Being convicted of domestic violence can have devastating consequences for the parties involved, especially if the conviction was based on untrue or exaggerated allegations. Fortunately, just because a person has been charged with domestic violence does not mean that he or she will need to spend time in prison. In fact, there are a number of different alternatives to jail or prison for those convicted of domestic violence, so if you have been accused of domestic or family violence, it is important to reach out to an experienced Houston domestic violence attorney who can walk you through your legal options and help you formulate a strong defense.
Potential Alternatives to Jail Time
Whether a person qualifies for alternatives to incarceration after being convicted of domestic violence depends on the nature of his or her charges, including whether he or she was accused of domestic assault, aggravated domestic assault, or continuous violence against the family. In most cases, avoiding prison will only be possible for those who are first time offenders convicted of domestic assault, in which no aggravating factors were involved. As long as a person doesn’t have any previous domestic assault convictions on his or her record, he or she could qualify for deferred adjudication or community supervision in lieu of jail time.
One alternative that is often available to first time offenders is known as deferred adjudication, which is typically granted to defendants who plead guilty in exchange for a postponement in sentencing. During that period of time, the defendant will be required to comply with probation orders, such as maintaining full time employment, avoiding additional acts of violence, completing domestic violence offender treatment, paying restitution, and performing community service. If these tasks are completed to the court’s satisfaction, the case will be dismissed and the defendant will be discharged. The arrest, the deferred adjudication, and the case’s dismissal will still, however, stay on the defendant’s criminal record. If, on the other hand, a person fails to fulfill these requirements, he or she will be convicted and could face up to a year in prison.
It’s important to note that deferred adjudication isn’t usually available as an alternative to incarceration when the crime in question is aggravated domestic assault, or continuous violence against a family member.
Probation or Community Supervision
Like deferred adjudication, defendants who plead guilty to domestic assault can avoid a lengthy prison sentence by agreeing to a term of probation or community supervision. In some cases, a court could still require a defendant to serve some jail time (usually no more than 30 days for a misdemeanor) prior to the start of community supervision. Once the probation period begins, the defendant will need to satisfy the court’s conditions, which could include meeting with a probation officer regularly, complying with rules regarding curfews, employment, drug tests, treatment, and education and avoiding engaging in additional criminal activity. Defendants who fail to abide by these rules will be forced to complete their sentence in jail or prison.
Accused of Domestic Violence?
Please contact the dedicated domestic violence lawyers at The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates for help defending yourself against accusations of domestic violence in Houston, League City, or Galveston. A member of our team can be reached at (281) 280-0100 or via online message.