Domestic Violence Proceedings
December 9th, 2020 by Tad Nelson in Domestic Violence
In Texas, allegations of domestic violence are taken very seriously. For this reason, a number of processes were put in place, from the time of the initial accusations and potential arrest, to the eventual resolution of a case, to ensure that victims are protected and that defendants who have been wrongly accused are not unfairly convicted. To learn more about what to expect in your own domestic violence proceedings, please contact an experienced Houston domestic violence lawyer who can advise you.
The Initial Report
The typical domestic violence matter starts with a report to law enforcement about an alleged incident of physical violence or threats. In most cases, the report is made by the person who is experiencing the harm, although it is not unheard of for a witness, such as a relative, neighbor, or child to make the initial call.
If the officer who responds to the emergency call believes that the accused did harm or is in danger of harming a family member, he or she can arrest the individual in question, at which point, the accused would be taken into custody and booked. Even if a person is not arrested, criminal charges can be filed at a later date and the alleged victim still has the right to request an Order of Protection.
Orders of Protection
After a domestic violence incident has been reported, the alleged victim often chooses to request an Order of Protection from a judge. If granted, these restraining orders will bar the accused from contacting the victim in any way and could also restrict use of a shared residence or the right to visitation. Violating a restraining order constitutes a felony offense, which means that offenders can suffer additional penalties if convicted of the domestic violence charge.
The Criminal Complaint
After responding to an emergency call regarding domestic violence, the officer in question will complete a written record of the events, including the names of the people involved, the date and time of the incident, and any claims of injury made by the victim. A copy of this report will automatically be sent to the Department of Family and Protective Services.
Once a state prosecutor receives the officer’s report, he or she will review the case and decide if enough evidence exists to pursue criminal charges. This is an important step in domestic violence proceedings, as it is the prosecutor, and not the victim, who ultimately decides whether to bring a case against the accused.
Once criminal charges have been filed, the accused will need to attend a court appearance, where he or she will enter a plea. If the accused doesn’t agree to a plea deal, the case will be scheduled for trial, where a prosecutor will attempt to prove that the defendant is guilty of domestic violence beyond a reasonable doubt. Fortunately, many domestic violence cases don’t go to trial, but are settled through negotiation. In the event that a person is found guilty, he or she faces jail time, fines, and probation.
Experienced Houston Domestic Violence Lawyers
If you have been accused of domestic violence, or were legitimately threatened or injured by a family member, contact The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates in Houston, Galveston, or League City at 281-962-7817 and a member of our legal team will walk you through the judicial process.