Family violence is defined under Texas Family Code § 71.004 as an act by a family or household member against another member of the family or household intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or is a threat that reasonably places the other 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 under Texas Family Code § 261.001(1)(C), Texas Family Code § 261.001(1)(E), Texas Family Code § 261.001(1)(G), Texas Family Code § 261.001(1)(H), Texas Family Code § 261.001(1)(I), Texas Family Code § 261.001(1)(J), Texas Family Code § 261.001(1)(K), and Texas Family Code § 261.001(1)(M), by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household, or dating violence as defined under Texas Family Code § 71.0021. An experienced Fort Worth domestic violence attorney can help alleged offenders in these cases avoid the serious consequences of possible convictions.

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Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and Southlake, TX

Were you recently arrested for a domestic violence crime? Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (817) 422-5350 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Southlake, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and surrounding areas of Tarrant County, TX area. You will want to be sure you have a criminal defense attorney who is capable of handling these types of criminal charges.

The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy understands the many ways in which family violence offenses affect the lives of alleged offenders and works tirelessly to help people overcome criminal charges. Contact us online to get a consultation so our firm can sit down with you and really discuss your case in greater detail.

Collateral Consequences of a Domestic Violence Charge

A domestic violence conviction not only involves severe penalties like possible jail or prison time and fines but also many other long-term consequences. A person can experience several hardships relating to many other areas of their life long after the completion of court sentences and probationary periods.

Protective Orders

After a judge grants a protective order in relation to a domestic violence case, the court will order an alleged offender to not commit any violence against an alleged victim, to not come within a certain distance of where the alleged victim lives, works, or attends school, to not communicate with the alleged victim in any manner, whether by phone, mail, or any electronic/online communication, to refrain from any threatening, harassing, annoying, alarming, abusing, tormenting, or engaging in embarrassing behavior towards the alleged victim, and to not commit any of the above acts towards the alleged victim or their household members. When an alleged victim satisfies legal requirements to apply for a protective order, their application for a temporary ex-parte protective order and protective order will be filed with the District Court. 

A District Court judge is presented with an alleged victim’s affidavit, and when there is a clear and present danger of family violence, sexual assault, stalking, or trafficking, the court can issue a temporary ex-parte protective order. A protective order hearing will usually be scheduled within 20 days of the issuance of a temporary ex-parte protective order.

An alleged offender is served in person with the application for a protective order, the alleged victim’s sworn affidavit, and the temporary ex-parte protective order. After an alleged offender is served, the alleged victim will need to appear in court. 

If an alleged offender is not served in person before the court date, then a reset will be obtained, including an extension for the temporary ex-parte order, and service will also be re-attempted. If service cannot be obtained, the case will not be legally able to proceed, and the alleged victim will be contacted by their victim advocate about their next steps. 

If an alleged offender appears in court and agrees to a protective order, an agreed protective order is presented to the District Court judge for approval. If an alleged offender fails to appear in court, a default protective order will be presented to the District Court judge for approval. 

If an alleged offender does not agree to the protective order, a hearing will be required where the alleged victim and any witnesses for both parties testify. A District Court judge will render a decision on whether to issue a court-ordered protective order. 

Violations of protective orders must be reported to law enforcement so criminal charges can be filed. The duration of protective orders may vary depending on the type of abuse involved (stalking, dating violence, sexual assault, family violence), the seriousness of the harm, whether children were present, whether an arrest was made, past family violence, the likelihood of future violence, among many other factors. 

Many protective orders for family violence last two years, but they can essentially last for any duration. Sexual assault and stalking protective orders may last for life.

Employment Consequences

Several people in many different lines of work could see their job prospects diminished because of domestic violence convictions because these are again violent crimes. A significant number of employers express reservations about employing such people so you could be denied employment when you apply or possibly even terminated if you are convicted while working.

Virtually all employers in Texas conduct criminal record checks. Some types of jobs can take hard lines on family violence charges when applicants will be working with vulnerable people.

Housing Difficulties

Because family violence and domestic violence both use the word violence, several landlords do not rent to people accused of crimes of violence. The result is that domestic violence convictions often have staggering consequences when it simply concerns finding a place to live.

Immigration Consequences

People who are not yet United States citizens but are convicted of domestic violence crimes may be subject to removal from the United States. If an alleged offender is in the process of petitioning to become a lawful permanent resident, a conviction could disqualify them for lacking good moral character.

Child Custody Consequences

If an alleged offender in a family violence case has children with the alleged victim, then a domestic violence conviction can negatively impact child custody matters. If a protective order is issued, an alleged offender may only be allowed supervised visits, meaning that an alleged offender cannot spend any time alone with the child and needs to have another adult present for all visits with the child. 

When an alleged offender is fighting for custody, they are at risk of losing it because of a domestic violence conviction. It will be a rebuttable presumption that an alleged offender is not fit to have custody or visitation with children when the child was either the victim of family violence or witnessed domestic violence.

Loss of Firearm Rights

As the United States Department of Justice points out, the Lautenberg Amendment amended the Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 by banning the possession of firearms by individuals convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence. Texas also prohibits people convicted of certain domestic violence misdemeanors from possessing firearms for five years following their release from confinement or community supervision, and state law further prohibits people from possessing firearms while they are subject to domestic violence-related protective orders.

Hunting and Fishing Licenses

Texas will deny any person convicted of domestic violence a hunting or fishing license. This right cannot be restored.

Higher Education

People attempting to go to college or pursue any other means of higher education could be ineligible for federal financial aid because of domestic violence convictions, and many colleges or universities also may be more likely to deny applications because of such convictions. Current students facing family violence charges can also be subject to discipline.

Professional Licenses

Anybody seeking a professional license or security clearance could also face a new round of trouble if they are convicted of a family violence offense. People who have active licenses may see their licenses suspended, and new applicants could be denied licenses.

Travel Rights

Domestic violence convictions can prohibit people from being able to travel internationally. If an offense is a felony, it is not uncommon for many countries to deny entry.

Consequences of Public Benefits

People convicted of family violence might lose access to major federal, state, and local social welfare programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Benefits might not be affected when a person does not serve jail time, but felony convictions often result in loss of these rights.

Fort Worth Domestic Violence Resources

Family Violence Facts |  Liberty and Justice for Texas — View this Attorney General of Texas website that discusses what family violence is and how prevalent the crime is in the state. There is also information about who the victims of family violence are and how they are affected. You can also find information about the Crime Victims’ Compensation (CVC) Program.

Marshall v. State, 479 S.W.3d 840 (Tex. Crim. App. 2016) — On September 5, 2005, Patrick Marshall and his wife, Shawne Marshall, physically fought and the fight moved into the bedroom where Marshall pushed Shawne onto the bed, straddled her, and put a pillow over her face, holding down each side of the pillow, affecting her breathing. The jury charge in the case instructed the jury to return a guilty verdict if they found that Patrick Marshall “did then and there intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impede the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of Shawne Marshall by blocking the nose or mouth of Shawne Marshall with a pillow,” and Shawne Marshall was then and there a member of the defendant’s family or household. The jury convicted Marshall under Penal Code § 22.01, felony assault against a family member, but Marshall claimed in his appeal that the trial judge erred because the jury could return a guilty verdict without finding that he caused a bodily injury. The court of appeals agreed that the jury charge was erroneous, found the error resulted in egregious harm, vacated the conviction, and remanded for a new trial but rejected Marshall’s evidentiary insufficiency claim. The Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas ruled that when the jury found that Marshall impeded Shawne’s normal breathing, it necessarily found that he caused a bodily injury, overruled Marshall’s legal-sufficiency challenge, reversed the court of appeals’ holding that the erroneous jury charge caused egregious harm, and reinstated the jury’s verdict.

Find A Tarrant County Defense Attorney for Domestic Violence Charges | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy

If you were arrested for a family violence offense in Tarrant County, do not risk the many consequences of a conviction. You will want to be sure you have a skilled criminal defense lawyer handling your case so you can achieve the most favorable outcome resulting in the fewest possible consequences.

The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy defends alleged offenders in various kinds of domestic violence cases and knows how to help people work to overcome the significant challenges involved in proving innocence. Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (817) 422-5350 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Southlake, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and surrounding areas of Tarrant County, TX area.

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