Cohabitating with someone can often lead to conflict that is difficult to resolve. Even the healthiest of relationships and happiest of couples can experience conflict. Everyone handles interpersonal conflict differently, but some people find themselves in loud, even physical arguments with their spouses or partners.
Sometimes, when that conflict becomes physical or too loud, law enforcement gets involved. Neither you nor your partner may have chosen to call police. Neighbors, children or passersby could have contacted authorities out of concern. Regardless of why law enforcement arrived, they may feel the need to allocate responsibility for what happened to one of the individuals involved.
That can mean that one person ends up facing criminal consequences for an altercation involving two people who both made mistakes. The person charged with a crime could end up paying massive fines, facing jail time and dealing with a criminal record.
The state may press charges without consent
Historically, the state required the cooperation of one of the parties involved, usually the victim, to pursue charges. However, the state of Texas can and will prosecute individuals without the cooperation of the victim in certain circumstances. In other words, just because you make up with your spouse or partner doesn't mean that you will avoid the complications that arise from criminal charges.
Even if it is your first arrest or offense, you could find yourself facing Class A misdemeanor charges. Anyone with a previous conviction or guilty plea related to domestic violence will likely face a third-degree felony. Individuals charged with a Class A misdemeanor will likely face a fine of up to $4,000, as well as up to a year in prison. A third-degree felony charge will carry a minimum sentence of two years in jail but up to 10 years. There can also be a fine of as much as $10,000.
Domestic violence allegations demand a thorough criminal defense
The potential penalties associated with a conviction for domestic violence in Texas are significant and could haunt you for life. Thankfully, anyone accused of a crime has the right to a defense. In certain circumstances, you may even have the alleged victim present to help you reframe the circumstances that led to arrest.
Even if the victim cannot or will not testify on your behalf, there are many potential defense strategies that can help you avoid the worst consequences of domestic violence allegations. These could include showing how the other party involved contributed to the fight, providing medical records of your own injuries or providing an alternative explanation for events that counters the version provided by law enforcement.
Each circumstance is unique, which is why your best option when facing allegations of domestic violence in Texas is to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as is feasible.