Houston, Texas Family Assault, Family Violence Information
Family Violence — When the hard book of the law meets with the soft tissue of human relationships.
Click for information about Family Violence & Texas Firearms Rights
Domestic Violence Information:
- Three Scenarios ~ or ~ Family Violence 101
- The Family In Crisis
- The Tricky Trio ~ and How Houston DA’s Short-Circuit the Cycle
- What You Need to Know
- Family Assault FAQ
Three Scenarios — or — Family Violence 101
Scenario A: The police need to yell at him and make him shape up
Otherwise known as: “Using Police as Parents to Punish”
Many Houston Family Violence charges start out as a call to police, not to have anyone arrested, mind you, but to have police shake their finger at the offending party. The wife or girlfriend is then dismayed to see her husband/boyfriend getting arrested and insists she never wanted charges filed. She just wanted to see him squirm and suffer a little
Scenario B: “I’ll show HIM.”
Otherwise known as ”Wives Crying Wolf”
In these cases, Complainant calls police and lies or exaggerates, under the passions of anger, hatred and desire for revenge, regarding whether and to what extent Defendant assaulted her. When the storm passes and the sun is shining once more, Complainant repents and desires to retract her statement, thinking she can stop the train once it’s left the station. If she tries, she is usually met head-on with threats from Prosecutors of charges being filed on her for False Report. Most Houston Family Violence Prosecutors have a strict policy never to dismiss charges of domestic violence – even when the alleged victim admits she cried wolf. And, who can fail to see the wisdom behind this policy, put in place to protect the truly battered woman from her worst enemy – herself. Yet such serious cases are the exception not the rule. Houston Family Violence Attorney Carl Haggard can often stop the train using his experience, legal skills and creativity. See our Results for some of our techniques.
Scenario C: “But I never called the police…”
Otherwise known as “Nosy Neighbors In Need of a Crusade”
In these cases, a witness, perhaps a neighbor, a “concerned citizen”, a child or relative in the home, calls police and misconstrues the whole incident. No matter. If the police are called, someone’s going to jail. Finding out the truth of the affair is not their job. It’s ours. And proving it didn’t actually happen as construed. And working to get it dismissed
The Family in Crisis
There are as many scenarios as there are couples having arguments; the above are only three common ones. But scratch any Domestic Violence case and you’re likely to uncover a whole family in trouble. We have the experience to assess the situation and the contacts and resources to get the help needed by our clients or their family members. In cases where an assault did take place, Houston Family Assault Attorney Carl Haggard is skilled in bringing to reason an overbearing prosecution, stopping the behemoth, and finding creative resolutions to the family crisis.
The Tricky Trio
- Victim presses charges.
- Victim reconciles.
- Victim drops charges.
Repeat 1, 2, and 3. Repeat again. And again… In an attempt to short-circuit this cycle, the Houston DA’s office set up a special section of the DA’s office. FCLD Special Prosecutors are trained to pursue these cases without the Complainant’s cooperation. What does this mean for the parties involved in Family Assault? It means basically two things:
- The State can bring charges without the victim’s involvement.
- The State can prosecute the case without the victim’s cooperation.
What You Need to Know about Family Assault Charges in Houston
Here’s some of what you need to know. Call us and we’ll tell you the rest.
- Family Assault charges are dealt with by Prosecutors more harshly than other types of Assault cases.
- There’s a special section of the DA’s office dedicated exclusively to prosecuting Family Violence cases.
- If you get arrested on a second charge of Family Assault, it can be enhanced to a Felony.
- A Family Assault charge can lead to your being prohibited from buying a gun.
- A person who violates a Protective Order can go to jail for up to one year.
- If a police officer becomes aware that a Protective Order is being violated, he is required by law to make an arrest without a warrant.
- A Domestic Violence case involving a real and serious injury, or one in which the Defendant has a prior record of Assault, is least likely to be dismissed at the request of the Complaining Witness.
Family Assault FAQ
What relationships qualify a case as Assault on a Family Member?
In general one of these 6 relationships must be established for a Houston, Texas Assault case to qualify as a Family Assault case:
- Married, currently or previously
- Living together, currently or previously
- Dating, currently or previously
- Engaged, currently or previously
- Related by blood, marriage or adoption
- Having a child [or guardianship] together
What’s a Protective Order in a Family Assault case?
A Protective Order is a court-issued, legally enforceable document prohibiting the Defendant from coming into the home, workplace, or anywhere near the Complainant or his/her children.
What’s a No-Contact Protective Order?
This is a Protective Order with additional protection for especially severe cases of Domestic Violence. In this type of Protective Order, the person accused of threatening can’t call, write or contact the Complainant at all except through lawyers.
How long does a Protective Order last?
Usually from 60 days [“cooling off” period] up to one year. Judges often make it a condition of the bond which would then make it last throughout of the case.
It’s a great hardship on our family to maintain a separate residence. Can Carl Haggard get the Judge to lift the Order?
In some cases, Mr. Haggard has been able to have these orders rescinded early. In general, the judges in Houston are quite reluctant to rescind these orders, but every case and judge is different. Call our office for an appointment to discuss your situation.
What’s the difference between a Protective and a Restraining Order?
If violated, Restraining Orders don’t carry jail sentences. Restraining Orders are done in civil court, instead of criminal court, and are thus a good option for cases in which no law has been broken. Violation of a Protective Order, however, is a criminal offense which will result in an arrest and may carry a jail penalty.
What are the different kinds of things Protective Orders can do?
They can require that the Defendant:
- Move out of the home of the protected person
- Stay 100 yards away from the home or work of the protected person
- Take anger management classes or other counseling
They can prohibit Defendant from:
- Contacting or harassing the protected person in any manner
- Purchasing a firearm
They can also include, as protected persons, other persons in the home of the Complainant, such as children or relatives.
What is the maximum punishment on this offense?
Up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.
Can it be enhanced?
Yes, with a prior conviction for Assault to Family Member the punishment can be up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Should my spouse / girlfriend / boyfriend come to court with me?
Yes. If there’s a Protective Order, however, come in separate cars and sit on opposite sides of the courtroom. Mr. Haggard will advise them as to what if anything to say to prosecutors.
What’s an Affidavit of Non-Prosecution?
This is a sworn statement of facts signed by the Complainant in an attempt to have the case dismissed.
If I or the Complainant sign an Affidavit, will the case be dismissed?
Not necessarily, although it can in some instances be a helpful part of an aggressive defense.
Legally, the State of Texas is the victim in criminal cases – not the Complainant. Thus, the desire of the Complainant not to pursue the case is not binding on the Prosecutors.