Category Archives: Specific Crimes

Defending You: Houston Domestic Violence Charges

Domestic violence or family assault refers to any form of abuse by one person against another in any relationship. Houston criminal defense lawyers have their hands full defending the accused parties in these cases.

The most commonly acknowledged form of family violence is physical, and for this reason, most people think that such abuse targets the weaker individual. However, it’s important to note that domestic abuse comes in various forms; from sexual to physical, emotional, psychological, economical and verbal threats of physical injury. Anyone can be a victim regardless of age group, gender, ethnicity and social groupings. There have been numerous cases of children, cohabitants, spouses and dating partners being victims. The result is traumatized individuals and broken families.

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Violence is shunned upon by societal morals and by law. In the state of Texas, it is illegal with several statutes covering the entire spectrum. Most laws in the U.S. against domestic violence are state laws varying from state to state. They’re not only constituted to improve how the victim is treated after the trauma but to aid in apprehending and prosecuting the perpetrators of violence.

Domestic assault law provides the criminal guidelines for punishing those who cause any form of harm, physical or otherwise, to others with whom they share a home or other close relationship. The degree of punishment, like most assault cases, is determined by intent. If there’s proof of intent to commit the assault, the punishment is harsher than when the strike results from reckless conduct. For instance, knocking someone down while running through a congested street can be termed as violence albeit unintended.

Acts that are perceived as upsetting or offensive, without causing actual physical harm might seem minor but are classified as an assault by provocative or offensive contact. They’re all prosecuted under Texas Penal Law. Depending on whether the perpetrator has or hasn’t been convicted of similar offenses in the past, the crime is classified as a third-degree felony or Class A misdemeanor respectively.

According to the Texas penal code, domestic violence is not just limited to legal or genetic family members. Its laws not only apply to current or past dating partners, spouses and close relatives, but also to those residing in the same household related by blood or affinity.

There are three crimes classified as domestic or family attacks in Texas: aggravated domestic attacks, domestic attacks and general continual violence in the home.

Domestic Assault

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As highlighted in Texas law, undertaking an offensive against any member of your family provides ground to find guilt. An attack mainly results from intentionally causing injury to another person, threatening or causing physical contact.

Aggravated Assault

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A person is convicted of intense familiar onslaught if he/she executes an assault against any member as highlighted. A person commits aggravated attacks in Texas if he/she knowingly causes severe bodily injury to another person, or displays a deadly weapon when committing an assault or threat. The weapon could be a bat, stick or firearm among others.

Continuous war against the Family

In adding to violent crimes, a person in Texas can be convicted of the crime of continuing assault against the home if he executes two in twelve months. A defendant can be convicted of this crime without previous conviction, and the two crimes need not have been committed against the same victim.

According to the Texas Department of Public safety, the most common form of altercation in the home in Texas is simple onslaughts, at seventy-three percent. Aggravated assault accounts for fifteen percent and intimidation accounts for 8.3%.

Regardless of the offenses, any accused individual is eligible to the services of a law attorney. If you are facing a domestic violence charge, you should consider hiring an attorney. An experienced attorney can assess and investigate your case and guide you on all the options you have from entering into a plea agreement to going to trial. Good representation can get you soft sentences such as community supervision or deferred adjudication.

Sex Offender Registration Offenses

In the state of Texas, felony convictions are accompanied by a hefty penalty. When felony crimes involve any type of sexual act or conduct, state prosecutors pursue criminals for the most severe penalty possible. Houston’s sex crime problem has slowly increased over the last few years. In many cases, when people are convicted of a crime related to sex they must register as a sex offender for the rest of their life. Otherwise, they’ll face prosecution for new charges and will likely be convicted unless they can find an effective sex offender registration violation lawyer in Houston that can be successful on their behalf.

National Sex Offender Registration

The United States now has a nationwide sex offender registration program that keeps track of everyone that has ever been convicted of a sex crime. As soon as the offender gets out of prison, they must immediately register themselves as a sex offender. Once officially registered, the person’s personal information and crimes are revealed on a public database. Anyone can go online and find the addresses to where sex offenders live in their local area.

Prolonged Consequences of Sex Offender Registration

If the convicted sex offender changes their residency, then they are required to register themselves again. As soon as the offender relocates they must contact the local law enforcement in that area and register their new address. Most state laws do not provide very much leeway time for this process to take place. People have been arrested for not registering themselves after they have moved into an area after a week or less.

Failure to Register as a Sex Offender

If a law enforcement agency finds out that a registered sex offender has moved and not registered their new address they will immediately have a warrant put out for their arrest.

If the sex offender gets their ID ran by a police officer somewhere and their current address does not match their sex offender registration address, they will be arrested on the spot for a sex offender registration violation.

The longer the offender goes without changing their address and re-registering, the worse their penalty will be once they get caught and charged for the registration violation.

Variations in Registration Period

Different offenders are required to register as sex offenders for different amounts of time depending on their sentence. Some offenders are required to register once a year for a set amount of time or life. Some have to stay registered for life and only have to register again when they relocate. Others only have to stay registered for ten years after they are released from prison.

Criminal Penalties: Sex Offender Violations

The penalties for a sex offender registration violation vary depending on how long and often the person was required to register. If the offender was only required to register for ten years, then he will face a state jail felony that can get him six months to two years in state jail and up to a $10,000 fine. Those that are required to register every year or for life and are arrested for a registration violation will face a third-degree felony. A third-degree felony in the state of Texas is punishable by two to ten years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

A sex offender registration violation is a serious crime with stiff penalties if convicted. The state of Texas has tough lawyers to prosecute every Houston sex crime. If accused of a sex offender violation contact an experienced sex crime defense lawyer today.

 

Sex Crimes and Texas Criminal Code

A sexual offense is any crime that includes or involves any type of sexual assault, unlawful sexual activity, sexual misconduct or unlawful pornography. Texas lawmakers are well known to be especially hostile towards sex offenders who perpetrate crimes against minors including online solicitation of under-age victims. Texas prosecutors are notorious for prosecuting sex offenders aggressively. If convicted, a perpetrator can expect a lengthy prison term as well as a requirement to register as a sex offender registry for life.

Sex Offender Registration in Texas

The purpose of the Sex Offender Registration Program in Texas is to keep track of convicted sex offenders and to provide the public with information and make them aware of sex offenders in their community. Attorney James Gardner from Austin, Texas says that the state has one of the toughest approaches to sexual offender registration. Mature and under-age perpetrators, who have been convicted of a “reportable conviction or adjudication”, are required to register on the online registry. Examples of the kinds of offenses which merit inclusion on the sex offender registry include

  • Any sexual assault
  • Kidnapping where it has been found that the perpetrator intended to commit sexual assault
  • Solicitation of a minor
  • Any subsequent indecent exposure conviction
  • Any sexual crime where the victim is less that 17 years of age.

Generally adult offenders are mandated to register for life. Juvenile sex offenders usually register until 10 years after the original conviction or longer if the sentence exceeds 10 years. However certain convictions will ensure that a sex offender is placed on the register permanently and cannot be removed. Examples of these serious crimes include

  • A sexual offense aggravated by violence
  • People trafficking
  • Inducing a child to become a prostitute
  • Involvement in distributing or possessing child pornography

Sex offenders who fail to register on the public sex offender registry in Texas are guilty of an additional felony and the sentence, if found guilty, is one year or more in prison.

Texas allows very few exceptions or exemptions from the obligations to register. While most young offenders can seek an exemption from the courts, adult offenders have very limited opportunity to seek an exclusion from compulsory registration. They can only ask the court for a registration exemption in very restricted cases.

Sex Offender De-registration

Under 2005 legislation certain sex offenders are permitted to petition to be discharged early from the sex offenders’ public register. The procedure allows the State to determine whether the sex offender is likely to pose an ongoing threat to the community and society. The advantage of the procedure is it frees up law enforcement resources to focus on those who are dangerous to society rather than offenders who are not a likely threat. Only certain offenders are eligible to be considered under the scheme.

The role of an Attorney

Anyone who has been charged with sexual offenses should seek the advice of an attorney without delay. The role of an attorney is to represent the clients’ best interest, to provide advice on the laws and if necessary to prepare a defense. A criminal attorney may also represent a client in an application for de-registration and early termination.