No close family relationships are exempt from periods of turbulence — angry words or shouts, slammed doors, one person leaving the home in a huff, intimates refusing to speak to one another. When arguments or misunderstandings escalate into violence or threats of violence, however, or when one party abuses the other (with or without provocation), the domestic situation becomes a crime. In Texas, the alleged offender can be charged with Assault Family Violence, often referred to as domestic violence or domestic abuse.
If you have been accused of, or charged with, this offense, it is critical that you consult with a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney because a conviction for this crime will not only result in harsh legal penalties and a damaged reputation, it will also remain on your record for the remainder of your life. If you reside in Houston or the surrounding area, you should reach out to Ceja Law Firm PLLC, a premier criminal defense practice.
What Our Houston Domestic Violence Attorney Can Do For You
If you have been arrested for domestic violence, you probably feel emotionally destabilized, confused about how to proceed, and frightened about your future. The sudden realization that your close relationships, your finances, and your freedom may all be in jeopardy turns your life upside down. Fortunately for you, our lead attorney, Jose Ceja, has been recognized as a “Top 100 Trial Lawyer” by the National Trial Lawyers Association and has earned a perfect 10.0 rating by Avvo. He is eminently qualified to guide you through the criminal justice system and provide you with the very best outcome.
Among the tasks he will take over for you are: translating legalese into understandable terms, filing all necessary paperwork in a timely fashion, being available and responsive when you have questions or concerns, examining pertinent police records, interviewing witnesses, and, most importantly, making all necessary court appearances and defending you forcefully during trial. From the beginning, he will work diligently to get the charges against you dismissed by skillfully negotiating with the prosecution. If your case goes to court, he will commit himself to use all his legal prowess to win you an acquittal.
Who Can Lodge a Domestic Violence Charge Against You?
While the term “domestic violence” usually brings to mind a situation involving a husband and wife, in fact, a domestic violence charge can be initiated by any one of the following:
- Family member by blood, marriage, or adoption
- Member of the accused’s household
- Anyone with whom the accused has a child or children
- Current or former spouse
- Current or former romantic partner
- Current or former person dated for a period of time
- Foster child or a foster parent
- Child of a former spouse or partner
It is important to note that the law also includes non-relatives with whom you live, such as roommates, in this list.
Types of Domestic Abuse in Texas
Texas recognizes three types of domestic violence: domestic assault, aggravated domestic assault and continuous violence against the family. If the defendant is convicted of more than one incident of violence during 1 year, he or she will be charged with continuous family violence. Aggravated assault typically means there is a lethal weapon involved.
There needn’t be an actual physical assault for an individual to be charged with domestic violence in Texas. The following may lead to arrest:
- Threats of physical harm (with or without a lethal weapon)
- Actual physical assaults (with or without a lethal weapon)
- Emotional abuse
- Threatening calls, texts or emails
- Causing disturbances at the other person’s workplace
- Physical contact that the offender knew, or should have known, would be offensive or provocative to the other party
In fact, committing any action that puts the plaintiff in fear of his or her life or well-being is considered cause for arrest and prosecution.
Factors that Make Your Situation Worse
Although Assault Family Violence is usually a misdemeanor in Texas, the following factors may result in felony charges:
- Past history of domestic violence or other violent acts
- Serious injuries to the plaintiff
- Allegation of suffocation or strangulation
- Relationship to the plaintiff
- Threatening or assaulting the other party with a weapon
One prior assault conviction on your record, for example, will mean that the offense is charged as a third-degree felony.
There are, of course, also extenuating circumstances that may lighten the charges. You can be sure that Mr. Ceja will study the specifics of your case thoroughly and develop a strategy that puts you in the best possible light, using defense tactics that have earned him his well-deserved reputation as a tough, successful litigator.
Penalties for Domestic Violence in Houston, Texas
Penalties for domestic violence differ from state to state. In Texas, such penalties vary on a case-by-case basis. At one end of the spectrum, we have a threat of bodily injury — a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine. At the other, we have an assault with a deadly weapon — a first-degree felony. This offense can result in a $10,000 fine and as many as 99 years in state prison.
Depending on the nature of the offense, if convicted of domestic violence you may also be required to pay court costs, probations costs and costs for a domestic violence shelter. You may also have to pay for court-ordered counseling for yourself and the plaintiff.
If you are charged with family violence, a protective order may be filed against you, meaning that you will be prohibited from contacting the complainant and from going too close to his or her home or workplace. You should be aware that if you fail to obey a protective order, your bond could be revoked and you could be taken back into custody.
Contact Our Houston Domestic Violence Lawyer Today
At Ceja Law, we take the principle that you are innocent until proven guilty. Mr. Ceja will fight doggedly to defend you, using tried and true defenses or innovative ones created for your particular case. Some possible defenses for domestic violence are:
- No offense occurred
- Injury to the plaintiff was unintentional
- Lack of knowledge (the defendant suffers from PTSD or some other medical or psychiatric disorder and was therefore unaware of what was occurring at the time of the incident)
Whatever defense Mr. Ceja uses, you can trust that it will be the most effective one for your particular case. As an accomplished domestic violence attorney, he knows precisely which legal tool to use and when. He is as dedicated as he is capable. If you have been arrested for domestic violence, be proactive: contact Ceja Law. The sooner Jose Ceja is on the case, the safer you will be. Get in touch with us as soon as possible so we can begin by filling out the contact form or giving us call for a FREE consultation.