People in the Houston area could easily find themselves accused of an assault or other crime related to alleged domestic violence.
The criminal penalties for domestic crimes are serious. Depending on the circumstances, even a Texan without a criminal history could face a felony charge. Even if a charge is a misdemeanor, there is always the possibility of jail time and fines.
After a conviction, a court could also impose terms of probation, which might include mandatory counseling and other strict terms.
In particular, a protective order issued in connection with a domestic violence case may seriously interfere with the accused person’s life. They may even have to leave their home or risk an arrest for violating the protective order.
There can also be other significant consequences for domestic violence crimes
In part because of the possibility of serious criminal penalties, a person may be tempted to accept a plea deal if it keeps them out of jail and be able to move on with their life.
Accepting a good plea offer may be especially tempting for someone with no criminal history.
However, any criminal conviction for an offense related to domestic violence can have long-term consequences.
To give just a couple of examples, a non-citizen can face deportation, even for a single domestic violence conviction. Even after a single misdemeanor offense, a Texan may also lose their right to own or possess a firearm.
If an accused person is a parent, they may also have their rights to custody and parenting time-limited. Some professions and trades may also be closed to people with convictions related to domestic violence.
Before agreeing to anything, a person accused of domestic violence should evaluate their legal options carefully. Defenses for such charges may be available to them.