Tag Archives: criminal

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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Top Houston defense lawyer lawyer Mark W. Bennett has defended hundreds of Houstonians accused of family violence related criminal offenses in Harris County.

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 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.

After You’re Busted

Most folks don’t understand the seriousness of being accused of a criminal charge in a state that is so harsh on criminal law enforcement as the state of Texas is. In Houston a number of people are in jail now, at the Harris County jail, for crimes they likely did not commit, or to simply await trial due to the fact that they are unable to afford bail bond as a result of their socioeconomic status.

Talk with a Lawyer in Houston

The most important thing you can do if you are arrested for criminal offense in the Houston area to hire an experienced Houston criminal lawyer that knows his way around the court ruled that is capable of articulating a smart argument in your defense to avoid you from having to serve the most harshest penalties in Texas correctional facilities or, that can get you off.

Felony Charges are Serious

If you are accused of a felony crime your facing serious jail time which can result in a number of years in prison, depending on the circumstances of the crime, you may face life or even the death penalty as a result of the allegations levied against you by the Dist. Atty. in your respective legal jurisdiction in which the accusations of your criminal wrongdoing was made.

Stay out of Prison

Jail time can take a toll on a defendant and should be avoided at all cost. No matter how innocent you think you are, or how well the criminal justice system will allegedly work for you, you better find a criminal defense attorney who is best that defending cases like which you are accused of if you want to avoid being found guilty for one, and having to endure the most stringent criminal punishment the state of Texas has to dish out.

You’ll Need Legal Representation in Houston

With you’ve been arrested by the Houston Police Department, Harris County Sheriff’s office, or the Texas Department of Public Safety’s own state troopers, you’re going to need a criminal defense attorney on your side by the time your court date rolls around.