Domestic violence charges are serious and should not be taken lightly. What might seem like a simple domestic dispute to you, could be seen differently in a court of law. Suddenly, you could find yourself facing jail or prison if convicted of domestic assault. But are there alternatives to jail or prison?
With the right legal defense, you may be able to avoid going to jail or prison even if you are convicted of domestic assault. Texas Penal Code Sec. 22.01 addresses the crime of domestic assault. According to the law, a domestic assault occurs when a member of a family or household or dating partner assaults another member of that family. This assault must involve knowingly or recklessly causing bodily injury to that person. It can also involve threatening that person with bodily injury. It is important to know that even a threat can be considered domestic assault in the eyes of the law.
Even if you do not have any prior convictions, you will still face up to one year in jail for simple domestic assault. In addition, you can face other penalties, such as steep fines or the loss of your rights to possess firearms. In addition, individuals convicted of domestic assault may face scrutiny when applying for jobs, gaining custody of their children, or even holding certain working licenses.
Alternatives to Jail in Texas
Fortunately, Texas has alternatives to jail and prison if you are convicted of domestic assault. The two main alternatives are deferred adjudication and probation.
The courts may offer first-time offenders something known as “deferred adjudication.” To get this, you must plead guilty or no contest (if the court permits a no contest plea). The court then postpones the sentencing while you comply with certain court orders. This often includes avoiding further criminal arrests and finishing domestic violence offender treatment classes. It may also include paying restitution to the victim or performing volunteer work in the community.
With deferred adjudication, the court will dismiss the case and discharge the defendant if they complete the requirements. This is more beneficial than having a misdemeanor on your record. However, if you fail to complete the court’s requirements, the court can enter a conviction and impose a stricter sentence.
It is important to know that not all first-time offenders will be offered this option.
Another possibility is probation. The courts may decide to grant probation instead of jail or prison time. They may also choose to grant partial jail time and partial probation, such as 180 days in jail for a felony and then probation. Like deferred adjudication, the individual must comply with the probation conditions imposed by the court. If they do not, they must return to jail or prison to complete their sentence. Probation conditions are often stricter than other conditions and may include curfews, drug testing, and maintaining employment.
Avoiding Conviction Altogether
As you can see, there are alternatives to jail time if you are convicted of domestic assault. However, the best defense is one that avoids conviction altogether. These are serious charges, and you need a criminal defense lawyer on your side that can help you fight these charges and protect your future.
Your lawyer can look for any inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case and exploit those inconsistencies to your advantage. If conviction seems likely, your criminal defense attorney can advocate on your behalf for a reduced sentence, probation, or deferred adjudication. Without a lawyer on your side, you could face harsh consequences that could jeopardize your entire future.
Call Our Houston Criminal Defense Lawyers Immediately
After your arrest, you need a lawyer who believes in you and in protecting your future. At Roger G. Jain & Associates, P.C., our criminal defense lawyers will investigate your case from the start. We will find the facts to help prove your innocence and get the charges dismissed. We know how to navigate the complex legal process in Texas, and we fight aggressively for our clients every step of the way. Call us today at 713-981-0600 or fill out our confidential contact form. We are here to help you move forward into the future after a serious domestic violence charge.