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Firearm Rights

Loss of Firearm Rights and Family Violence Convictions

Loss of Firearm Rights and Family Violence Convictions

Consequences of Family Violence

 

Federal law prohibits anyone with a felony conviction, a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction or who is subject to a domestic violence protective order from possessing firearms. The State of Texas plays a role in enforcing this law and places similar restrictions on the firearms rights of those with domestic violence (i.e. family violence) convictions or those subject to protective orders. Indeed, this is one of the lesser-known consequences of a family violence conviction but not one that is without impact, especially in one of the most heavily armed states in the country.

 

A Flaw in the Law

 

Prohibiting firearm possession isn’t always enough. Texas does not have a law requiring those prohibited from possessing firearms to turn guns and ammunition in. In some states, defendants must bring their firearms to the police department or to a licensed buyer and provide the court with proof. Also, you can still purchase guns from sellers or dealers who don’t run background checks even if you lose your firearm rights.

 

That said, enforcement of this law is difficult in Texas and relies on factors such as proper reporting and steep penalties for offenders. While Texans may not be required to provide proof they relinquished their firearms, they can face harsh penalties if they are caught unlawfully possessing a firearm. Unlawful possession of a firearm in Texas is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in a local or county jail and potentially a fine of up to $4,000.

 

Don’t Want to Lose Your Firearm Rights? Fight Your Charges

 

The only way to avoid losing your firearm rights is to avoid a family violence conviction. Now, we realize that is easier said than done. But talking to a skilled family violence defense attorney in the Dallas-Fort Worth area is a good starting point. Due to the long-lasting (and far-reaching) consequences of a family violence conviction, we recommend you thoroughly discuss your case before you enter a plea. An attorney can explain the penalties you could face for a conviction in addition to the various collateral consequences, such as loss of firearms rights.

 

If you’re facing family violence charges 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 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 team@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

Emergency Protective Orders in Texas: Watching Your Step

Emergency Protective Orders in Texas: Watching Your Step

A Look at Emergency Protective Orders

 

In an assault family violence (i.e. domestic violence) case, the judge will often issue an Emergency Protective Order (EPO). Emergency Protective Orders can make it illegal for the offender to return home and fulfill his or her familial responsibilities. And in the wake of an assault case, that can make it difficult if not impossible to move on from your mistake and get back to your life. Fortunately, there may be ways you can mitigate the negative effects an EPO will have on your life.

 

The “Stay Away” Order

 

The offender may be prohibited from coming within a specified proximity of the alleged victim, including his or her home and workplace. So when the offender and victim live together or share parenting responsibilities, EPOs affect the whole family. Furthermore, a person who violates an EPO can face serious consequences, including new charges, fines, and jail time. Due to this very real concern, our firm fields calls every day from offenders who want to know if they can lift the EPO so they can return home lawfully. Here’s some helpful information we provide.

 

Always Follow Your EPO

 

You have to follow your EPO, even if you live with the victim. If your EPO is making it difficult for you to return to your home life or fulfill your familial responsibilities, speak with an attorney about your options before you violate it. In the event that you choose not to follow the EPO, you risk being re-arrested and charged with violating the protective order (a Class A misdemeanor unless there are some aggravating factors proven). Generally speaking, a person gets caught violating a protective order when someone calls the police to notify them of such a violation.

In our experience, if a couple chooses to violate the EPO and there are no calls made which notify the police or court of the violation, then it goes unnoticed. Yet, this is a big gamble to take with your freedom when you cannot say for certain whether or not someone will report to you to the authorities for violating the EPO.

 

Ask the Court for Relief

 

In these situations, you might be able to ask the court to lift or amend (modify) the EPO. Following an assault family violence offense, the judge will be hesitant to lift your EPO outright. EPOs serve an important purpose. They protect the victim of the assault from further harm. But if the victim does not need or want the protection and the EPO is preventing the offender from fulfilling certain responsibilities, you may ask the judge to amend it to ease the burden.

 

EPOs typically contain a number of restrictions and conditions, which may or may not be necessary. If the victim consents, the judge can lift certain conditions, such as being prohibited from returning home, while keeping others in place, like refraining from committing future acts of assault. This way, the judge can ensure the EPO still provides valuable protections without removing the opportunity to pursue legal recourse should the offender assault the victim again.

 

It is important to realize that such an amendment is quite rare! Therefore, the EPO will more than likely remain in place.

 

Questions About Emergency Protective Orders in Texas?

 

Remember, you must follow an EPO for its duration. But if you want to learn about how you can amend your EPO, consult with a seasoned Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney. An attorney can help you take steps to minimize your chances of violating your EPO.

 

If you have an EPO 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. 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 clients@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

 

3 Reasons to Fight Assault Family Violence Charges

3 Reasons to Fight Assault Family Violence Charges

Why You Should Defend Yourself

 

Assault family violence charges are very serious. The consequences of an assault family violence conviction are far-reaching. Thus, you should not take them lightly. No matter the degree of the offense, an assault family violence conviction can result in severe penalties. Specifically, here are three reasons why you should always fight family violence charges.

 

Court-Imposed Penalties

 

Texas courts aggressively prosecute family violence offenders. Defendants face a lifetime of legal and social repercussions for a conviction. A first assault family violence conviction is a Class A misdemeanor and is punishable by:

 

  • Up to 365 days in county jail, and/or
  • A fine of up to $4,000
  • Illegal under Federal law to possess firearms
  • Unable to Expunge or Seal the case from the public
  • Any future assault family violence charges can be enhanced to a felony (including Class C)

 

The judge can also order you to pay victim restitution. Restitution compensates the victim for costs associated with the incident, such as medical bills or counseling. The judge may also probate your sentence, giving you probation or “community supervision” instead of the maximum sentence.

 

These penalties aren’t the only reasons why you should fight an assault family violence charge. The penalties for a second assault family violence conviction increase significantly. You can be charged with continuous family violence for a second assault family violence conviction in one year. Continuous family violence is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to ten years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

 

Subject to a Protective Order

 

In some assault family violence cases, the judge will issue an Emergency Protective Order (EPO). EPOs are also known as a “stay away” orders. EPOs and their long-term counterparts (Protective Orders) restrict the restrained person in many ways. Most notably, the restrained person is prohibited from contacting or coming near the victim or the victim’s family. Violation of a Protective Order is a criminal offense and can result in jail time and additional penalties. EPOs are typically short in duration, from between 31 and 91 days. Final Protective Orders can last up to two years.

 

Loss of Your Family

 

If convicted of assault family violence, you may suffer social consequences as well. You could lose custody of your children, be prevented from entering your home and lose respect in your community. These effects can be even more deleterious than criminal penalties and can affect you for years to come.

 

Never underestimate the consequences of an assault family violence conviction. Do not let the court convict you without a fight, and for assault family violence cases deferred equals a conviction. The first step to fighting your assault family violence charges is to speak with an attorney about your case. The specific facts and circumstances of your offense will significantly influence your options for fighting your charges or receiving a reduced sentence or even an outright dismissal.  The overwhelming supermajority of assault family violence cases that we handle result in dismissals.

 

 

Are you facing charges of assault family violence in the Dallas-Fort Worth area? If so, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action. 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 clients@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.

5 Unexpected Consequences of a Texas Family Violence Conviction

5 Unexpected Consequences of a Texas Family Violence Conviction

The Aftermath of a Texas Family Violence Conviction

 

A Texas family violence (domestic violence is interchangeable with family violence in Texas courts) conviction can have serious and lasting consequences. These cases are always worth fighting because a single conviction can result in harsh penalties, including potential jail time and fines. But Texas family violence convictions are unique in that they trigger a number of consequences you might not expect. Here are five unexpected consequences of a Texas family violence conviction.

 

Denial of Texas Hunting and Fishing Licenses

 

If convicted of a family violence offense, the State of Texas may deny you hunting and fishing licenses. This may come as some surprise but is just one example of the far-reaching effects of a family violence conviction.

 

Inability to Possess Firearms

 

Federal law prohibits those convicted of domestic violence or family violence from purchasing, owning or otherwise possessing firearms for life. Unlawful possession of a firearm is a criminal offense.

 

Loss of Custody or Visitation

 

It should come as no surprise that a family violence conviction could affect your custodial rights. In some cases, it may even affect your visitation rights if you do not have custody. Unfortunately, parents in bitter custody battles sometimes make false accusations of family violence in order to gain the upper hand in their cases. Indeed, many of our clients have found themselves in this exact situation. If you are going through divorce or a custody case, it’s imperative you speak with an attorney about your defense options.

 

Loss of Your Job

 

You could lose your job if you work in certain industries and are convicted of Texas family violence. You may be ineligible to hold certain positions such as teacher, nurse or doctor. You can even lose certain forms of professional licenses. In sum, a family violence conviction can affect your ability to work and earn a living indefinitely.

 

Enhancement

 

An affirmative finding of family violence at any level of will allow the State to enhance any future allegations of family violence to a felony level charge. That’s right! An affirmative finding of family violence even on a Class C misdemeanor family violence case permits the State to file a future Class C family violence case as a felony. For this reason alone you should fight any assault family violence case.

 

A Permanent Criminal Record

 

Unlike certain crimes, you cannot expunge or seal records of a Texas family violence conviction. If you are convicted, your criminal record will show that conviction for the rest of your life. If for no other reason than this, you should always fight family violence charges.

 

Surprised to learn about these unexpected consequences of a family violence conviction? You’re not alone. Many people don’t realize how serious family violence charges are until it’s too late. To avoid these consequences, speak with an experienced Dallas-Fort Worth family violence defense attorney promptly. An attorney can help you navigate your case to minimize the negative consequences. Again, these cases are always worth fighting, no matter the class of the offense.

 

If you’re facing family violence charges 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. 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 clients@jbabblaw.com, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.