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Protective Orders

JBABB Criminal Defense Attorneys > Protective Orders

Defining the Family Violence Victim in Texas

Defining the Family Violence Victim in Texas

What Is a Family Violence Victim in Texas?

 

Texas family violence (i.e. domestic violence) laws utilize a broad definition of “family.” Many defendants are surprised to find they are facing family violence charges when the other participant in the conflict was not a spouse. In reality, family violence can occur between many family and household members other than spouses, expanding the reach and devastation a family violence conviction can have. It helps to define family violence under Texas statute and who are family violence “victims.” Without such a clarification, it can be difficult to know what you are up against when facing family violence charges.

 

Family Violence Explained

 

Texas statute defines family violence as “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.”

 

Modern families come in all configurations that transcend traditional roles, ties of relation and even households. While this definition is indeed broad, it does us no good unless we know who a family or household member is.

 

Under Texas Family Code §71.003, a family member is:

 

An individual related by consanguinity or affinity (i.e. blood relation or through marriage), an individual who is a former spouse, the parent of your child, regardless of marital status, or a foster parent and foster child, irrespective of whether those individuals reside together.

 

Under Texas Family Code 71.005, a household is:

 

A unit composed of people living together in the same dwelling, without regard to whether they are related to each other.

 

Don’t Fight These Charges Alone

 

I hear of many defendants facing criminal charges involving family violence shrug off the seriousness of their outlook. Many think as long as the accuser recants and agrees to “drop the charges” that their name will be cleared. This is not the case. Once the district attorney’s office files charges, there is little the accuser can do to stop the process. And if the accuser is a family or household member as defined by Texas statute, you have your work cut out for you.

 

The good news is a skilled Texas family violence defense attorney might be able to obtain a dismissal. These cases are rarely open and shut. To convict you of family violence, the prosecution must prove certain elements beyond a reasonable doubt, such as intent and your relationship to the accuser. A seasoned attorney could potentially challenge either of these elements. Consult with a Dallas-Fort Worth family violence defense attorney with experience handling these types of cases. Inquire about the options he or she might suggest and their track record of success. It’s important to always fight family violence charges due to the long-term ramifications of a conviction.

 

If you are facing charges for 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 given your circumstances. 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.

 

 

5 Deportable Offenses You Might Not Know About

5 Deportable Offenses You Might Not Know About

Anyone facing criminal charges may be rightfully concerned with incarceration, fines and incurring a permanent criminal record. For noncitizens, however, these serious consequences are just the beginning. Noncitizens can face potential immigration consequences, including deportation or inadmissibility if convicted of certain crimes. To better understand how criminal charges can affect your immigration status, let’s take a look at five deportable offenses that could lead to deportation as well as the broad categories of crimes that impact immigration.

 

Convictions That Could Affect Your Immigration Status

 

Generally speaking, under US immigration law, an immigrant can face deportation or inadmissibility if convicted of certain crimes, mainly crimes of moral turpitude and aggravated felonies. Crimes involving moral turpitude (CIMT) are crimes that typically involve an intent to cause bodily injury, permanent deprivation of property, lewd intent, recklessness, fraud or deceit. Aggravated felonies are less clearly defined and can include crimes such as murder or certain crimes involving a deadly weapon or destructive device. Both these categories of crimes can be difficult to pin down, as their definitions under Texas law and U.S. immigration law may not be identical. But, to give you a general idea, examples of crimes that could potentially affect your immigration status and lead to deportation include:

 

  1. Family Violence (i.e. Domestic Violence)
  2. Child Abuse or Neglect
  3. Violation of a Protective Order
  4. Stalking
  5. Failure to Register as a Sex Offender

 

This list is only a snapshot of the many criminal convictions that can lead to deportation, many of which are relatively common crimes. The bottom line is you never know how a criminal charge could impact your ability to stay in or return to the US until you’ve spoken with an attorney.

 

Don’t Face Charges for Deportable Offenses Alone

 

It’s vital for any Texan facing criminal charges to speak with an attorney. The consequences of a criminal conviction are severe and far-reaching. Noncitizens face a potential impact on their immigration status, depending on the nature of the offense, how long they’ve been in the US and many other factors. Thus, if you are a noncitizen concerned about criminal charges, you need to talk to an experienced Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney right away. Specifically, find an attorney who will aggressively protect your rights.

 

Navigating these types of cases can be difficult—if not impossible—to do on your own. Find an attorney whose goal is to obtain a dismissal or an outcome that would otherwise preserve your legal status in this country. This will require an intimate understanding of the nuances in Texas criminal statutes.

 

If you are facing charges for deportable offenses 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.

 

Repeat Domestic Violence Offender in Texas? You Could Face Continuous Family Violence Charges

Repeat Domestic Violence Offender in Texas? You Could Face Continuous Family Violence Charges

Repeat Offenders Can Face Serious Charges

 

The State of Texas takes family violence (i.e. domestic violence) very seriously. Thus, punishments for family violence offenses are harsh and geared toward rehabilitating the offender and preventing future harm. Not surprisingly, if you are a repeat domestic violence offender in Texas, expect the court to charge with you continuous family violence and enhance those penalties significantly. Now let’s take a look at the specifics of this offense and the penalties you could face for a conviction.

 

What Is Continuous Family Violence?

 

Continuous violence against the family is a charge that applies to repeat family violence offenders. Under Texas Penal Code §25.11, a person can be charged with continuous violence against the family if he or she commits assault against a family or household member two or more times within a 12 month period. The second or subsequent offense does not have to be against the same victim. It can be against any member of your family or household, as defined by law under Texas Family Code §71.003.

 

Who Is a Family or Household Member?

 

To be charged under PC §25.11, the alleged victim must be a family or household member. A household is defined as a group of people residing in one dwelling unit, who may or may not be related. Members of a family can include people who are related by consanguinity or affinity, parents of the same child, former spouses, or are a foster parent or foster child.

 

Enhancing the Penalties

 

Continuous family violence is a third-degree felony in Texas and is punishable by between two and ten years of incarceration by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The court may also impose a fine of no more than $10,000.

 

Continuous family violence is a serious charge in Texas. Thus, it’s essential you work closely with a seasoned Dallas-Fort Worth family violence defense attorney whenever facing family violence charges. To avoid the life-changing consequences of a felony conviction, it’s important to explore all your options for fighting your charges before you make any decisions in your case. An attorney can help you do this so that you minimize the negative consequences of your charge.

 

If you are facing continuous 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.

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.

Arrested for Texas Family Violence? Essential First Steps

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