Domestic violence is taken extremely seriously in Texas, and there are many circumstances in which spouses, partners, and others can suffer immensely at the hands of a family member who engages in domestic violence. According to the Center for Prosecutor Integrity, false accusations of domestic violence are not especially common, but they also are not rare. In many cases where false accusations of domestic violence are made, the parties involved in the case are also involved in a child custody dispute. Indeed, about 27 percent of cases involving false accusations of domestic violence occur within the context of child custody disputes. If you are falsely accused of domestic violence, what steps do you need to take in order to protect yourself and to limit the risk of these accusations affecting your ability to spend time with your children?
1. Understand the Allegations You Are Facing
Domestic violence in Texas is a relatively broad term that refers to different types of criminal acts involving assault or assaultive offenses under the Texas Penal Code. To be clear, you will not be arrested for or charged with the specific offense of “domestic violence,” but rather will face charges for a type of assaultive offense or other violent crime when you are accused of domestic violence.
2. Avoid Contact with the Person Who Has Made Domestic Violence Accusations
Even if you know that the accusations against you have been entirely fabricated and you are certain that the party making the allegations has no proof that you have engaged in any kind of violent act, it is important to avoid any and all contact with the person making the accusation. In particular, if that person has already sought a temporary protective order, you must follow all of the instructions on that order. If you currently share minor children with that person and need to arrange for picking up or dropping off your child while remaining in compliance with the temporary order, you should seek advice from your lawyer about how to proceed.
3. Gather As Much Evidence As Possible to Support Your Case
It is important to gather and retain any evidence that may be relevant to a domestic violence case and the accusations you are facing. If you had email or text exchanges with the person accusing you of domestic violence, be sure to keep those exchanges. You can also obtain phone records from your cell phone carrier, and you should note the names and contact information for any witnesses that may be able to attest to your version of events.
4. Seek Help from a Domestic Violence Lawyer
Most importantly, make sure to hire an experienced Texas domestic violence lawyer to assist you with your defense. If you are convicted of a domestic violence-related offense in Texas, not only will you face criminal penalties such as jail time, but you can also face restrictions on child custody (known as conservatorship and possession under Texas law).
Contact a Domestic Violence Defense Attorney in Texas
If you have been accused of domestic violence, it is critical to begin working on a defense strategy with one of our Texas domestic violence attorneys. Contact The Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates for more information.