The Aftermath of Family Violence
A conviction for an offense involving family violence can restrict your rights, affect your employment prospects and raise the stakes should you commit a subsequent offense. And those consequences are not limited to assault family violence convictions. A judge may also make an affirmative finding of family violence (AFV) in cases such as assault or sexual assault if the evidence establishes family violence was involved. Regardless of your specific charge, an AFV will remain a blemish on your criminal record indefinitely. Understanding the effects of an AFV requires we first understand how Texas defines family violence.
Under Texas Family Code §71.004, family violence is:
An act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself.
Enter the AFV
Certain offenses necessarily indicate family violence (e.g. assault family violence). But many other crimes against persons can involve family violence, such as assault, sexual assault and unlawful restraint but are not exclusively designated as family violence offenses. If convicted of any offense under Title 5 of the Texas Penal Code, however, the court can include an AFV in the judgment, which means family violence was involved. The AFV is then noted in your record and can have the same effects as a conviction for a family violence offense, including:
If the judge makes an AFV or the crime involves family violence in any way, the defendant is ineligible to petition for an Order of Nondisclosure for that specific offense or any subsequent offenses, no matter the nature. Please note that the judge is not required to make an AFV to render a defendant ineligible for a Nondisclosure. Trust us when we tell you this consequence alone is reason enough to fight your charges to the fullest extent. Unfortunately, the adverse effects of an AFV do not stop there.
The court can also use a prior conviction with an AFV as cause to enhance the sentencing for any future offense involving family violence. If you are convicted of sexual assault, for example, where the judgment included an AFV, you could face an “enhanced” (i.e. harsher) sentence if you committed another offense involving family violence in the future. Typically, this means your offense will be charged as a felony.
Among the other collateral consequences of an AFV include:
- Loss of firearms rights (under both Texas and federal law)
- Loss of the ability to be a managing conservator or joint conservator of a minor child
- Loss of the right to foster or adopt a child under Texas law, and
- Potential effects to your legal status in the US
Facing Charges for a Crime Involving Family Violence? Find a Legal Advocate Now!
AFV is sometimes used as an enhancement in assault cases, which raises the stakes of the conviction. If you are facing charges for a family violence offense, assault or any crime against persons, you need to contact an experienced Dallas-Fort Worth family violence defense attorney immediately. These cases are worth fighting due to the tremendous potential to damage your reputation and limit your rights. A seasoned family violence defense attorney can evaluate your case and advise you how to proceed with the goal of avoiding a family violence conviction or an AFV and the dire consequences that follow.
If you’re facing charges for a crime involving family violence in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action to clear your name. 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.