Plano Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
At Rosenthal Barbieri, we understand the seriousness of domestic violence. This is a sensitive type of case with plenty of emotions involved. If an individual is physically, emotionally or mentally abusive to a loved one, relative, spouse or someone living in the same home, it is considered domestic violence. Unfortunately, there are plenty of times that people are simply accused of domestic violence in order to gain an advantage in divorce or custody proceedings. If this is a situation you are currently experiencing, you can trust our Plano criminal defense lawyer and entire team to advocate for your rights.
The Defense You Need; The Firm You Can Trust
Our Plano domestic violence lawyers know that when you are facing charges as serious as domestic violence, it can be easy to allow panic to set in and become overwhelmed. It is advisable to remain calm and reach out to legal representation as soon as possible. There are a number of defenses that can be used on your behalf, and our firm will exhaust all necessary options in order to help you.
Rosenthal Barbieri can help you by:
- Determining if the accusation is valid or part of another family law case
- Gathering any potential witnesses to testify regarding your character
- Discovering any possible abuse against you from the other party
It’s important to know that in the state of Texas, there is a no-drop policy. This means that even if the accuser wants to drop the charges, the state can still seek legal action and continue with the charges. Regardless of the specifics of your situation, we can work to help you.
Domestic Violence Laws in Texas
In Texas, the official term for domestic violence is “assault family violence,” and it includes the crimes of domestic abuse, child abuse, elder abuse, and dating violence. The law states that an act of domestic violence is committing one of the following acts on someone you are in a domestic relationship with:
- Attempting to harm or endanger another by assaulting, sexual assaulting, or causing bodily injury; or
- Threatening assault, sexual assault, or bodily injury
A domestic relationship is defined as individuals who have an association with each other in one of these ways:
- Family – People related by blood or marriage, those in foster home situations, or parents of the same child.
- Household members – People who are not related by blood or marriage but share the same residence.
- Dating relationships – Those who are in or have been in a continuing romantic or intimate relationship. This is determined by the length and nature of the relationship.
Charges for Domestic Violence
Under Texas law, there are three types of domestic violence charges. Sometimes an accused person can face more than one charge.
Family violence assault is a heightened form of “simple assault.” If a simple assault is committed against someone within a domestic relationship, it’s considered domestic assault. The circumstances and criminal background of the accused determine whether the crime is charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.
Aggravated Domestic Assault
When a domestic assault causes bodily injury, it’s considered aggravated domestic assault and can be charged as a second-degree felony. Aggravated domestic assault is also assigned to situations when the act or threat of violence involves a weapon, a first-degree felony.
Continued Violence Against the Family
If someone commits two or more acts of domestic assault within 12 months, they can face the additional charge of continued violence against the family. The assaults don’t have to be committed against the same person nor lead to an arrest or conviction. This crime is considered a third-degree felony.
Consequences for Domestic Violence Convictions
Texas courts impose significant penalties for domestic violence convictions that have a lasting impact on a person’s life. These are the penalties in Texas for each category of conviction:
- Class A misdemeanor: Up to one year of incarceration, up to a $4,000 fine, or both
- Third-degree felony: 2-10 years of incarceration and up to a $10,000 fine
- Second-degree felony: 2-20 years of incarceration and up to a $10,000 fine
- First-degree felony: 5-99 years of incarceration and up to a $10,000 fine
Fines and jail time are not the only way your life can be affected by a domestic violence conviction. Texas law allows other consequences, including the following:
Restrictions on Firearm Possession
Anyone convicted of a family violence offense must wait five years from the end of their sentence to possess a firearm lawfully in Texas. Federal law is even more severe, banning firearm possession and ownership for life.
Child Custody and Visitation
Parents may use a family violence conviction as an opportunity to alter a custody and visitation order permanently so that it limits the time you’re allowed to spend with your children. If there’s a protective order in place for the home where your children live, you won’t be permitted to visit them there.
In Texas, a person who is convicted of domestic violence can be ordered to pay restitution. This means reimbursing the victim for any expenses that resulted from the crime including costs like medical treatment, counseling, and repair or replacement of damaged property.
Child Abuse Allegations
Texas allows the penalty of an alleged child abuser through both criminal and family courts. This pits the defendant against both state prosecutors and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS). Losing one case nearly guarantees the loss of the other, and so the defendant has to wage a legal battle on two fronts.
Have you been accused of child abuse in Texas? There is no time to lose to build your defense. Rosenthal Barbieri, has the experience, know-how and tenacity you need to stand up for yourself and your rights in the face of such fierce opposition.
Reasons why you should choose our law firm for your child abuse defense:
- We have over 20 years of combined legal experience.
- Attorney Heather Barbieri is board-certified in criminal law (Texas Board of Legal Specialization, 2005).
- Past clients praise our law firm in honest testimonials.
Penalties For Child Abuse Convictions In Texas
Child abuse can be alleged in many forms. Allegations of physical harm are just as damaging as those related to mental or emotional abuse. Neglecting to provide care for a child is also just as illegal as striking a child intentionally. No matter the details of the alleged child abuse, the penalties and consequences of a conviction are usually the same.
If you are convicted of child abuse, or if the DFPS determines you hurt your child, the following could occur:
- You are sentenced to extended jail or prison time.
- You pay high fines to the state.
- Your child is removed from your custody.
- You lose parental rights over other children not named in the case.
Failing To Report Child Abuse Crimes
It is also a serious crime in Texas to not report suspicions of child abuse or neglect. For most cases, the law applies directly to professionals who work with the child or the family, such as teachers, pediatricians and day care workers. However, it could be deemed an illegal action for one parent not to report the abusive actions of the other. Our Plano domestic violence attorneys are capable of shielding you from criminal penalties for not telling the authorities about abuse afflicting your child.
Frequently Asked Questions About Domestic Violence Defense
If you face a domestic violence accusation, you must have many concerns and questions. An attorney can answer them best, but here are answers to just a few common questions our clients pose.
What if I have been falsely accused of domestic violence?
At Rosenthal Barbieri, we understand that not all domestic violence accusations are legitimate. Relationships can be complicated, and sometimes law enforcement hears only one side of the story. We advise you to comply with law enforcement but not answer questions or offer information until you have legal representation. The best way to defend yourself effectively is to call us at 972-424-1902 and speak with an experienced domestic violence attorney.
What if my accuser wants to drop the charges?
Unfortunately, you can’t rely on your accuser for help. They can’t drop domestic violence charges because the Texas state authorities bring criminal charges, not individuals. The prosecutor is the only one with the power to drop or dismiss the charges. That’s why you need to have a diligent lawyer fighting on your behalf.
What defenses can be used against domestic violence charges?
The skilled lawyers at Rosenthal Barbieri will choose a defense that wins you a favorable outcome in your case. It may include saying that the accusations are false, that you acted in self-defense, or that your actions were taken for the safety of another person.
Reliable Plano Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys
When you are in need of skilled legal counsel, you can trust in our firm. Our founders, Heather Barbieri and Jeremy Rosenthal, are board-certified in criminal lawand have decades of experience representing individuals who have been wrongly accused of domestic violence. With your freedom and rights on the line, turn to our Plano domestic violence attorney.
Call us today at 972-424-1902 to learn more about how we can help you seek a favorable outcome.