Domestic violence is a serious offense. In Texas, penalties can range from a “Class C” misdemeanor (which carries a penalty of up to one year in jail and a fine) and can escalate all the way to a first degree felony, which carries a penalty of five to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000, according to FindLaw.
If you have children, a domestic violence conviction could cause you to lose custody or visitation rights.
Domestic violence is a tragic problem across the country. But some accusations of domestic violence are false. If you’re falsely accused of domestic violence or abuse, you have the right to work with a criminal defense attorney to prove your side of the story.
What is Domestic Violence?
FindLaw defines domestic violence as: “the use of force in domestic situations that causes bodily injury, threatens to cause bodily harm, or causes any kind of physical contact the other person may regard as offensive or provocative.”
Texas domestic violence laws apply to spouses, those residing in the same household, individuals related by blood or affinity, foster parents, and those in “dating relationships,” according to FindLaw.
What Can Be Grounds for Domestic Violence or Abuse Allegations?
When proving a domestic violence case, a prosecutor must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally performed acts defined as domestic violence. If actual bodily injury occurred to the victim, the prosecutor may provide evidence proving that your actions resulted in bodily injury.
You might think that if you are innocent, your case would be easy to win. However, it’s not so simple. Domestic violence cases can get very complicated. According to VeryWellMind, the law considers “abuse” as going beyond just physical abuse. Abuse can include any action that is considered harassment, intimidation of a dependent, or interfering with someone’s personal liberty.
If you get into an argument with your spouse or partner – even actions such as yelling, touching your partner’s arm, or blocking a door while trying to explain your side of the argument – could be grounds for a domestic violence or abuse allegations.
Proving your innocence in terms of harassment, intimidation, or interference with personal liberty can be a complex and confusing challenge. It’s critical to have the legal support of a criminal defense attorney who is highly experienced in all the nuances of Texas domestic violence laws. Otherwise, you might never be able to prove your innocence in court.
When are False Accusations Most Likely to Happen?
False accusations of domestic violence and abuse are perhaps most likely during a divorce or custody case. Since convictions of abuse or domestic violence can interfere with your right to have custody or visitation rights, sometimes your opponents in a divorce case will use false allegations vindictively or manipulatively. You should always utilize your rights to get legal advice from an experienced criminal defense attorney.
What Should You Do If You’re Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence or Abuse in Texas?
Once an allegation of domestic abuse or violence has been made against you, a judge can issue an emergency order of protection. Orders of protection can vary in severity – with provisions ranging from a “No Contact” to “Peaceful Contact” to “Stay Away” or “Move Out.” Some additional provisions might include requirements regarding your possession of firearms or your attendance at mandatory counseling services, according to FindLaw. The legal standard for issuing an order of protection is surprisingly low. While this standard is low in an effort to protect actual victims of violence and abuse, those who are falsely accused risk long-term negative implications.
Even if you believe you are innocent, it’s essential to obey the rules of the order of protection at all costs. You can start working on your case with your criminal defense attorney in the meantime, but disobeying the requirements of the order of protection will definitely hurt your case – even if you are innocent.
No kind of domestic violence or abuse charges should be taken lightly. If you are convicted, the repercussions could affect your entire life. Your ability to interact with your children could be at stake! Your job could be at stake! Your personal freedoms such as the ability to possess firearms could be at stake. If accused of domestic violence, it’s imperative to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. Juan Tijerina can help you gather evidence that convinces the courts of your innocence. Make the decision that protects your wellbeing now and in the future. Contact the Tijerina Law Firm by calling (956) 261-5609 or by sending a message online.
4016 N. 22nd Street
McAllen, Texas 78504
Phone: (956) 261-5609
Phone: (512) 900-1126