False accusations are on the rise, and a DV conviction carries harsh penalties
Domestic violence arrests skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, that means that false or exaggerated allegations of family violence and intimate partner abuse are up, too.
Too often, when a family disagrees, 911 gets called to "teach a lesson" to a spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend. The accuser thinks they will get their way by having their loved one "scared straight" by the police.
What accusers and alleged victims don't realize is that, when officers respond to domestic violence complaints, it is typically with the mindset to make an arrest. Whether it's the Conroe, Houston, The Woodlands, Cleveland, Kingwood, or another police agency, once someone is arrested on Texas domestic violence charges, the alleged victim cannot simply "drop" the charges.
You need an experienced domestic violence defense attorney to show prosecutors how weak the charges against you are and that it is in their best interest to reduce or drop the charges. If that's not possible, you will have to fight for the best outcome at trial.
Whether or not you hurt someone, fighting domestic violence accusations in Texas can be complicated. If you were charged with a domestic violence crime, it is important that you understand your options and what you're up against.
What does Texas consider domestic violence?
In general, Texas recognizes three types of domestic violence - domestic assault, aggravated domestic assault, and continuous violence against the family.
The state defines domestic violence as the intentional physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault of one family member or intimate partner against another. A threat that reasonably places a person in fear of imminent physical harm may also be considered domestic violence.
People involved in domestic violence situations are usually wives, husbands, unmarried couples, exes (ex-husbands, ex-wives, ex-girlfriends, ex-boyfriends, etc.), siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, foster and adoptive family, roommates, common-law spouses, parents, stepparents, and other family members.
Domestic violence penalties
The penalties for a domestic violence conviction are life-altering, even when the allegation only rises to a misdemeanor. Depending on past arrests and injury severity, those charged with domestic violence in Montgomery County typically face the following penalties:
- Class A misdemeanor: Up to $4,000 in fines and 1 year in jail.
- Third-degree felony: Up to $10,000 in fines, 2-10 years in prison.
- Second-degree felony: Up to $10,000 in fines, 2-20 years in prison.
- First-degree felony: Up to $10,000 in fines, 5-99 years in prison.
Other penalties may include:
- Financial restitution for things like the alleged victim's medical bills, counseling services, or to repair property damage.
- The temporary suspension of your right to possess firearms in Texas for up to 5 years. Keep in mind that while the firearm suspension is temporary under Texas law, it's permanent under federal law.
- A protective order, also known as a restraining order or "magistrate order of emergency protection," could be taken out against you if there is a seriously injured victim. In general, the order forbids contact with the alleged victim. It may mean you cannot go to school, work, or home if the accuser is there. An order of protection may be granted even when there are no charges.
Texas domestic violence defense strategy
In general, there are three domestic violence defenses:
- False accusations were made against you.
- Your actions were in self-defense.
- You were defending another person.
Being falsely accused of domestic violence is enough to make anyone angry. However, if you are accused of DV it is important that you keep calm. To help your case, you want to make the best impression on law enforcement possible.
Comply with law enforcement, but do not make statements or answer questions about the incident without a lawyer present. It is your right to remain silent on these events. Do not resist arrest or attempt to physically stop an officer. Do not raise your voice.
Talk to a criminal defense lawyer if you're up against DV charges
If you are facing domestic violence charges in Texas, or suspect they are forthcoming, do not delay in contacting a criminal defense attorney. You need to start protecting your freedom immediately.
At The Webb Firm, P.C., Texas criminal defense attorney Amanda Webb has an intimate understanding of the criminal justice system. That's because she started her career in the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office and knows what it takes to get DV charges reduced or dropped.
Discover what our law firm can do for you and contact us today for a free consultation with a highly skilled criminal defense attorney. Based in Conroe, we proudly serve Montgomery County and the surrounding area. A member of our team is available to hear from you 24/7. Don't delay—call us right now.