Fort Worth Family Violence Defense Attorney
What can you promise?
I promise to review each of my client’s cases thoroughly. Once I have completed this review, I personally meet with each client to review their case and the State’s evidence. In addition to the State’s evidence, I learn about the client’s wishes, fears, livelihood, and things that are uniquely important to this individual and unique client. I will work with the client to form the best strategy tailored to his/her situation. Together, the client and I work together to protect their livelihoods, reputation, and rights.
Another attorney promised to get my family violence case dismissed, can you?
Two of the most important things in the course of my representation are honesty and trust. These concepts do not apply only to the client. It is important that I am honest and trustworthy from the perspective of the client. When a person calls my office, the caller is afraid. It would be inappropriate to prey upon this fear by making false promises.
Despite the common advertising strategy, no attorney can promise to get your charges dismissed in any case. This is even truer in family violence cases because prosecutors will almost never dismiss the case.
Why do you treat family violence cases differently?
If an attorney does not treat a domestic violence case differently, the consequences could ruin the client’s life.
Any level family violence charge is very serious. Prosecutors will sometimes dismiss cases at the request of the victim. However, the prosecutors in Tarrant County adhere to a strict no drop policy. This means that the District Attorney will not dismiss a domestic violence case once they have filed it. This is true even if the alleged victim requests the District Attorney’s Office drop the case.
Prosecutors can charge assaults involving family violence as misdemeanors or felonies. This decision depends on the severity of the alleged conduct. Even if a person is convicted of a Class C misdemeanor assault with family violence, the person will not be able to own a firearm. A felony conviction will bar someone from voting.
Often, family violence cases accompany divorce and child custody cases. A conviction can be used as evidence in a divorce or child custody proceeding. It is important that a defense attorney understands this before advising you to accept or decline a plea agreement.
What do you mean by the term family violence?
In some cases, courts can make a special finding in the court’s judgment (“family violence finding”). This is a finding that family violence occurred during this case. This finding is available when the alleged victim is related by marriage or blood to the person charged with the criminal offense.
After conviction of a family violence offense, the judge will make the family violence finding. As discussed previously on this page, this finding can have dire consequences.
What is dating violence?
Courts can also make a family violence finding in cases where the accused is or has been dating the alleged victim. This extends to another person the alleged victim is married to or dating.
Can a judge make a family violence finding in every criminal case?
No. Fortunately, courts can only make a family violence cases in a specific set of offenses. A partial list includes the following crimes:
- Terroristic Threat;
- Aggravated Assault;
- Unlawful Restraint;
Is there any way a prosecutor will drop a domestic violence case?
Yes, prosecutors will drop family violence cases in very limited circumstances. The alleged victim has to jump through a number of hoops. For more information please read Domestic violence: Dropping a case in Fort Worth in the Defend Your Future Blog. Even after the alleged victim completes all of the steps, the District Attorney’s Office alone makes this decision.
How does the no drop policy work in practice?
There is pressure on police officers to make an arrest during a domestic violence call. This is the beginning of the rock slide. Following the arrest, the arresting officer will file a case with the District Attorney’s Office. Very often, the District Attorney will review the family violence case, and file it with a court. Once it is sent to the court, the no drop policy is in effect.
Can I get my records sealed, expunged, or hidden?
Convictions for family violence offenses cannot be expunged, and cannot be hidden with an order of non-disclosure. However, the court can order the records be expunged if the charges are dismissed or if the jury or court acquits the person.
Contact Fort Worth Family Violence Defense attorney Brian Newman