© 2023 by Thornton Criminal Defense, PLLC.
San Antonio Office:
111 Soledad, Suite 401
San Antonio, Texas 78205
216 N Bryant St
Pleasanton, Texas 78064
FORMER CHIEF PROSECUTOR
PERSONALIZED ATTENTION TO YOUR CASE
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CLIENT CENTERED APPROACH TO YOUR CASE
BOARD CERTIFIED IN CRIMINAL LAW
OVER A DECADE OF EXPERIENCE IN CRIMINAL LAW
WHY HIRE THORNTON CRIMINAL DEFENSE?
Attorney Brad Thornton is a highly experienced and Board-Certified criminal defense lawyer. With his background as a former Chief Prosecutor, he has a unique understanding of the criminal justice system and is able to provide comprehensive and effective representation to his clients. He is also deeply committed to ensuring that all individuals receive fair treatment in court, regardless of their background or circumstances.
Brad Thornton is dedicated to helping his clients achieve the best possible outcome for their case, whether it is in San Antonio or elsewhere in South Texas. He recognizes the stress and anxiety that can come with being accused of a crime, and approaches his clients with compassion while keeping them informed at every step of the process. His knowledge and experience make him a strong advocate for his clients.
Assault Family Violence
Texas Penal Code § - 22.01(a)(1) ASSAULT BODILY INJURY- FAM/HOU
Assault Family Violence Defense Attorney in San Antonio, Texas
Assault Family Violence (AFV) is a serious crime in Texas and carries a wide range of possible punishments, depending on the severity of the offense. AFV includes physical violence or threats of physical violence against a family member by another family member, including spouses and other relatives.
Under Texas law, AFV is defined as “an act by one family or household member against another that is intended to cause bodily injury or offensive physical contact”. It also includes the threat of such an act, as well as any physical contact that is intended to cause harm or insult.
The consequences of AFV in Texas may be serious and far-reaching. Depending on the severity of the offense, a person convicted of AFV may face jail time, fines, community service, probation, court-mandated counseling or treatment programs, loss of parental rights and privileges (such as gun ownership), and a permanent mark on their criminal record.
Protective Orders and Bond Conditions
In order to protect victims and families from abuse, Texas has implemented laws allowing for protective orders and other remedies against perpetrators of AFV. Protective orders are issued by courts upon request by someone alleging they have been subjected to domestic violence or threatened with it. The Court can also make staying away from your family a condition of any bail that they set which would allow you to get out of jail. A violation of a protective order or bond condition is considered a criminal offense and may result in jail time or other punishments.
Evidence in Family Violence Cases
The hearsay rule is a rule of evidence that prohibits the introduction of statements made by a person who is not present in court as evidence in a criminal or civil trial. The purpose of the hearsay rule is to ensure the reliability and trustworthiness of the evidence presented in court.
In a criminal trial, the prosecution may attempt to introduce the statements of a victim as evidence through one of the recognized exceptions to the hearsay rule. The specific exception that may be used will depend on the nature of the statement and the circumstances under which it was made.
One exception that may be used to introduce the statements of a victim is the excited utterance exception. This exception allows the introduction of a statement made while the declarant was under the stress of excitement caused by the event or condition being described. In order for this exception to apply, the statement must be made shortly after the event or condition occurred, before the declarant has had a chance to reflect on the event or fabricate a story.
Another exception that may be used to introduce the statements of a victim is the present sense impression exception. This exception allows the introduction of a statement that describes or explains an event or condition made while the declarant was perceiving the event or condition, or immediately thereafter. This exception is typically used to introduce statements that are made spontaneously, in the moment, and that accurately reflect the declarant's perception of the event or condition.
It is important to note that these are just a few examples of the exceptions to the hearsay rule that may be used to introduce the statements of a victim in a criminal trial, and the specific exception that may be used will depend on the unique circumstances of the case.
Forfeiture by Wrongdoing
In Texas, the doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing allows a party to a criminal or civil trial to present evidence of a witness's out-of-court statements despite the witness's unavailability to testify, if the party can show that the witness's unavailability was caused by the wrongdoing of the party against whom the statements are being offered. This doctrine is based on the principle that a party should not be able to benefit from their own wrongdoing by preventing a witness from testifying against them.
In a family violence trial in Texas, the doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing may be used to introduce the statements of a victim as evidence, even if the victim is unavailable to testify due to the defendant's actions. For example, if the defendant has intimidated or threatened the victim in an attempt to prevent them from testifying, the prosecution may be able to use the victim's prior statements as evidence under the doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing.
For the doctrine of forfeiture by wrongdoing to apply in a family violence trial in Texas, the prosecution must show that:
1. The witness is unavailable to testify.
2. The defendant engaged in wrongdoing that caused the witness's unavailability.
3. The defendant had the intent to make the witness unavailable.
If the prosecution can satisfy these requirements, they may be able to introduce the victim's out-of-court statements as evidence, despite the victim's unavailability to testify.