Houston Domestic Violence Attorney
Domestic violence reports are unfortunately commonplace in Houston – but with the recent coronavirus outbreak and many families forced to stay home, they have spiked considerably in the past month.
However, it is likely that many of them may be questionable or even fraudulent accusations. Every year, thousands of people face false claims of domestic violence. In fact, as many as 10 percent of domestic violence reports in Houston may be falsified or otherwise fraudulent in some way. Our Houston domestic violence lawyers understand you may be scared, concerned, and even frustrated during this difficult time.
If you have been charged or falsely accused of domestic violence in Harris County, please contact our Houston domestic violence lawyers today at the law offices of David A. Breston immediately to discuss your case.
Experienced & Aggressive Domestic Violence Defense in Houston
Our Houston domestic violence lawyers understand that you have legal rights during this tough situation, and we want to help you receive reliable, trustworthy representation as soon as possible.
Our Houston domestic violence attorneys have the experience necessary to navigate your case out of this situation and get your charges dismissed or dropped. Contact us today and see how we can help.
Why Choose Our Law Firm for Your Domestic Violence Case?
At the law offices of David A. Breston, we are committed to representing all of those who have been wrongfully accused of domestic violence in Houston.
• All of our attorneys and associates have decades of experience successfully defending clients who have been wrongfully accused of domestic violence and other criminal charges in the state of Texas.
•Our Houston domestic violence lawyers understand that you have rights too, even if you have been charged with a criminal offense. Therefore, we treat all of our clients with the respect, attention, and care they deserve.
• Our Houston defense lawyers pride ourselves on offering the personalized attention and transparent communication of a boutique firm, with all of the reputation and resources of a large, major law firm. This allows us to give your case the full attention and help you deserve to get your charges dismissed and dropped.
• We have a reputation for excellence in the industry, successfully defending over 4,000 clients since the firm’s inception in 1997.
We are dedicated to getting any criminal charges levied against you dropped or otherwise dismissed through aggressive, compassionate litigation.
Our domestic violence lawyers handle all types of family violence cases ranging from restraining / protective order hearings, child abuse, harassment and stalking, and domestic battery.
Domestic Violence Information and FAQs
- What are the three types of domestic violence?
- Relationship & Violence Statistics
- Texas Domestic Violence Laws
- Domestic Violence & Covid-19
- How do you beat a family violence case in Texas?
- Free Consultation: Contact a Houston Domestic Violence Attorney
What is Domestic Violence, As Defined by Texas State Law?
According to Texas State Law, there are three primary types of domestic violence:
Domestic assault is also known as assault with family violence. This entails an assault against a family member, household member, or any person with whom you have a current or previous relationship. According to Texas law, assault is defined under Texas Penal Code § 22.01 as:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causing bodily injury to another person,
- Intentionally or knowingly threatening someone with imminent bodily injury, or
- Intentionally or knowingly causing physical contact with another that the offender knows or reasonably should know the victim will find provocative or offensive.
Domestic assault is considered a Class A misdemeanor for first-time offenders. However, if you are a repeat offender, this charge is upgrade to a third-degree felony.
Aggravated Domestic Assault
Aggravated domestic assault is an aggravated assault of a family member, household member, or any person with whom you have a current or previous romantic relationship. Defined under Texas Penal Code §22.02, aggravated assault is assault on a serious scale, in which a person:
- Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes serious bodily harm to another,
- Uses or exhibits a deadly weapon in the course of committing any assault crime, including threatening another with bodily injury.
Aggravated domestic assault is typically considered a second-degree felony, but when a deadly weapon is involved, it is bumped up to a first-degree felony.
Continuous Violence Against the Family
In the state of Texas, repeat offenses of domestic violence can get a person charged with an additional crime: continuous violence against the family. This charge is incurred if a person is charged with any domestic violence crimes twice in the previous 12 months, and it classified as a third-degree felony.
It is important to note that domestic violence does not just occur between spouse and romantic partners – domestic assault can involve:
- husbands and wives
- ex-husbands and ex-wives
- parents and children
- grandparents and children
- aunts and uncles
- foster children or foster parents
- people with ongoing dating relationships
- people with ongoing romantic relationships
- family member by blood, marriage, or adoption
Here are the types of family members and the type of domestic violence most commonly involved in these cases:
|Type||Relationship to Person Charged||Total %|
|Other Family||Other Female Family Member||25.60%|
|Other Family||Other Male Family Member||8.80%|
|Other Family||Female Roommate||3.60%|
|Other Family||Male Roommate||2.10%|
|Other Family||Female In-Law||1.00%|
|Other Family||Male In-Law||0.80%|
What Are the Penalties for Domestic Violence in Texas?
The penalties for domestic violence charges in the state of Texas can vary based on numerous circumstances, but generally, the following applies:
- Class A Misdemeanor: A fine of up to $4,000, up to one year in jail or both.
- Third Degree Felony: Up to $10,000 in fines and a prison sentence between 2-10 years.
- Second Degree Felony: Up to $10,000 in fines and a prison sentence between 2-20 years.
- First Degree Felony: Up to $10,000 in fines and a prison sentence of 5-99 years of time.
Additionally, in some domestic violence matters, you may be ordered to pay restitution: additional money to cover costs of the victim’s medical bills, counseling services, and costs to repair damaged property.
Domestic Violence Reports Have Risen Due to COVID-19
The novel coronavirus outbreak has impacted the lives of billions across the world. Shelter in place orders have forced families to stay at home in order to prevent further spread of the illness – but it has unfortunately led to a significant increase in reports of domestic violence:
- French police reported a 30 percent spike in domestic violence since the beginning of their self-quarantine.
- Spain received 18 percent more calls to its domestic violence emergency hotline in the first two weeks of lockdown than in the same period the previous month.
- Phoenix police received nearly 200 domestic violence calls in March, nearly 6 percent more than the previous month.
Domestic violence calls have increased locally as well: Houston police received nearly 300 more domestic violence calls in March than in the previous month – roughly a 20 percent increase.
Why Is There an Increase in Domestic Violence Reports During Quarantine?
The sudden rise in domestic violence reports may be attributed to multiple factors. With many families mandated to shelter in place together, this has unfortunately forced abusers and victims to stay together – a disastrous formula for preventing domestic violence.
However, other factors during quarantine can contribute to the rise in tensions among families who have otherwise gotten along fairly well. This can include:
- Financial stress. The lockdown in many states has resulted in a spike in unemployment, due to many employees being let go or furloughed while their companies are closed as they are deemed nonessential.
- A sudden disruption in routine. Those who are used to the normal schedule may suddenly be thrust into unfamiliar territory being at home at all hours of the day – impacting mental health and your family relationships.
- Being confined to the same place day after day for weeks on end can slowly take a toll on the mental health of many, leading to more arguments and disagreements over seemingly insignificant things.
With tensions high and seemingly no end in sight, the potential for family members to snap and take it out on their loved ones is unfortunately all too common. This is an unprecedented event in our lifetime, and many are having a difficult time coping with the ramifications – along with the actual looming threat of debilitating sickness at hand.
However, it is important to note that not all domestic violence reports during this time may be legitimate. Accusations of domestic violence can occur during such difficult times in order to make life easier for certain victims. Many family members may no longer get along, and the only way to physically remove a volatile family member from a current situation may be to report domestic violence or otherwise file a protective order.
All Accusations of Domestic Violence Are Taken Seriously in Texas
It is important to note that all reports of alleged domestic violence are taken seriously. When law enforcement shows up on a domestic violence call, they show up with the mindset of detaining someone for their wrongful actions – and thus may not do a thorough job of fully investigating the incident at hand.
Can Domestic Violence Charges Be Dropped?
Additionally, it is crucial to note that, contrary to popular belief, charges or accusations of domestic violence cannot simply be “dropped” by the accuser in the state of Texas. All charges associated with domestic violence and family violence are criminal charges, and those are brought by authorities – not by the victims.
Many alleged victims call the authorities to claim a report of domestic violence in order to teach their partner or family member a lesson, thinking they can just drop the charges once they learn their lesson. However, in the state of Texas, only a district attorney or similar authority has the power to charge, drop, and dismiss all charges.
As a result, it is not uncommon to see false accusations of domestic violence turn into a very real criminal case that requires diligent legal representation.
What Are Some Possible Defenses to Domestic Violence?
Generally, a Houston criminal defense attorney can help you defend against domestic violence charges with the following defenses:
- False accusations. The alleged victim has made a fraudulent claim of domestic violence against you for various reasons.
- Self-defense. You used physical force against another party because you felt that the other person was an imminent threat against you, or the other person was the initial aggressor.
- Defense of another. You believed that using physical force against another party was absolutely necessary in order to protect the safety and well-being of another third party.
What Do I Do If I Have Been Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence in Houston?
If you have been falsely accused of domestic violence or family violence, it is highly recommended to take the following steps:
- Stay calm. The circumstances surrounding the charge/arrest can be an emotionally-charged situation, and reacting negatively to it can potentially exacerbate the case against you.
- Comply with any and all orders from law enforcement. If you are arrested for domestic violence, do not resist, and do not argue with police officers. Remember, the authorities decide who may be charged with crimes, and being uncooperative can leave a bad impression on law enforcement.
- Remain silent. Do not answer any questions or offer any information. Law enforcement and other authorities can use whatever you say to substantiate any cases against your character.
- Contact a domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible. Do not speak until you retain an experienced domestic violence attorney. According to your Miranda rights, you legally do not need to speak until you have representation.
How Can a Houston Domestic Violence Lawyer Help Defend My Case?
An experienced domestic violence attorney in Houston is essential to ensuring your case is properly defended. A domestic violence attorney understands that there are multiple avenues to combating cases of wrongfully charged domestic violence.
- Although criminal charges are initiated by authorities in Texas, the burden of proof nonetheless falls on the accuser. An experienced domestic violence attorney can recognize when there is a lack of definitive proof against their client, and aggressively pursue dismissal on those grounds.
- False accusations are nearly always spur-of-the-moment, leading to multiple inconsistencies in details of the case at hand. A domestic violence attorney can fully investigate these claims, cross-referencing them with any evidence or eyewitness accounts at hand to definitely determine a falsified claim.
- Self-defense can be a valid defense against domestic assault and family violence claims if you were not the initial aggressor or you perceived an imminent threat to you and/or your children. In such cases, an attorney can work with you to help build a case against the other client.
Ultimately, a Houston domestic violence attorney ensures that you receive the representation necessary to make a legally sound argument against your alleged charges.
Contact our Houston Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Today
A domestic assault or family violence charge can have a significant impact on your life. Felonies can prevent you from pursuing the career you desire, and any protective orders may prevent you from seeing your children.
If you have been wrongfully charged with domestic violence, please contact us immediately and schedule a free, confidential consultation. We want to help defend those facing domestic violence charges to ensure they receive the representation they deserve.