is a “private matter” between two parties, and that the case can just go away if the alleged victim requests dismissal. The fact is, the prosecuting attorney’s office will decide whether to accept the case and go forward; they will take the alleged victim’s input but do not have to dismiss a case just because the alleged victim requests it. The prosecution can also decline to go forward if they can be convinced by an experienced defense attorney that the case lacks merit, despite the objections of the complainant. It is important to understand the first steps of what is a serious and complex process. Second, there may be no criminal charge which is more likely to be based on false allegations – particularly if it comes up in the context of a divorce – than that of family violence. Understanding how to deal with false allegations is crucial. Third, if one was not the primary aggressor then they may have a legitimate claim of self-defense. Fourth, knowing what to expect from the trial process will help to ensure that a defendant is prepared to go forward. Finally, understanding the consequences of such cases is important when weighing one’s options.
One point I cannot stress enough is that you should contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible if you or a loved one have been arrested. A conviction for domestic violence can result in a permanent criminal record, incarceration, and the loss of your ability to carry a firearm. I am certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization as a specialist in criminal law and I have handled many such cases. Contact my office today to speak with an Austin lawyer. I also handle cases in Rollingwood, Round Rock, Elgin, Jonestown, Manor, Bee Cave, Lago Vista, Sunset Valley, Lakeway, Creedmoor, Georgetown, Cedar Park, Leander, and San Marcos, Texas.