Facing a domestic violence charge carries with it the potential for several serious criminal penalties, as well as additional consequences that can irrevocably damage your life. One additional consequence concerns the impact a domestic violence charge can have on a career, especially a career in law enforcement.
In Texas, gaining employment as a police officer requires meeting several requirements that include not having a felony criminal conviction on your record. Texas law prohibits job candidates that have received a domestic violence conviction from pursuing a career as a police officer.
Because of the career-damaging impact of a domestic violence charge, it is important that anyone facing the charge, consult with a Texas licensed criminal defense attorney. As an experienced Texas criminal defense lawyer, Adam Capetillo will conduct a comprehensive review of your case to determine the most effective legal strategy for defending you against a domestic violence charge.
Overview of Domestic Violence Laws in Texas
The Lone Star State defines three categories of domestic violence charges: domestic assault, aggravated domestic assault, and continuous violence against the family. An act of domestic violence represents violence against a family member, which Texas defines as the following:
- Current or former spouse
- Out of marriage parent of a child
- Foster child
- Foster parent
- Family member by blood, marriage, or adoption
- Romantic partner, not family related
- Person living in the same home
Anyone convicted of a domestic assault charge in Texas committed an assault against a family member, member of the household, or a past/current romantic partner. A domestic assault constitutes an act of intentionally causing bodily injury to someone else. You can also face a domestic assault charge for intentionally threatening another person with bodily injury or by intentionally making physical contact with another person that you know the victim would find offensive.
Domestic assault in Texas is considered a Class A misdemeanor for a first-time charge for the same offense. The charge moves to a third-degree felony conviction for a defendant that has a previous domestic assault conviction on his or her criminal record.
Aggravated Domestic Assault
An aggravated assault charge represents the second most serious domestic violence charge because of the level of violence committed against a spouse, a family member, or a romantic partner. The charge is issued for an assault that caused serious bodily injury to another person. It is also a charge that is filed because a defendant used or displayed a deadly weapon during the course of committing a serious domestic assault.
Continuous Violence Against the Family
The State of Texas views repeat domestic assault offenders in a dim light. The state defines continuous assault against the family as two or more domestic assaults within a 12-month period. A defendant can receive a conviction for continuous violence against the family, even if the defendant was not arrested and/or convicted of a domestic assault perpetrated against the same victim. A conviction for continuous assault against the family typically results in a third-degree felony on the defendant’s criminal record.
What are the Punishments for Domestic Violence Convictions?
Here are the penalties associated with the different levels of domestic assault convictions:
- Class A misdemeanor-No more than one-year in County Jail and/or a fine not to exceed $4,000
- 3rd-degree felony-Between 2 and 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000
- 2nd-degree felony-Between 2 and 20 years in prison and a fine of no more than $10,000
- 1st-degree felony-Between 5 and 99 years of incarceration and a fine up to $10,000
What are the Other Consequences of a Conviction?
It is not just the legal ramifications of a domestic violence conviction that should concern you. A domestic violence conviction in the State of Texas carries other significant consequences.
- Unable to own a firearm
- Possible loss of legal leverage during divorce and child custody hearings
- Court-ordered restitution
- Community supervision
- Loss of employment opportunities, especially as a law enforcement officer
Schedule a Free Initial Consultation with Adam Capetillo
Criminal defense attorney Adam Capetillo understands that most defendants facing domestic violence charges are not bad people that have fallen into a pattern of violence. Our primary goal in defending clients faced with domestic violence charges is to tell their side of the story, which is often ignored by the law enforcement community. Mr. Capetillo can negotiate an agreement that avoids a conviction appearing on your criminal record. If we must go to trial, we defend our clients by presenting convincing evidence that exonerates them.
Do not allow a domestic violence charge in Texas to negatively impact a career as a police officer. Contact Adam Capetillo today by calling the Capetillo Law firm at (346) 249-5544 or by submitting the convenient Contact form.