Collateral Consequences of a “family violence” Conviction

Collateral Consequences of a “family violence” Conviction

Collateral Consequences of a “family violence” Conviction

What are the “collateral consequences” of a “family violence” conviction?

In our previous article we explored what the term “family violence” means under Texas law, primarily from the prospective of the victim of a family violence assault. In this article we will discuss the consequences of such a finding or conviction from the perspective of someone falsely accused, and why you need the assistance of a competent attorney to represent you should you ever be faced with such a serious charge.  

Under what circumstances might I be charged with family violence?

Remember that an accusation for family violence is any act by a member of a family or household against another member that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm.  

Allegations of family violence often arise in a civil action for divorce/child custody, where one spouse attempts use this claim get the upper hand in a property dispute or child custody situation. This can result in a “finding” of family violence. If an assaultive act gets reported to law enforcement, however, it will likely result in a criminal action, which means that a person may get convicted of a crime and have his/her freedom taken away.  

In a criminal context we oftentimes think of family violence in terms of some serious assaultive behavior whereby the alleged victim is injured in some meaningful way. However, there are varying degrees of what can amount to an “assault.” An assault can indeed be an act resulting in serious bodily injury and/or involving the use of a deadly weapon. But it also may be as simple as touching a family member in a manner in which the person finds offensive, even though the act does not result in any physical injury. Or, it may even be just a verbal threat resulting in no actual physical contact at all.  

These different levels of assaultive behavior are categorized in the Texas Penal Code in terms of severity, ranging all the way from felonies involving long penitentiary sentences in the most serious cases, to minor misdemeanors punishable only by a fine in the most minor cases. Whatever the current charge may be, the charge can be “enhanced” to a higher level if there are prior family violence convictions on your record from past incidents. 

Regardless of the severity of the charge, you do not want to have a conviction or a finding of family violence levied against you, as it can cause problems for you in addition to being punished for having committed a crime.

So what are some of the “collateral consequences” of family violence?

If you are found to have committed family violence in either a criminal or a civil action, exactly how the collateral consequences may affect your life will vary depending on your personal situation, and how the claim is brought against you in court. In addition to going to jail you may experience one or more of the following events to touch your life: 

  • You can no longer own or possess a firearm. This consequence may cause you to lose your career if you are in law enforcement, the military, or some other profession that requires you to carry a weapon. This will also prevent you from being able to protect yourself, your home, and loved ones. 
  • You may lose your job and/or your professional license as a result of a family violence conviction. You will be at high risk if you are a pilot, teacher, bus driver, health care worker, child daycare worker, a government employee, etc. 
  • If you are a hunter or a fisherman, you can be denied a hunting/fishing license.  
  • If you are involved in a child custody dispute, your case will be seriously compromised. Not only will you likely be denied custody, you may even be denied access to your children under certain circumstances. In addition, your spouse may be awarded spousal maintenance if you are convicted or received deferred adjudication for a criminal offense that also constitutes an act of family violence.
  • A family violence conviction can affect your immigration status and can lead to deportation if you are a non-citizen.
  • As stated above, future family violence charges can be enhanced to a higher level if convicted of a prior family violence assault.
  • You may become subject to the terms and conditions of a protective order: either an “Emergency” Protective Order authorized by the Code of Criminal Procedure, or a Protective Order authorized by the Family Code. The emergency order can be issued by a magistrate against you even before you are released from jail on bond. One of the many terms that a court may impose is for you to complete a battering intervention and prevention program. 

How can I get more information about this topic?

Needless to say, you do not want an allegation of family violence to take away your rights as a parent, or to detrimentally affect your life or to take away your freedom. If a family member makes such an allegation against you, it is imperative that you immediately seek the assistance of competent legal counsel. By calling this office we will seek to arrive at a resolution to these allegations that avoids all the consequences above stated. In the event the case must be tried, our trial lawyers are experienced and skilled at presenting the best case possible to the jury on your behalf.  

If you would like more information about how to protect yourself against allegations of family violence, please call the Bigham Law Firm at (979) 743-4153 for a free consultation. 

THE BIGHAM LAW FIRM

PERSONAL INJURY | CRIMINAL DEFENSE | FAMILY LAW

Ken Bigham Jr. has nearly three decades of experience navigating the law to protect his clients from unfair treatment by insurance companies, the government and corporations. He believes that Bigham Law’s purpose is to provide outstanding value to its clients and compassionate service to its community. 

FREE CONSULTATION

Mr. Bigham and his staff have provided me with exceptional service. They have gone above and beyond to assist me with every detail regarding my case.

Tracie Corley, Texas<br />

What is Family Violence under Texas law?

What is Family Violence under Texas law?

What is Family Violence under Texas law?

he phrase “family violence” is defined by the Texas Family Code as an act by a member of a family or household against another member that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm. The phrase includes various types of sexual misconduct by a member of the family or household towards a child of the family or household. It also includes dating violence between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. 

This phrase is not meant to include defensive measures to protect oneself. 

The term “family” in the phrase refers to individuals related by consanguinity (blood) or affinity (marriage or former marriage), biological parents of the same child, foster children, foster parents, and members or former members of the same household (including roommates).

What do I do if I or a family member becomes a victim of family violence?

The first thing you should do is immediatelycall 911 to request emergency medical services, if needed, and to report the crime to law enforcement.  The sooner the police arrive, the better they will be able to investigate the crime scene and collect important evidence which must be preserved for trial, such as taking fresh photos of any injuries that you may have suffered. 

How can I protect myself in the future?

If you are the victim of family violence, you will probably qualify for either a Protective Order, or a Restraining Order. They are both similar in that they are court orders designed to give you protection from future violent attacks. There are important differences, however.

The most important difference between the two involves the penalties imposed upon the perpetrator if he/she violates the order. In a Protective Order, the perpetrator can face serious criminal charges and go to jail if he/she is proven to have violated the terms of the order. The perpetrator can go to jail with a Restraining Order as well, but generally that does not happen since the violation of a Restraining Order is not considered a criminal offense. 

For this reason a Protective Order is typically used following an episode of family violence that is reported to the police; whereas a Restraining Order is more commonly used in divorces, child custody actions, and other civil litigation where you may be afraid the other party may do you physical harm or damage your property. With either remedy, you must expect to go to court in order to obtain the necessary protection. 

Oftentimes you can get a Protective Order at no cost by working with the victim assistance services offered by your local law enforcement agency. They will direct you to a Family Crisis Center (or similar organization) if there is one found in your community. That organization can help guide you through this legal process. You can also acquire a Protective Order or a Restraining Order by contacting an experienced private attorney who practices in family law and criminal law. 

Bigham Law Firm

Bigham Law Firm offers free consultations regarding criminal and family law issues. Our number is (979) 743-4153. We can also be reached through our website at www.bighamlawfirm.com 

THE BIGHAM LAW FIRM

PERSONAL INJURY | CRIMINAL DEFENSE | FAMILY LAW

Ken Bigham Jr. has nearly three decades of experience navigating the law to protect his clients from unfair treatment by insurance companies, the government and corporations. He believes that Bigham Law’s purpose is to provide outstanding value to its clients and compassionate service to its community. 

FREE CONSULTATION

Mr. Bigham and his staff have provided me with exceptional service. They have gone above and beyond to assist me with every detail regarding my case.

Tracie Corley, Texas<br />

“Turn Toward Safety” -Advice We Can All Use

“Turn Toward Safety” -Advice We Can All Use

“Turn Toward Safety” -Advice We Can All Use

The following information was all gained from an article published in this week’s issue of The Houston Chronicle, titled “Turn Toward Safety.” 

 Monday, June 10, was proclaimed Lesha Adams Day in Houston, by Mayor Sylvester Turner, in honor of her selfless activity within the community. Sadly, Lesha Adams was killed on March 30 in the Heights area of Houston. “ Adams had been driving home with her daughters when she saw a man in a wheelchair trying to cross the street and she stopped to help. Both she and the man, Jesús Pérez, were struck and killed by a passing car” the article states. 

The incident ignited a reaction from the city of Houston. Mayor Turner pledged to join the Vision Zero Initiative, “a program that seeks to end traffic fatalities and injuries on the nation’s streets by 2030. This kind of action has been needed for a long time throughout the entire state of Texas, which ranks as number one in the nation for traffic fatalities, according to a Chronicle analysis. Texas is long overdue for changes to how it approaches mass transportation, and the safer steps are finally being taken. 

Recently, “the Texas Transportation Commission directed the Texas Department of Transportation to develop strategies to cut the almost 4,000 annual deaths on the state’s roads by half in 15 years and to zero by 2050.” To make this happen, roads will have to be redesigned, safety will have to be prioritized and efforts to eliminate distracted driving and speeding will have to be put into effect. 

The responsibility falls on us as citizens as well as the state. As stated by the Chronicle, “drivers need to wake up to the fact that we’ve grown numb to the amount of carnage on our streets and take some responsibility.” We can all make a difference and join in on this movement for safer roads. It starts with slowing down, following the traffic laws, using turn signals and putting our mobile devices away when we drive. 

THE BIGHAM LAW FIRM

PERSONAL INJURY | CRIMINAL DEFENSE | FAMILY LAW

Ken Bigham Jr. has nearly three decades of experience navigating the law to protect his clients from unfair treatment by insurance companies, the government and corporations. He believes that Bigham Law’s purpose is to provide outstanding value to its clients and compassionate service to its community. 

FREE CONSULTATION

Mr. Bigham and his staff have provided me with exceptional service. They have gone above and beyond to assist me with every detail regarding my case.

Tracie Corley, Texas<br />

Dangers of DWI

Dangers of DWI

Dangers of DWI

We have all seen the countless slogans and advertisement campaigns saying we should not drink and drive, but with information flooding our screens and minds, it might desensitize us to how important these messages can really be. Being charged with a DWI can be devastating for somebody and their family. Here is what you could be facing if you are found guilty of DWI:

  • FIRST OFFENSE

Up to a $2,000 fine

72 hours to 6 months in jail

Driver’s license suspension: 90 days to 1 year

  • SECOND OFFENSE

Up to $4,000 fine

30 days to 1 year in jail

Driver’s license suspension: 6 months to 2 years

  • THIRD OFFENSE

Up to a $10,000 fine

2 to 10 years in penitentiary

Driver’s license suspension: 6 months to 2 years

 As we have learned from representing our clients, not everyone charged with DWI is actually guilty. If you, or somebody you know, is charged with DWI, it is imperative that you have legal representation.

https://bighamlawfirm.com/

(979) 743-4153

THE BIGHAM LAW FIRM

PERSONAL INJURY | CRIMINAL DEFENSE | FAMILY LAW

Ken Bigham Jr. has nearly three decades of experience navigating the law to protect his clients from unfair treatment by insurance companies, the government and corporations. He believes that Bigham Law’s purpose is to provide outstanding value to its clients and compassionate service to its community. 

FREE CONSULTATION

Mr. Bigham and his staff have provided me with exceptional service. They have gone above and beyond to assist me with every detail regarding my case.

Tracie Corley, Texas<br />

What You Need to Know: Filing a Insurance Claim After an Accident

What You Need to Know: Filing a Insurance Claim After an Accident

What You Need to Know: Filing a Insurance Claim After an Accident

Recently, Texas Bar Journal released an article by Jerome O. Fjeld containing valuable information for everybody to know when it comes to being involved in a car accident and dealing with insurance companies. Even though being involved in a car accident can be extremely traumatic for anybody, insurance companies can take advantage of those who do not immediately start the process of documentation. The first 24 hours after an accident can prove to be vital to proving your case, and ensuring you are fairly compensated for your bodily injuries and damages to your vehicle. 

Notes and Police Reports

· Write down everything that happened before and during the accident, taking note of weather conditions, road conditions and anything else that may have played a hand in an accident. 

· Exchange insurance information with the other driver and write down any contact information for witnesses, as well as notes from conversations. 

· Take detailed photos of the scene and any injuries, and take A LOT of photos. 

· Seek medical attention immediately. Insurance companies prey on claimants who delay treatment. 

· Call the police for a report, even if the accident seems like a minor one. Insurers will hold it against you if you try to file claim without a police report

Comparative Negligence

In Texas, we have a comparative negligence law. This means that damages are reduced by the amount that the injured party contributed to the accident. If the injured party is determined 51% or more responsible, no damages are paid at all. 

This makes even simple cases difficult because both insurance companies involved are trying to raise the other party’s at-fault percentage, so victims are forced to either self-advocate, or consult with an experienced attorney who can advocate on their behalf.

Statute of Limitations

The Statute of Limitations states how long a victim has to file a lawsuit. In Texas, the statute of limitations on car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents and bicycle accidents is two years from the date of the accident. 

Legal Advice

It is always in your best interest to speak with an experienced car accident attorney. The seemingly simplest claims can be affected by allegations of fault or the damages and injuries turning out more expensive than first expected. An aggressive attorney will be able to accurately assess the case and determine quickly how to go about getting reasonable compensation, as well as negotiate, on your behalf, with insurance companies.

THE BIGHAM LAW FIRM

PERSONAL INJURY | CRIMINAL DEFENSE | FAMILY LAW

Ken Bigham Jr. has nearly three decades of experience navigating the law to protect his clients from unfair treatment by insurance companies, the government and corporations. He believes that Bigham Law’s purpose is to provide outstanding value to its clients and compassionate service to its community. 

FREE CONSULTATION

Mr. Bigham and his staff have provided me with exceptional service. They have gone above and beyond to assist me with every detail regarding my case.

Tracie Corley, Texas

Why Your Instincts About the Danger of 18 Wheelers Are True

Why Your Instincts About the Danger of 18 Wheelers Are True

Why Your Instincts About the Danger of 18 Wheelers Are True

We all know that small, or gigantic, feeling of fear when driving next to an 18 wheeler, or when pulling into the middle lane and two 18 wheelers are on either side. One could argue it is simply common sense that gives us the feeling that we need to get away from them as soon as possible. It is also good to know why 18 wheelers pose so much danger on the road, and how you can go about seeking compensation in the unfortunate event that you are involved in an accident with a “big rig.”

SIZE

The weight of these vehicles is one of the biggest factors in making them something to avoid. 18 wheelers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, while the average passenger car weighs about 3,500 pounds. They are also much longer than the average vehicle. This can make passing them difficult, especially on one-way roads. Also, they need much more space to brake in traffic. It is important to make sure you leave a very generous amount of space between yourself and a semi-truck on the road.

BLIND SPOTS

The larger the truck, the larger its blind spots will be. An 18 wheeler will have blind spots on both sides of the vehicle, and in the front and rear. Accidents are caused by these blind spots frequently and it is important to know how to avoid this catastrophe. Always turn your blinker on early when passing an 18 wheeler to make sure the driver knows what you are about to do. Also, never try to swerve around one of these vehicles quickly. Truck drivers have to react quickly in certain situations, just like everybody else, and you do not want to be in their blind spot when this happens.

FATIGUE

Truck drivers spend long hours, and sometimes days, on the road. It is important to be aware of this and exercise caution and patience any time you are on the road with 18 wheelers.

HAVE YOU BEEN INJURED IN AN ACCIDENT CAUSED BY AN 18 WHEELER? 

Ken Bigham Jr. has been fighting for accident victims for decades, and he is eager to represent his fellow common man in their struggle with large companies and biased courts. Visit https://bighamlawfirm.com/personal-injury or contact us at (979) 743-4153 to set up a free consultation and avoid as much pain as possible in what can be an emotionally, physically and financially taxing situation.

THE BIGHAM LAW FIRM

PERSONAL INJURY | CRIMINAL DEFENSE | FAMILY LAW

Ken Bigham Jr. has nearly three decades of experience navigating the law to protect his clients from unfair treatment by insurance companies, the government and corporations. He believes that Bigham Law’s purpose is to provide outstanding value to its clients and compassionate service to its community. 

FREE CONSULTATION

Mr. Bigham and his staff have provided me with exceptional service. They have gone above and beyond to assist me with every detail regarding my case.

Tracie Corley, Texas<br />

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