Judges in the Galveston area will not accept any excuses when it comes to domestic violence charges. Keep in mind that under Texas law, the normal criminal penalties for assault are enhanced if the accuser is a family member or someone you were in a prior relationship with. And if you are offered community supervision–probation–following conviction for a domestic violence offense, you must follow the court’s release conditions to the letter. Otherwise, you may be facing several years in state prison.
Defendant Receives 10-Year Sentence After Sending Threatening Messages
Consider this recent Texas domestic violence case. The defendant previously received deferred adjudication on the charge of felony assault of a family member, specifically the mother of one of the defendant’s children. In a deferred adjudication, the court will dismiss the original charge if the defendant completes his term of probation without incident. But any violation of the probation terms is grounds for immediately revoking community supervision, adjudicating the defendant’s guilt, and sentencing him accordingly.
Unfortunately for the defendant in this particular case, about a year into his probation the prosecution moved to revoke probation for three alleged violations. One thing to note: When moving to revoke probation, the district attorney need only prove its case by a preponderance of the evidence, rather than beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the normal standard for criminal conviction.
Here, the judge found the prosecution proved its case for revoking supervision on two of the three alleged violations. The defendant appealed, but the appellate court said the trial court acted within its discretion. The Court of Appeals focused on one particular allegation–namely, that the defendant sent a series of messages threatening his original victim. As the appellate court noted, “[t]hese messages leave little doubt that [the defendant] was threatening [the victim] with bodily injury.” Indeed, the defendant admitted at trial that he meant to place the victim “ in fear that she would get hurt.” This is sufficient to prove assault under the Texas Penal Code, even if the defendant never acted on his threats.
Call a Galveston Domestic Violence Attorney Today
Having your probation revoked after you have been convicted of a domestic violence charge is no small matter. While assault is normally treated as a Class A misdemeanor–and thus carries a penalty of no more than one year in jail–if the crime involves a family member or dating partner, the charge is automatically bumped up to a third-degree felony. This multiplies the potential prison term from one year to 10 years. And 10 years is exactly what the trial court gave the defendant in the case above.
Given the serious, life-altering consequences of a domestic violence conviction, you need to take any accusation seriously, even if you know it is false. Domestic violence charges never go away on their own. You need to work with an experienced Galveston domestic violence defense attorney who understands how to deal with these kinds of cases and will effectively represent your interests in court. Contact the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates at (281) 843-9776 today if you are facing domestic violence accusations and require immediate assistance.