Here are the answers to some questions we are asked on a regular basis.
Does an Austin domestic violence lawyer represent the person accused of domestic violence or the alleged victim?
We represent anyone that is accused of committing domestic violence. Domestic violence can be against a spouse or girlfriend, a relative, or even a roommate, if they had any complaint of pain. We are criminal defense lawyers and can ensure that your rights are protected.
I accidentally hurt my spouse. Can I still be charged with domestic or family violence?
Yes, if the prosecutor believes that you were acting recklessly and that caused the harm, you could be charged. For example, if you were fighting and began to throw furniture that accidentally hit your spouse, the act of throwing the furniture is what the prosecution will focus on, even though the accident was that it made contact. As an Austin domestic violence lawyer, our job is to approach it from the opposite perspective in order to demonstrate that your acts were not intentional and that you were in no way planning to hurt someone.
Is self-defense a good legal defense for a family violence charge?
Absolutely. Every individual has a right to defend themselves from being harmed. If you were merely defending yourself or one of your children, then the injuries to your accuser can be seen in a totally different light. We can begin to investigate what happened and gather evidence that could help to demonstrate your version of the story. If a jury believes that you or your children were in danger, it makes it very hard for them to find you guilty at trial.
Can I be convicted of family violence if I didn't know my behavior was considered unlawful?
It could. Discipline is a long held tradition in Texas, but there is a fine line between using corporal punishment or spanking as a corrective child-rearing measure and acting out of anger. Many people are raised in families or in cultures where a little roughness with your spouse or girlfriend is acceptable. By enacting laws, society has decided that these behaviors are no longer acceptable, any more than if you caused pain to a complete stranger. Most juries will base their decisions upon what they feel is reasonable behavior under the circumstances, whether you realize it is unlawful or not.
Will I go to jail if convicted of domestic violence?
That depends largely on what level of crime you are charged with. As with many other charges, the penalties escalate as you go from your first to second conviction. While a first family violence charge is a class A misdemeanor, a second charge immediately becomes a felony. If there is an allegation of strangulation the charges are a felony even if it is your first charge ever. In many cases, our clients avoid jail time by engaging in classes or counseling to demonstrate to the court and prosecutor that they take the situation seriously and want to learn how to grow as individuals.
What factors influence potential penalties or charges?
The most important factor is your criminal history, if any. Family violence convictions come with a special finding by the court that you committed family violence. Even if you complete a deferred adjudication probation and weren't convicted, the court can still make the family violence finding. Prosecutors use these prior findings to enhance cases from misdemeanor to felony charges.
How can an Austin domestic violence lawyer help me?
A lawyer experienced in family violence cases can be your best friend when you are facing charges. Initially, the attorney can quickly begin the process of securing a personal bond, which can be difficult even when the alleged victim doesn't even want you in jail. There are a host of safeguards built into the court system that can make life difficult while on bond. Your attorney can help guide you through the confusion and ensure that your rights are protected. Your lawyer will also ensure that your side of the story is told. Many family violence cases are the product of arguments rooted in money, jealousy or alcohol, and often both parties bear some of the responsibility.
Should I take a plea bargain?
This question alone is why you should hire an experienced Austin family violence lawyer. We are familiar with the family violence judge and prosecutors because we are there virtually every week. We collect the evidence in your case to gain a good indication of whether a jury trial would be successful or not. Some plea agreements can be worth taking if the risk of a higher penalty at trial is more likely. In every case, we use our experience and understanding of the law to help you make intelligent decisions.
Call our on-call attorney now to discuss your case.
No matter how complex your charges may seem, you can have peace of mind knowing our legal team is behind you. You aren’t in this battle alone. Get our Austin criminal attorneys on your side today.