By Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
Politicians in Austin frequently try to impress their constituents by getting tougher, and tougher, and tougher with these cases. The result are laws which seem to get worse and worse and are filled with trap doors designed to punish people forever.
Prosecution in these types of cases tends to be delegated to a specific division of most larger DA’s offices. Their approach is often a one-size-fits-all and is dictated by policy and their theories about domestic violence rather than the facts of any specific case. Some prosecutors will hear your side of the story out — and many others will pretend to hear you out. What the prosecutor really needs to do is fear they will lose if you took the case to trial. A person without a lawyer is definitely at a disadvantage.
The Law is Complex
Though the politicians in Austin and the prosecutors might feel as though everyone accused is guilty — the good news is the framers of the U.S. Constitution didn’t. There are strong constitutional protections in Assault/ Family Violence “AFV” cases from your right to confront witnesses under the 6th Amendment.
Also, there are several common defense which often apply in the form of self-defense or consent. Knowing how these defenses apply and work in a courtroom is not simple either.
Beware of Long-Term Trap Doors
AFV cases are laden with traps designed to ensnare those accused into pleading guilty. The state normally tries to levy an “affirmative finding of family violence” even when someone gets the case reduced or takes deferred adjudication. This finding can enhance future allegations to felonies, can prevent firearm ownership, and can even prevent future adoption… but not much of this is advertised on the front end.
Also – there are restrictions on hiding these cases from the public even where you’ve successfully completed a deferred adjudication which, again, can be very legally complex.
You Need A Lawyer
If you read the rest of my blog posts then you can see I’m not big on scare tactics. There are probably cases here and there where you might not need a lawyer. This isn’t one of them. Domestic assault is one of several legislative flash-points in Austin. Don’t do this alone!
*Jeremy Rosenthal is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is a Licensed Attorney in the State of Texas.