What to Do After a Domestic Violence Charge in Texas
Texas treats domestic violence as a serious crime, often resulting in jail time, fines, and restraining orders – but not all instances of domestic violence are valid. Sometimes, a domestic partner may allege abuse when none occurred, and you could face serious consequences in the aftermath. If you are facing charges for domestic violence, take the following steps to increase your chances of reaching the best possible outcome.
Step #1: Remain Calm and Comply with Police Officers
If police officers arrive at your home and place you under arrest, it is in your best interest to remain calm and to comply with their orders.
Do not resist arrest or try to defend yourself verbally or physically in any way. These actions could lead to additional charges and a poor reflection on your character in the courtroom. In addition, the investigators could use what you say against you in the courtroom.
You have the right to remain silent – exercise this right and do not speak to any police officer or investigator until your attorney is present.
Step #2: Understand Your Charges
Before you can begin to defend yourself against domestic violence charges, you first need to understand what the state is accusing you of. By understanding your charges, you and your attorney can begin to build a strong defense.
For the state to consider an act of violence to be domestic in nature, the alleged victim must one of the following individuals.
- A former or current spouse
- A child, stepchild, or foster child
- The parent of your children
- A person who lives with you
- A person you have or have had a romantic relationship with
- Any other family member by blood, marriage, or adoption
Texas recognizes three different types of domestic violence crimes.
- Domestic assault, which involves physical assault to another person that results in bodily injury, the threat of physical assault, or committing an act of physical contact that the victim would find offensive or provocative.
- Aggravated domestic assault, which involves similar actions as domestic assault with the following differences: the injury that occurs to the victim is serious in nature and/or the assault involves the user of the deadly weapon.
- Continuous violence against the family, which occurs when you allegedly commit two acts of domestic assault within the past twelve months.
Step #3: Contact Your Attorney as Soon as Possible
Once you understand your charges and you have complied with the police, you should contact your attorney as soon as you can. Do not speak to any investigators or officers unless your attorney is present. If the officers continue to ask questions, repeat that you want to speak to your attorney until they allow you to contact him or her.
Hiring an attorney for your domestic violence defense case can provide you with a number of benefits, including the following.
- Your attorney will have significant experience working in your local court system and with cases similar to yours, allowing him or her to identify viable strategies to defend your case in the courtroom.
- Your lawyer will have the resources necessary to help you build a compelling defense. He or she may call upon expert witnesses, submit evidence to forensic labs, and conduct an in-depth investigation into the circumstances of your case to help you work towards the best possible outcome.
- Entering the criminal justice system alone can be overwhelming. Your attorney will prepare you for each step along the way, helping you understand what you need to do next and how to best present yourself and your case.
If you are facing domestic violence charges in Texas, understanding the process you will have to undergo after the arrest is important in preserving your chances for the best possible outcome. If you have not done so already, contact a defense attorney in Houston as soon as possible. Together, you can discuss your legal options, collect all pieces of relevant evidence, and build a compelling case for your defense in the courtroom.