Domestic violence is also known as family violence in Texas, and crimes of this nature can carry some serious and very long-lasting consequences for an alleged offender. Many people who are accused of these types of crimes are right to worry about whether their voice will be heard in court in response to the allegations, and it can be very unsettling to have to try and navigate everyday life while still facing these charges.
No two crimes of domestic violence are ever the same, and each individual case is going to present its own possible unique defense claims. In general, some of the most common defenses fall under a couple of broader categories but each person needs to have the specific circumstances relating to their own case examined by a professional to achieve the most favorable outcome in court.
Dallas, TX Lawyer for Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges
Were you recently arrested for an alleged crime of domestic violence in the greater Dallas area? You will want to make certain that you take the time to speak to The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy about your case because they will be able to offer you the strongest possible defense against your criminal charges.
Our firm knows how to handle family violence cases and we will begin with our own independent investigation into the incident behind the charges so we can secure evidence that may be used to help your case. We will be happy to look over your case and discuss your options with you when you call (972) 233-5700 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.
One of the most troubling aspects of a domestic violence accusation is that the alleged event may not have even occurred. False allegations are disturbingly common when some spouses want to see alleged offenders arrested and the unfortunate truth is that police officers often take somebody into custody when responding to a domestic violence call even when there is no evidence to support the allegations.
When a person has been falsely accused of domestic violence, one of the first things an attorney will do is look for photographic evidence of any injuries that were caused in an episode of domestic violence. Without any such indications of harm, it may be difficult for a jury to accept that domestic violence even occurred.
False allegations can even be undone by the comments of the alleged victim, who may tell the police one story and then change key details in later retellings of the same event. You should always seek any possible witnesses to your alleged incident who can back up your story that you did not commit any act of domestic violence.
Keep in mind that Texas Family Code § 71.004 defines family violence as meaning an act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself, abuse, as that term is defined by Texas Family Code § 261.001(1)(C), (E), (G), (H), (I), (J), (K), and (M), by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household, or dating violence, as that term is defined by Texas Family Code § 71.0021.
Texas Family Code § 261.001(1)(C), (E), (G), (H), (I), (J), (K), and (M) provide the following definitions for abuse, which includes the following acts or omissions by a person: physical injury that results in substantial harm to the child, or the genuine threat of substantial harm from physical injury to the child, including an injury that is at variance with the history or explanation given and excluding an accident or reasonable discipline by a parent, guardian, or managing or possessory conservator that does not expose the child to a substantial risk of harm; sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare, including conduct that constitutes the offense of continuous sexual abuse of young child or children under Texas Penal Code § 21.02, indecency with a child under Texas Penal Code § 21.11, sexual assault under Texas Penal Code § 22.011, or aggravated sexual assault under Texas Penal Code § 22.021; compelling or encouraging the child to engage in sexual conduct as defined by Texas Penal Code § 43.01, including compelling or encouraging the child in a manner that constitutes an offense of trafficking of persons under Texas Penal Code § 20A.02(a)(7) or (8), prostitution under Texas Penal Code § 43.02(b), or compelling prostitution under Texas Penal Code § 43.05(a)(2),; causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing the photographing, filming, or depicting of the child if the person knew or should have known that the resulting photograph, film, or depiction of the child is obscene as defined by Texas Penal Code § 43.21, or pornographic; the current use by a person of a controlled substance as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code, in a manner or to the extent that the use results in physical, mental, or emotional injury to a child; causing, expressly permitting, or encouraging a child to use a controlled substance as defined by Chapter 481, Health and Safety Code; causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing a sexual performance by a child as defined by Texas Penal Code § 43.25; and forcing or coercing a child to enter into a marriage.
Texas Family Code § 71.0021 defines dating violence as an act, other than a defensive measure to protect oneself, by an actor that is committed against a victim or applicant for a protective order with whom the actor has or has had a dating relationship; or because of the victim’s or applicant’s marriage to or dating relationship with an individual with whom the actor is or has been in a dating relationship or marriage; and is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the victim or applicant in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault.
The key phrase in the Texas Family Code definition of family violence is “intended to,” as a person cannot accidentally cause family violence. There must be some intent to harm another person, so a person who accidentally harms a member of their family or household should not be guilty of any criminal offense.
Texas Penal Code § 9.31 provides that a person is justified in using force against another when and to the degree, the actor reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect the actor against the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful force. The actor’s belief that the force was immediately necessary as described by this subsection is presumed to be reasonable if the actor:
- knew or had reason to believe that the person against whom the force was used unlawfully and with force entered, or was attempting to enter unlawfully and with force, the actor’s occupied habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment; unlawfully and with force removed, or was attempting to remove unlawfully and with force, the actor from the actor’s habitation, vehicle, or place of business or employment; or was committing or attempting to commit aggravated kidnapping, murder, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated robbery;
- did not provoke the person against whom the force was used; and
- was not otherwise engaged in criminal activity, other than a Class C misdemeanor that is a violation of a law or ordinance regulating traffic at the time the force was used.
The use of force against another is not justified, however:
- in response to verbal provocation alone;
- to resist an arrest or search that the actor knows is being made by a peace officer, or by a person acting in a peace officer’s presence and at his direction, even though the arrest or search is unlawful unless the resistance is justified under Subsection (c);
- if the actor consented to the exact force used or attempted by the other;
- if the actor provoked the other’s use or attempted use of unlawful force, unless the actor abandons the encounter, or clearly communicates to the other his intent to do so reasonably believing he cannot safely abandon the encounter; and the other nevertheless continues or attempts to use unlawful force against the actor; or
- if the actor sought an explanation from or discussion with the other person concerning the actor’s differences with the other person while the actor was carrying a weapon in violation of Section 46.02; or possessing or transporting a weapon in violation of Section 46.05.
If you believe that your actions were in accordance with Texas’ self-defense laws, you could have a valid claim against a domestic assault charge or other family violence crime.
Family Violence – Liberty and Justice for Texas | Office of the Attorney General — Visit this attorney general website to learn more facts about family violence, including its prevalence. You can also find information for victims. There is also information for advocates.
A Guide to the Texas Criminal Legal System for Family Violence Victims — Use this TexasLawHelp.org website to learn how Texas law defines the crime of family violence and what to do when a family violence crime occurs. Steps in the criminal justice process are outlined. You can also find a full PDF guide to the Texas criminal legal system.
Find a Dallas, TX Attorney for Defenses to Domestic Violence Charges | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy
If you were arrested for an alleged crime of family violence in Dallas or a surrounding area of Dallas County, make sure that you do not wait to get yourself legal representation. The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy handles scores of domestic violence cases and knows what has to be done to win in court.
You need to know that prosecutors can be inclined to seek very steep penalties on alleged offenders in domestic violence cases, but our firm will be able to help you restore your good name. You can have us look at your case when you call (972) 233-5700 or contact us online to receive a free consultation.