Domestic violence is a serious problem in our society and treated seriously in the state of Texas’ criminal justice system. The very seriousness of the charges–which often bring about the loss of reputation for the accused, even before a trial–mean that a vigorous legal defense is more necessary than ever. No one wants to see someone unfairly accused of anything, much less a crime as rightly reviled as family violence is.
A Midland domestic violence defense attorney is necessary for someone facing this severe charge. Attorney Tommy Hull is a former prosecutor who understands well that not all defendants are bad people and not all defendants are guilty. He’ll give you the fighting chance you deserve on your day in court.
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“He is very professional and takes care of business.”- Leah S.
What Makes a Crime Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is often called family violence in the Texas system, precisely because it involves crimes–against family members or intimate partners. It is typically an assault or a sex crime. These are both crimes regardless of who the victim is, but can be elevated to the level of family violence if the victim is any one of the following…
- The spouse or former spouse of the accused
- The romantic partner or former romantic partner of the accused
- The child or foster child of the accused
- Relatives by blood or by adoption
- Anyone currently living under the same roof as the accused
While assault and sex crimes are the most common types of family violence offenses, they can also include kidnapping, stalking and even homicide.
Penalties for Family Violence in Texas
Charges for family violence in Texas can be a low-level Class C misdemeanor, which results in a maximum penalty of a $500 fine. They can also be 1st-degree felonies, which has a max sentence of life in prison. Suffice it to say, that’s a broad range and the quality of the defense attorney may well go a long way in deciding what types of charges are ultimately filed and if those charges stick.
General dividing lines between misdemeanors and felonies can involve the previous track record of the accused. A defendant with prior convictions for domestic assault can be charged with a third-degree felony on the grounds of continuous violence against the family. It matters not if the previous assault was against a different person entirely.
The severity of injuries plays a key role in what charges are filed, regardless of the defendant’s previous record. Broken bones or anything else requiring a trip to the hospital can be charged as a felony. The same goes for any action that involves strangulation or suffocation attempts.
Even a 3rd-degree felony conviction–the lowest of the possible felony charges–has a minimum 2-year prison sentence and the possibility of ten years behind bars. If a deadly weapon is involved, the charges can escalate to 1st-degree felony with its life in jail possibility.
Regardless of whether a family violence charge is a misdemeanor or felony, a conviction means the loss of the defendant’s right to possess a firearm .
Facing family violence charges can make a defendant’s future seem bleak. A Midland defense lawyer like Attorney Tommy Hull is there to provide the kind of hope that comes from having a lawyer who listens to you, believes in you and fights for you. Call Tommy W. Hull PC today at (432) 223-0044 or contact him online to set up a free consultation.
Family Violence Defense Strategies in Texas
Family violence cases can often be one word’s person against the other. It’s the prosecution who must prove guilt. That means unless there is some type of photographic evidence or a police report that took place in the immediate aftermath of the alleged incident, the prosecution will face a difficult challenge. It’s the job of the defense attorney to remind the jury that guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
Character witnesses can be a valuable asset to a defendant in a case like this, especially if hard evidence is lacking. If a defendant can document they were somewhere else when the alleged incident happened, that’s certainly a strong defense.
Texas law requires that any form of assault be done willingly and knowingly. It can happen in the heat of the moment, where something happens that is simply a very unfortunate accident. Furthermore, Texas law also gives everyone the right to self-defense. Was the defendant in fear for their own safety when taking an alleged action? If the defendant believes so and testifies to this in court, the burden lies on the prosecution to prove otherwise.
Attorney Tommy W. Hill spent years as a prosecutor and knows all about the burdens they face. Now that he’s a defense lawyer, he knows the best ways to go about challenging the evidence they bring forward.
Everyone deserves a vigorous and zealous legal defense, especially on a crime that can scar someone’s reputation and record like family violence can.