Have you been arrested for domestic violence or had a protective order filed against you in Plano, TX? Domestic violence is taken very seriously in Texas with harsh penalties for conviction. Along with jail time, hefty fines, and probation, you can have certain rights taken away and be forced to move.
At the Edgett Law Firm, we are here to give you the vigorous legal defense you deserve. Contact a Plano domestic violence defense lawyer at our law office today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
How a Plano Defense Lawyer Can Help When You Are Charged with a Domestic Violence Offense
Being arrested for domestic violence can feel humiliating and frightening, especially when you are facing false allegations during a divorce or another difficult period in your life. Texas law allows for very severe penalties for a conviction that can have life-changing consequences. Unfortunately, many people turn to protective orders and false allegations to get even, have someone removed from a home, or improve their situation in a child custody battle.
According to a survey by Stop Abuse and Violent Environments (SAFE), 1 in 10 adults report being falsely accused of child abuse or domestic violence.
At the Edgett Law Firm, we are committed to our core values of empathy and transparency with over 22 years of experience representing clients facing domestic assault charges. Our Plano criminal defense lawyers have successfully handled more than 5,000 cases with extensive trial experience and an excellent reputation with local judges and prosecutors.
When you hire the Edgett Law Firm to represent you, you can count on us to:
- Protect your constitutional rights
- Guide you through the criminal justice process
- Pursue flaws in the prosecution’s case against you
- Search for inconsistencies in the petitioner’s story
- Gather evidence to build your defense
- Negotiate on your behalf with prosecutors for the best possible outcome
- Represent you in court
You do not have to face these serious charges alone. Call our law office today to schedule a free consultation with a Plano domestic assault defense attorney to begin building your defense.
Domestic Violence Offenses in Plano
Any violence toward a family member, household member, or a current or former dating partner can be considered domestic violence. This includes threats without actual bodily injury, stalking, and kidnapping.
Texas law has three specific domestic violence offenses: domestic assault, aggravated domestic assault, and continuous violence against the family.
Domestic assault is defined under Texas Penal Code Section 22.01 as recklessly, intentionally, or knowingly:
- Causing bodily injury
- Threatening immediate bodily injury
- Causing physical contact the other party would find offensive or provocative
Domestic assault is typically a Class A misdemeanor. The charge can be upgraded to a third-degree felony if you have any prior domestic violence convictions.
Aggravated Domestic Assault
When domestic violence results in serious bodily harm – or a deadly weapon is used to either cause or threaten bodily harm – the charge can be upgraded. Aggravated domestic assault is a second-degree felony. It can become a first-degree felony if a deadly weapon actually causes serious bodily injury.
Note that deadly weapons include firearms, knives, and any object that can cause death such as a baseball bat or heavy object. “Serious bodily injury” can be open to interpretation but includes head injuries and fractures. Violent crimes like aggravated domestic assault are subject to harsher penalties.
Continuous Violence Against the Family
If you have two or more domestic assault arrests or convictions within two months, the charge can be upgraded. Continuous violence against the family is a third-degree felony in Texas.
Penalties for Domestic Violence Conviction in Plano
Domestic violence is taken very seriously by Texas law. In addition to the social stigma you face for an arrest and conviction, you can face a lengthy jail sentence and other penalties.
Depending on the charge and any prior criminal record, domestic violence can range from a Class A misdemeanor to a first-degree felony.
- Class A misdemeanor, domestic assault: up to 1 year in jail and up to $4,000 in fines
- Third-degree felony, aggravated domestic assault: 2-10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
- Second-degree felony, continuous violence against the family: 2-20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
- First-degree felony, aggravated domestic assault with a deadly weapon: 5-99 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines
You may also be sentenced to counseling, probation, and restitution. A conviction can strip you of certain rights, make it harder to get a job, and affect personal relationships. A judge can even impose financial penalties in certain circumstances. A domestic violence conviction can even have family law consequences and cause you to lose custody of your children or limit your right to see them.
Because the penalties and collateral consequences for domestic violence are so stiff, it’s crucial to seek experienced legal counsel from a Plano domestic assault defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Alternatives to Jail
Domestic violence conviction does not always lead to jail time if it’s your first offense. Depending on your criminal record and the specific charge, you may be a candidate for alternative punishments.
Community service or probation can be granted instead of a jail sentence. When ordered, probation can last up to 2 years for a misdemeanor or 2-10 years for a felony. You may be required to serve up to 30 days in jail for a misdemeanor or up to 180 days for a felony.
Another alternative is deferred adjudication. This is only available if you plead guilty as a first-time offender, but aggravated domestic assault does not qualify.
With deferred adjudication, sentencing will be postponed for a specific term. If you comply with probation terms, complete community service, and are not arrested again, you are discharged. The arrest, deferred adjudication, and dismissal will stay on your criminal record.
Domestic violence allegations often come with protective orders. These orders are designed to protect victims of abuse, but they are often abused by people who make false allegations during infidelity or contentious periods of divorce or child custody.
In Texas, there are three types of protective orders:
- Temporary protective orders. These temporary orders can be filed against you based on allegations and some type of evidence of domestic violence. You do not need to be present or arrested for the order to be issued.
- Permanent protective orders. This order requires a hearing for which you are notified and have the opportunity to appear. If issued, a permanent order lasts up to 2 years.
- Emergency protective orders. These are issued in a criminal, not family court. An emergency protective order may be filed if you are arrested.
Protective orders commonly order you to maintain a specific distance from the accuser and cease contact, although some friendly contact may be allowed. If you share a home with the accuser, you can be ordered to leave.
If a protective order is issued, it can:
- Prohibit you from contacting the petitioner or alleged victim in any way
- Restrict your right to purchase or own a firearm
- Restrict your right to see children you share with the alleged victim
- Restrict your right to enter your home
- Limit freedom of movement and the ability to see family
If a protective order has been filed against you or you have been notified of an upcoming protective order hearing, contact a domestic violence defense lawyer in Plano as soon as possible.
Defending Yourself Against Allegations of Domestic Violence in Plano, TX
Just because you’ve been accused of a crime of domestic violence, arrested, or formally charged with an offense doesn’t mean that your future is over. You have the right to defend yourself, and you must if you want to obtain the best possible outcome in your case.
There are many defense strategies that can be used to defend against domestic violence charges in Plano:
- You’ve been falsely accused of domestic abuse or violence
- You acted in self-defense or defense of another family member
- There is no compelling evidence – direct or circumstantial – to support the criminal charges against you
- You acted under force or duress
Many times, an effective strategy involves going on the offensive and attacking the validity of the state’s evidence and the foundation of its criminal case.
If evidence was obtained in violation of your rights – meaning you were the victim of an illegal arrest or an unreasonable search and seizure – the state can’t be permitted to use it against you. Our criminal defense attorneys in Plano, Texas will petition to have the tainted evidence dismissed and ask the court to toss the case against you entirely.
Schedule a Free Case Review with a Plano Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
A domestic violence conviction can have serious and life-long consequences. It isn’t just your freedom on the line: it’s also your good name and your rights you can lose. When you are facing a domestic violence charge, you deserve a vigorous legal defense to protect your freedom.
The Edgett Law Firm represents Plano residents facing family violence charges and related offenses. We serve clients across Collin County, Denton County, and Dallas County. Contact our law offices in Plano to schedule a free case review with an aggressive Plano domestic violence lawyer who will fight for you.