Arrested for Texas Family Violence? Essential First Steps
After Your Arrest
Being arrested for family violence is a stressful experience. It can feel like a violation of the privacy of your home life and as if the State doesn’t care about your side of the story. When facing family violence charges, your first steps are the most crucial. To help you navigate the initial stages of your family violence case, here are some essential first steps you should take after your arrest.
Think Before You Speak
Don’t plead guilty or no-contest before learning about your options and your rights. The State of Texas treats assault/family violence cases more seriously than assault cases. Even just one assault/family violence conviction on your record could cause you to lose custody of your children, your right to enter your home or even your job. A plea on an assault family case will come with an affirmative finding of family violence. What does this mean? It means that you will no longer be able to possess firearms without violating Federal law, you will never be able to erase or seal this case from the public record, and if you are ever accused of family violence in the future, even at the Class C level, the State can choose to enhance the case to a felony level charge! These cases are always worth fighting. In fact, it makes absolutely no sense not to fight a family violence case. But it’s essential you fully understand your rights before you make any decisions that may have lasting consequences.
Keep to Yourself
Stay clear of the victim and the victim’s family if the court ordered you to do so. The consequences of an assault/family violence charge often include an Emergency Protective Order (EPO). EPOs are also known as “stay away” orders. EPOs prohibit the restrained person from coming near or contacting the victim, the victim’s family, home or place of work. Heed all conditions of your EPO even if the victim tries to contact you. Typically, EPOs are legally enforceable for 31-91 days, during which time you could be arrested for violating the Order. The court can also issue a final Protective Order when your case resolves. Courts issue EPOs in many—but not all—assault/family violence cases.
Find an Advocate
The State of Texas takes family violence very seriously. These aren’t the type of cases the court is likely to go easy on. Expect to fight for your rights and your freedom. Even if the victim agrees to drop the charges, the district attorney’s office has all the decision-making power. The district attorney will often prosecute the defendant no matter what the victim wants. When facing the potential penalties of a family violence conviction, which are severe, you need to find a legal advocate. Specifically, find one who knows Texas assault/family violence laws thoroughly. Only a Texas criminal defense attorney with experience handling assault/family violence cases can help you face your charges and work to minimize the negative consequences of your arrest.
If you’re facing assault/family violence charges in Dallas-Fort Worth, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb Criminal Defense Attorneys can aggressively protect your rights. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.