Austin Domestic Violence Lawyer
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An accusation of domestic violence can be devastating personally, professionally, and can forever alter your future. If you or a loved one has been accused of domestic violence in Austin it is imperative that you speak with an experienced domestic violence defense attorney right away. The Law Office of Channing Neary has a record of successfully representing clients accused of committing domestic violence in the Austin area and can give you the zealous defense that your case needs.
Texas Domestic Violence Law
Chapter 71 of the Texas Family Code defines domestic violence as “any act by a family or household member against another family or household member that is intended to cause physical harm or bodily injury.” Abuse and dating violence are also considered domestic violence under Texas law. The law defines a family or household member as the following:
- Anyone related by blood;
- Anyone related by marriage;
- Foster parents/children;
- Step parents/children;
- Parents of the same child;
- Former spouses; and
- Anyone who resides or previously resided in the same home.
There is no single crime of domestic violence in Texas law. Instead, a multitude of crimes are all classified as domestic violence or family violence crimes if committed against a family or household member. These types of crimes include:
- Sexual assault;
- Continuous violence against the family;
- Child abuse or endangerment;
- Kidnapping; and
- Violation of a protective order.
Punishments for Domestic Violence
If convicted of a domestic violence crime, the possible sentences and fines are defined in Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code. The court considers a variety of outside factors when determining the sentence of a domestic violence crime, including the age of the victim, whether a bodily injury occurred, previous criminal history, and whether or not a weapon was used. Sentences for domestic violence charges range from Class C misdemeanors to 1st degree felonies under Texas law. If you have a previous conviction for a misdemeanor family violence charge and you are charged with committing another misdemeanor family violence charge it will be filed as a felony. A deferred adjudication disposition is still considered enhanceable under Texas law. You cannot own a firearm if you have a family violence conviction. Additional collateral consequences exist including having a negative impact on child custody and divorce proceedings.
Class C Misdemeanor: No jail time and/or a fine up to $500
Class B Misdemeanor: Jail sentence up to 180 days and/or a fine up to $2,000
Class A Misdemeanor: Jail sentence up to 1 year and/or a fine up to $4,000
State Jail Felony: Jail sentence between 180 days and 2 years and/or a fine up to $10,000
3rd Degree Felony: Prison sentence between 2 and 10 years and/or a fine up to $10,000
2nd Degree Felony: Prison sentence between 2 and 20 years and/or a fine up to $10,000
1st Degree Felony: Prison sentence between 5 and 99 years and/or a fine up to $10,000
Domestic Violence Defenses
If you have been accused of committing domestic violence, an experienced defense attorney will be able to help you identify any defenses that may apply to your situation. The most common defenses against a domestic violence charge include:
False Accusation: This defense applies most often in domestic violence accusations. A person will make a false accusation of domestic violence for a variety of reasons. Oftentimes it is to receive a better divorce settlement or to alter the outcome of a child custody hearing. Other times a false accusation is simply made out of anger, spite, or jealousy.
Self Defense: This can apply if you used force to defend yourself against another person because you reasonably believed that they would cause you bodily injury or death.
Defense of Others: This can apply if you used force against another in the defense of a third party because you thought that the attacker would cause the third party bodily injury or death.
Let an Austin Domestic Violence Attorney Help
The consequences of a domestic violence accusation or conviction can haunt you for the rest of your life. If someone accuses you or a loved one of domestic violence in the Austin area, call The Law Office of Channing Neary at 512-769-2371 or contact the office online to schedule a free and confidential consultation of your case. Our office promises to guide and defend you through every step of your case as well as provide you with the most dedicated and determined legal defense.
- Sexual assault
- Continuous violence against the family