Have you been falsely accused of domestic assault, also known as family violence?
If so, you’re not alone.
According to Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), 10 percent of persons accused of domestic violence, child abuse or sexual assault have been falsely accused.
Sometimes this happens when a family argument heats up so much that one person calls police and claims that another person was violent. When that happens, the accused person can be arrested immediately and charged with domestic assault. The accused person then could wind up going to prison.
In some cases, the person who calls the police and accuses another family member of domestic violence has a change of heart and asks that the charges be dropped.
But in almost every case, this doesn’t happen.
That’s because a private citizen or spouse cannot drop a criminal charge filed by the state. Only prosecutors can do that, and often they refuse in order to protect persons who may have been bullied into making such a request. Thus, the investigation continues.
While many claims of family violence are true, those that aren’t can cause great harm to a family — even if the alleged victim later recants.
That’s why it’s vital for anyone in Houston, Harris County, Fort Bend County or Montgomery County who’s been falsely accused of domestic violence quickly engage an experienced domestic violence lawyer to handle the case.
Otherwise, what began as simply a loud argument could cause prolonged legal battle leading to prison, fines and other hardships.
Texas domestic violence law
Whether the claim involves child abuse, elder abuse or abuse of a spouse or domestic partner, proper legal action must be taken to protect the legal rights of those accused.
After all, Texas domestic violence laws are severe. Such laws recognize three different forms of domestic violence:
- Domestic assault. Domestic assault is considered a Class A misdemeanor if the defendant has no previous convictions for domestic assault.
- Aggravated domestic assault. If serious bodily injury occurs, or if deadly weapons are used to cause serious bodily injury, that constitutes aggravated domestic assault and is considered a first degree felony. Aggravated domestic assaults without weapons are second degree felonies, while choking the victim is a third degree felony.
- Continuous violence against a family. As a third degree felony, continuous violence against a family in Texas involves two domestic assaults against a family within one year. These assaults don’t have to be against the same person.
When violence is committed against a family member or member of a household, and causes bodily harm, that constitutes domestic assault. Victims can include a spouse or former spouse as well as the children of a spouse or former spouse.
How serious are family violence charges in Texas?
If convicted, a person charged with a first degree felony for domestic violence can face a prison sentence of 5 to 99 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
For a second degree felony of domestic violence, Texas family violence punishments are 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
For a third degree felony of domestic violence, Texas penalties are 2 to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
For a Class A misdemeanor of domestic violence, the punishment is up to one year in jail or a fine of up to $4,000, or both.
Whether a domestic violence assault charge is based on fact or fiction, it’s a serious matter. Contact the Neal Davis Law Firm today and get a legal review of your case by an experienced Houston domestic assault defense attorney.