Were you arrested for domestic violence charges? Read these 3 domestic violence tips to learn what you need to immediately do. Call our San Antonio office.
1. Arrested for Domestic Violence
In Texas, if you’re charged with domestic violence or family violence, the one thing you need to know is that you have to fight the charge. In Texas, family violence has a lot of different ramifications. If you’re ever charged at any point in the future with another family violence case, it becomes a felony. That means that on a second charge, you end up getting arrested; it’s called a felony arrest. The officers may pull their guns on you. They may take you down, throw you on the ground and handcuff you; all that’s possible. The other thing that’s possible if you’re charged with a felony family violence, because it’s your second charge, is you can end up serving up to 10 years in prison, so it’s really important to avoid that family violence conviction.
The other thing that happens if you’re charged with a family violence offense is, if you are convicted, you cannot possess a weapon under federal law for the rest of your life. That’s important to a lot of people, and so you need to avoid that conviction. In fact, you even need to avoid a deferred adjudication on that family violence charge.
In Texas, a family violence charge can also be somebody that you’ve never had a dating relationship with, somebody that you did not have a marriage with, or somebody that’s not even a family member. It can be somebody that you just cohabitated with, and that’s real important to know. If you’re cohabitated with somebody, living with somebody, but you’re not dating, you can still be charged with family violence. In those circumstances, under federal law, you would not be prevented from possessing a weapon because a federal statute provides dating relationships, family members, or spouses.
On a family violence case, the person that may have been injured, will want to drop charges. That doesn’t mean the state will drop the charges. What happens in a family violence case is the state picks up the case. It becomes theirs; it is no longer the victim’s. The fact that the person may want to drop these charges doesn’t mean it will get dropped. In all likelihood, we’ll still have to vigorously fight the case.
2. Defending Domestic Violence Charges
In Texas, when I have somebody come into the office with a family violence charge, there are some questions that I’ll always ask. One is, who called the police? Was it a neighbor? Was it the alleged victim? Did you call the police? That all plays a role in evaluating the case. The other thing I want to know is, were there any visible injuries to the complainant? Another thing I want to know is, are there any pictures of the complainant? Maybe one of the most important things is, does the complainant want to prosecute you?
If someone comes in and they’re the ones that called the police and there were no visible injuries, and the person wants to drop the charges, that’s probably the best fact situation you can have in fighting one of these cases. It doesn’t mean it’ll go away, but those are probably the best facts. What I usually do is talk to the client, figure out what’s going on, and I tell them I don’t want to go into any great detail at this point. I also don’t want to talk to the complainant at this point. What I want to do is collect from the state all their evidence, including videos, police reports, statements that were made. I want to look at that before I talk to witnesses, before I talk to the complainant, because I kind of want to see what’s going on, and how the story has changed. If the complainant wants to drop the charges, very often I’ll ask somebody else to be in the room when I interview the person in case that person changes their mind or changes their story. I want somebody to be able to back up what was said to me.
In most cases, there is a strategy that will vary, but there are some common themes including trying to figure out how strong or weak the case is before we start interviewing and talking to everybody and seeing what evidence the police have.
3. Dropping Domestic Violence Charges
In Texas, the person that’s alleged to have been assaulted in a family violence case can take an affidavit of non-prosecution to the police station, but it is not their choice whether to drop the case. Once a case is filed, it becomes the state’s case. In most cases, I do not have a client have somebody come in to give a non-prosecution affidavit right away, even if they want to. I want to look and see what evidence is out there. I want to see what the state is saying happened. If the person still wants to come in and talk to me, I’ll have them come in and have them describe to me what happened, and what statement they want to make.
I also do not make just a basic non-prosecution affidavit. If they can add some facts to give it some more meat, that helps my client and if they’re confident that what they’re saying is truthful, I will have them add some additional facts. An example might be that the complainant, the person that was allegedly injured, started the altercation. If they’re adamant that’s what happened, we put it in the affidavit.
Were you or a loved one accused of a crime and have questions about our 3 domestic violence tips? Contact a San Antonio criminal attorney at Rush & Gransee today for a consultation on your case and all of your potential defenses. Let our experience work for you.