By Texas Criminal Defense Lawyer Jeremy Rosenthal
Today I’m starting a series of articles discussing the legal aspects of family assault cases in Texas. My goal with these blogs – as is my goal with all blogs – is to convey as much accurate information in a user friendly format as I can without overloading the reader.
Domestic violence has been a very hot topic before the COVID-19 pandemic and the issues have only become more exacerbated since the all of the lockdowns, school closings, and sheltering-in-place the pandemic has triggered. Arrests for domestic and family violence are like a hand-grenade which is rolled into the living room which can threaten to make what is often already a dysfunctional situation worse.
I find domestic assault arrests also to be the most commonly underestimated arrest by folks ensnared in these situations. I hope to give some of the complexity context in this series too.
DV Cases: A 40,000 Foot View
The most defining aspect of domestic violence cases from a lawyer’s standpoint is the “he said/ she said” nature of the allegations. This sounds simple but we just don’t see this dynamic much in charges such as DWI, theft, or drug possession. Even crimes against children are somewhat different because in those cases the allegations can be from years past and there are vast differences in the sophistication levels of accusing child and accused adult.
A family assault arrest typically comprises of police showing up to someone’s house after a 911 call to find the folks huffing and puffing, often bleeding, and sometimes impaired. The police are then asked to restore the peace and unwind, diagnose, then make a judgement call about who in a complicated relationship sometimes spanning decades is an aggressor. Then the legal system takes hold making the web seemingly unmanageable.
Very few cases also have the level of disagreement between prosecutors and defense lawyers than assault of a family member as well. Prosecutors and defense lawyers fight over what happened at any particular incident, the very nature of a complex or long relationship and what should be done in terms of long term solutions whether a dating couple remains together or not. Further domestic violence charges carry additional penalties which up the ante in defending them.
My Blog Series on Assault Against a Family Member
I’ll break this down into several components in this series so they make sense. First, I’ll cover the technical aspects of the laws and specific charges:
- Domestic Violence Charges – Blog 2: What is an Assault?
- Domestic Violence Charges – Blog 3: What Constitutes a Dating or Household Relationship?
- Domestic Violence Charges – Blog 4: Different Charges and Punishment Levels;
- Domestic Violence Charges – Blog 5: Affirmative Findings of Family Violence;
- Domestic Violence Charges – Blog 6: Impeding Breath or Circulation (Choking);
- Domestic Violence Charges – Blog 7: Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon;
- Domestic Violence Charges – Blog 8: Emergency Protective Orders (EPOs);
- Domestic Violence Charges – Blog 9: Violation of a Protective Order;
Defenses Common in Family Abuse and Assault Cases:
- Domestic Violence Charges – Blog 10: How Defenses Work in Assault Cases;
- Domestic Violence Charges – Blog 11: Self Defense;
- Domestic Violence Charges – Blog 12: The Consent Defense (i.e. Mutual Combat);
Common Prosecutorial Views/ Tactics in DV Cases:
- Domestic Violence Charges – Blog 13: The Duluth Model and Reciprocal Intimate Partner Violence;
- Domestic Violence Charges – Blog 14: Common Prosecution Trial Tactics;
- Domestic Violence Charges – Blog 15: Affidavits of Non-Prosecution and What Happens with the “Victim” Doesn’t Want the Case Prosecuted?;
Defending Domestic Violence Charges
- Domestic Violence Charges – Blog 16: Areas of Defense Focus;
- Domestic Violence Charges – Blog 17: Plea Bargaining;
- Domestic Violence Charges – Blog 18: Preparing for Mitigation and Punishment.
*Jeremy Rosenthal is certified in criminal law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He is recognized as a Texas Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters.