The difference between an argument and a crime is slight in Houston, Texas. Every day, people are arrested on domestic violence charges. While some are warranted, sadly, many are not. There are dramatic consequences to these allegations that can affect important rights. Michael Pham has defended his clients’ rights to see their children, to hunt or to keep a firearm for their protection. False allegations of spousal abuse or domestic violence are common, and they are often used as a leverage tool in divorce and custody cases.
Too often, domestic violence cases in and around Houston arise out of a “he said/she said” situation. When the police are called, little if any investigation takes placed, and usually both parties are arrested and taken to jail. One would think where there is conflicting evidence of what happened with neither party more believable than the other, it would result in no arrest. However, this is rarely the case, with the police deciding that action is better than no action.
The Texas domestic violence laws are fairly specific about who may claim to be a victim of domestic violence, however the list is so long that almost anyone can claim it:
- a current or former spouse
- a child of a current or former spouse
- a person with whom the offender has a child or children
- a foster child or foster parent of the offender
- a family member of the offender by blood, marriage, or adoption
- someone with whom the offender lives, and
- a person with whom the offender has or had an ongoing dating or romantic relationship
In addition, the State of Texas allows three different types of domestic violence charges. The most basic is simple domestic assault. Under Texas law, a person is guilty of domestic assault if he or she intentionally causes bodily injury to another person or threatens to do so. Under that same statute, a person can be found guilty of domestic violence if he or she threatens any bodily contact knowing that the “victim” might find it offensive. In effect, a person must be a mind reader. This charge constitutes a Class A misdemeanor unless the person has any previous convictions for the same offense. Then, it becomes a felony. However, aggravated assault can be charged if the prosecutor deems the injury “serious,” or if a weapon is used.
In these cases, if either a deadly weapon is used or the offender causes serious bodily injury, Texas deems it to be a second degree felony. However, if both factors occur, it is a first degree felony.
In addition to the domestic violence laws, Texans can be charged with Continuous Violence Against the Family if he or she commits two domestic assaults in twelve months. This law is particularly dangerous because the two domestic assaults need not be convictions or even arrests. Simply, the “victim” can allege that assaults have happened before and the accused can be charged with this Third Degree Felony.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges for domestic violence charges, and you want an experienced and aggressive Houston criminal defense lawyer, contact attorney Michael H. Pham at (713) 236-7791.