What Are the Long-Term Effects of a Domestic Violence Charge in Texas?
Were you or a loved one charged with domestic assault in Texas? Here’s what you need to know about the long term consequences of a conviction.
If you or a family member face a charge of domestic violence or domestic assault in Texas, you should know about the consequences. Even long-term effects of a domestic violence charge can be serious, including the fact that a conviction may remain on your criminal record for the rest of your life.
You may have trouble finding work or attending school
Having a domestic violence conviction on your record can lead to many long-term consequences beyond the punishments or penalties ordered by the state. For instance, you may also have trouble finding work or employment after your conviction.
Many employers run background checks on prospective employees, and when these reveal criminal convictions for domestic assault, family violence or other criminal offenses, employment may be denied. Lying about having such a charge in your job application will only make matters worse.
You may also be denied potential employment based on the type of job that is available. If the job involves working with children, women or particularly vulnerable persons, employment may be denied to a person with a domestic violence record.
In addition, if you already hold a job and are a police officer, firefighter, pilot, health care worker, day care provider, teacher, military person, bus driver or city, county or state employee, you may have trouble holding onto your job after a domestic violence conviction.
A job which requires special licensing, security clearance or carrying a firearm for work may also be impossible to keep.
When facing a domestic assault charge, a series of court appearances requiring absences from work can also affect your job status at your current place of employment.
In addition, you also may lose opportunities for education due to having such a charge on your criminal record.
You may lose your gun and hunting license
If you own a gun or firearm, you may be required to sell your weapons or surrender them to police if you have a domestic violence conviction. Offenders may be forbidden from carrying a firearm for up to 5 years after completing a sentence for a domestic assault conviction in Texas.
The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution doesn’t protect your right to own a firearm if you’ve been convicted of a misdemeanor domestic assault or family violence charge.
This is due to a federal law, not a Texas law.
The Lautenberg Amendment, passed by Congress in 1996 (also known as the Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban), prohibits persons convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence from owning a firearm. It amends the Gun Control Act of 1968.
You also may be banned from obtaining a fishing or hunting license in Texas due to a domestic violence conviction.
You may have to move or be deported
One of the first things which may happen to you after a domestic violence charge and conviction is that you may lose your place to live. A judge may order that you vacate the premises where you currently live if that is also the home of the accuser, or alleged victim.
Not only that, but finding a new home may be difficult. Some landlords may refuse to rent to a person with a domestic violence conviction.
For those who aren’t permanent citizens of the United States, a domestic violence conviction could even lead to deportation as well as a denial of re-entry.
You may lose status in the community
If you are charged or convicted in a case of domestic violence, knowledge of this could cause a loss of status in your community. You may be shunned by friends, acquaintances, coworkers and neighbors with whom you come in contact.
Immediate effects of a domestic violence charge
A domestic assault charge in Texas can not only impact you in the long-term, but also in the short-term.
Even if you’ve been charged with domestic violence but not convicted, you can face immediate effects and consequences, including being sent to jail. Also, keep in mind that an arresting officer doesn’t need to have witnessed the event in order to arrest you.
Punishments and penalties for a Texas domestic violence conviction
If you are convicted of domestic violence in Texas, punishments can vary depending on the charge. The charge may be domestic assault or aggravated domestic assault (as described in Texas Penal Code Title 5, Chapter 22), or continuous violence against the family (as described in Chapter 25).
These charges range from a Class A misdemeanor to a first degree felony. Punishments and penalties can range from up to 1 year in jail for a lesser charge to 99 years in jail for a severe charge, and fines of up to $4,000 for some charges to as much as $10,000 for others.
Instead of jail or prison time, the court may order probation or community supervision for a period of time. The defendant must comply with all of the terms of the probation or community supervision — or risk being placed in jail. Community service and anger management counseling also may be required.
In addition, a judge may issue a protective order banning you from visiting the victim. Such a protective order in Texas can be valid for as long as 2 years and prohibit you from going near the place where the victim works, lives or attends school.
Lastly, a conviction for domestic assault can adversely affect any divorce or child custody proceedings in which you are involved.
Why hire an experienced Texas domestic assault defense lawyer
Many domestic assault charges occur after a victim accuses a defendant in the heat of a moment following an argument, but without an actual assault having occurred. In fact, according to SAVE (Stop Abusive and Violent Environments), one of every 10 persons accused of domestic violence, sexual assault or child abuse has been falsely accused.
As you can see, a domestic assault charge in Texas is a serious matter, which is why you should get the best domestic assault defense lawyer you can find. For cases in Houston, Harris County, Montgomery County or Fort Bend County, contact the Neal Davis Law Firm immediately. We’ll provide you with a legal review of your case. Then, you can decide how you wish to proceed.
Our law firm has fought to get domestic assault or family violence charges reduced or even dropped for our clients. Together, we can explore your options and protect your legal rights in the face of possible long-term effects from a domestic violence charge.