What happens if I am charged with Domestic Violence?

Police and prosecutors take Family Violence seriously

Unfortunately there are plenty of examples of domestic violence on the news. Anyone who has seen the horrific footage of Ray Rice in an elevator with his fiance will have difficulty forgetting it. So it is not surprising that any allegations of family violence will be taken seriously by police and prosecutors.


Family violence cases are notoriously difficult to prosecute because evidence is usually lacking, and the victims in these cases often recant their testimony or prefer not to testify. Sometimes, they will return to their abuser and continue the cycle of violence. It is exactly for this reason that prosecutors might not dismiss a case, even though they have weak evidence, and no cooperation from the alleged victim.


After years of “looking the other way”, police and courts are now taking full notice of domestic violence, but in some cases cast too wide of a net and penalize some who are wrongfully accused.  Additionally, in Travis County, all of these cases are assigned to County Court #4, which has the possibility of creating a bias against defendants when judges and prosecutors see the same type of crime day after day.


What happens if I have been charged with domestic assault?


A charge of family violence is very serious and can have far-reaching consequences on your life even before you are convicted. A judge will often grant a stay-away order as part of the conditions of bond. This makes it a crime to even see the subject of the order (the alleged victim of the assault). There can be other conditions as well, such as an ankle monitor or even house-arrest.


It is best to fully comply with these conditions. Failure to do so could lead to your bond being revoked, and you could lose favor with the judge. It is a good idea to hire a lawyer early in the process, because a lawyer can argue to have these conditions lessened or removed.


What is an “Affirmative Finding of Family Violence”?


A finding of family violence is an enhancement to the assault, and it can have serious and far-reaching consequences on your life. For example, if you are convicted of a crime that is enhanced with a family violence finding:


  • You can never own a firearm
  • You can never adopt a child
  • Future charges of Assault Family Violence (AFV) will be enhanced to a 3rd degree felony
  • It can create issues with immigration if you are not a citizen


These consequences are permanent, as it is nearly impossible to remove it from your record once you have been convicted. If you have been charged with AFV, contact an attorney immediately, because the consequences could be with you forever. A good attorney can reduce or eliminate any jail time, can help with annoying pretrial conditions, and can often negotiate a plea that does not include a finding of family violence. Give yourself a chance at the best outcome.


If you or a loved on has been charged with family violence, call our office for a free phone consultation. 512-677-5003. Rob Chesnutt is a criminal defense attorney serving Travis, Hays, and Williamson counties.

Ray Rice


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