The Burden of Proof in a Domestic Violence Case

September 14th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Domestic Violence

In domestic violence cases, as with any criminal matter, prosecutors may rely on circumstantial and/or direct evidence to establish a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Put another way, a jury can infer that domestic violence occurred from many smaller pieces of indirect evidence even when there is no direct accusation from the victim. Indeed, […]

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When Is It “Unfair Prejudice” for a Prosecutor to Bring Up Additional Allegations in a Domestic Violence Case?

August 12th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Domestic Violence

An issue that often comes up in the trial of domestic violence cases is the admission of evidence regarding “extraneous offenses.” That is to say, if you are accused of assaulting a family member, can the prosecution introduce allegations of similar prior acts as evidence against you? The short answer is that such evidence is […]

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Can My Ex Testify About “Prior Bad Acts” in a Criminal Domestic Violence Trial?

July 16th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Domestic Violence

As a general rule, prosecutors are not allowed to introduce “character evidence” against a defendant at trial. In other words, if you are accused of a particular crime, the prosecution cannot tell the jury about other offenses you may have committed in the past to show you have a “bad character.” Such “extraneous offenses” are […]

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What Happens If I Do Not Attend “Anger Management” Classes Following a Domestic Violence Conviction?

June 12th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Domestic Violence

Criminal domestic violence charges do not automatically mean jail time. In many cases, particularly with first-time offenders, a judge will sentence a defendant to probation. But probation–or community supervision, as it is known in Texas–carries with it a number of conditions. And if you do not strictly follow all of these conditions, you risk ending […]

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What Evidence Is Needed to Prove Domestic Violence by Strangulation in Texas?

May 12th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Domestic Violence

Domestic violence allegations can quickly lead to felony charges depending on the circumstances. Under Texas law, it is a second-degree felony when a person previously convicted of domestic violence is later charged with “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of” a family member “by applying pressure to the […]

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When Is Hearsay Admissible in a Domestic Violence Case?

April 13th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Domestic Violence

A criminal domestic violence case does not necessarily mean jail time. The trial court has the discretion to instead sentence a defendant to a period of probation–known as community service in Texas. But probation is not a “get out of jail free” card. The defendant must comply with a strict set of requirements, including refraining […]

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How Throwing a Beer Can at Your Partner Can Land You in Jail for 25 Years

March 16th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Domestic Violence

A conviction on domestic violence charges can land you in prison for a very long time. Defendants often face an uphill battle in these cases due to the emotionally charged nature of domestic (or family) violence allegations. This is why it is essential to make sure police and prosecutors follow the law when it comes […]

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How Domestic Violence Can Raise Misdemeanor Assault to a Felony

February 12th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Domestic Violence

Domestic violence can elevate a misdemeanor charge into a felony offense. For example, under Section 22.01 of the Texas Penal Code, assault is normally prosecuted as a Class A misdemeanor. But if the assault is committed against a member of the defendant’s family and involves “intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation […]

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What Happens When a Judge Fails to Give Proper Jury Instructions in a Domestic Violence Case?

January 16th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Domestic Violence

Every Texas criminal defendant has the right to a trial by jury. This includes criminal allegations of domestic violence, or “family violence” as it is known in the Penal Code. A key element of a jury trial is that the judge must properly instruct jurors on the applicable law of each alleged offense. This means […]

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Can I Argue Self-Defense in a Domestic Violence Case?

December 9th, 2019 by Tad Nelson in Domestic Violence

Domestic violence cases often start out as a fight between spouses or partners. Prosecutors may charge one party as the sole aggressor. But what if the defendant was actually the victim? Can a defendant in a domestic violence case argue they were acting in self-defense? Houston Appeals Court Rejects Self-Defense Instruction Due to Lack of […]

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