A conviction for assault family violence may not automatically lead to prison or jail time. Certain alternatives to incarceration might be available, depending on the circumstances of the case. First-time offenders with no aggravating factors are more likely to avoid prison. In those or similar cases, the court may allow for assault family violence probation. These programs have rules that the individual must follow to complete the probation successfully. If you want to know more about the possibility of probation in your case, consider contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney at Jason S. English Law, PLLC, by calling (512) 454-7548 to schedule a consultation.
Assault Family Violence Punishments
The state of Texas does not have a separate statute for domestic assault. Instead, the general statute is applied to those domestic or family disputes. According to Texas Penal Code Sec. 22.01, violence against a member of the household or family is a form of assault. This crime has the same elements as a typical assault if the alleged victim is a member of the same family or household as the alleged attacker. These are cases where the suspect has engaged in assault “knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally” to cause bodily injury to another person in the home.
Texas takes all assault cases seriously, but some charges can come with lesser penalties. If the defendant has no previous assault convictions, he or she may be charged with a class A or C misdemeanor with punishment ranging from one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000. A defendant with a history of domestic assault, however, could face a third-degree felony with penalties including prison time and greater fines. While it may seem that a conviction automatically means jail or prison time, a judge can order alternative punishments, such as probation.
How Long Is Probation for Domestic Violence in Texas?
When a defendant pleads guilty, the court can grant probation instead of a prison or jail sentence. A skilled attorney from Jason S. English Law, PLLC, may be able to help determine whether you qualify for assault family violence probation. Ultimately, the judge will determine the length of probation based on several factors in the case. Typically, assault family violence probation can be as follows:
- For a misdemeanor charge, the defendant might be on probation for up to two years
- For a third-degree felony, probation can last up to 10 years
During probation, the defendant must meet a few specific conditions, such as meeting with a probation officer, complying with rules and guidelines, and paying the costs of probation. The defendant must also abide by all protective orders. According to the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, an individual can ask the court for early termination of probation after meeting specific criteria. Judges are not required to end probation early. Once again, the judge will consider the circumstances of the case and the individual's adherence to the terms of probation before terminating his or her probation.
How To Successfully Complete Probation
When a person is on probation, he or she must follow certain steps to complete the program. The following tips can help you to successfully complete probation for assault family violence:
- Attend all required appointments with the probation officer
- Keep accurate records
- Consider treatment programs
- Reevaluate relationships and friendships
- Stay out of trouble
Attend All Required Appointments with the Probation Officer
First, be sure to keep every appointment with the probation officer. Probation officers will visit their assigned probationers' workplace or home if an appointment is skipped. Maintaining a professional relationship with the probation officer may help prevent future misunderstandings. While some people may believe that they do not need to check in, this is a critical part of probation. Additionally, probation officers must be made aware of any changes to addresses or employment between appointments.
Keep Accurate Records
Carefully maintaining all probation paperwork can help. This paperwork helps the probationer to keep track of payments made for fees and restitution. Additionally, keep track of job applications submitted when looking for employment or proof of a job, such as pay stubs, to help ensure that probation terms are met. The court will be more likely to allow a person to remain on probation when he or she can demonstrate a certain level of effort to find or keep employment and pay fines.
Consider Treatment Programs
Being mindful of past behaviors is important for completing probation successfully. Many people will be required to participate in alcohol or drug treatment programs. Even if these programs are not required by the court, attending a meeting might be a good idea. Frequent drug and alcohol screening might also be required in the terms of probation. Therefore, participating in these programs can exhibit an act of good faith, which could improve the person's standing with the court. Also, seeking help for drug or alcohol issues may help to dramatically better the person's life overall.
Reevaluate Relationships and Friendships
A person on probation should reevaluate his or her relationships with friends and family. Everyone who is granted probation must abide by the law, which includes any no-contact orders related to the case. Even if a person is regretful of his or her actions and wants to apologize, a no-contact order means to stay away from the victim and certain others. The court takes violations of these orders seriously, so these actions could lead to additional charges. Additionally, probation terms often forbid a person from associating with others who engage in criminal activities. Probation can be an opportunity to make a new beginning, ending any toxic relationships.
Stay Out of Trouble
Finally, never commit another crime while on probation. With a new arrest, a probationer may have to serve out the remainder of his or her time in jail or prison. Any penalties from a conviction of the new offense will typically be added to that time.
Talk To a Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Take all assault family violence probation terms seriously. Failure to abide by specific rules may lead to jail or prison time, in addition to new charges. Probation helps first-time offenders change their behavior with lesser penalties for certain crimes. However, these individuals must abide by strict rules to complete their probation. Depending on your case, you may be able to seek probation for an assault family violence charge. To learn more about your legal rights and to determine whether probation may be an option, consider contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney from Jason S. English Law, PLLC, by calling (512) 454-7548 to schedule a consultation today.