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  • Writer's pictureBrad Thornton

San Antonio Family Violence Attorney: What are the Consequences of a Family Violence Finding?

If you or a loved one is facing family violence charges, it is crucial to understand the significant consequences that can arise from a finding or conviction. In this blog post, we will delve into the far-reaching implications of a family violence finding or conviction, shedding light on the potential effects on your legal status, gun rights, employment prospects, housing options, and more. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of these consequences, you can make informed decisions and take proactive steps to protect your rights and future.

To comprehend the consequences of a family violence finding, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of what family violence entails and its legal implications. This section aims to provide you with a comprehensive overview of family violence within the context of Texas law.

What is Family Violence in Texas?

Family Violence

Family violence refers to acts committed by one family or household member against another that result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the threat of imminent harm. It encompasses a range of abusive behaviors, including physical violence, emotional abuse, sexual assault, stalking, and harassment. Texas law takes family violence seriously and has specific provisions in place to address and prevent such incidents.

The legal basis for determining whether an offense qualifies as family violence can be found in Article 42.013 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure. According to this article, if a person is charged with an offense involving family violence, the court must make a finding on the record as to whether the offense meets the definition of family violence as outlined in Section 71.004 of the Texas Family Code.

Section 71.004 of the Texas Family Code defines family violence and provides guidance on what falls under its purview. According to this section, family violence includes acts committed by a member of a family or household against another family or household member that results in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the threat of imminent harm. It also encompasses various forms of abuse, such as sexual assault, stalking, or behavior intended to cause emotional distress or coercion.

Enhancement of Future Family Violence Offenses

When it comes to assaults involving family violence, the consequences can escalate if you have a prior family violence conviction on your record. In Texas, a subsequent assault offense with family violence can be enhanced from a Class A misdemeanor to a third-degree felony. This enhancement significantly increases the severity of the offense and carries harsher penalties, including potential imprisonment for two to ten years and substantial fines.

Assaults by strangulation are particularly serious and dangerous acts of violence. When such an offense occurs within the context of family violence and the accused individual has a previous family violence conviction, the consequences become even more severe. In Texas, an assault by strangulation offense involving family violence can be enhanced from a third-degree felony to a second-degree felony. This enhancement raises the stakes significantly, potentially leading to imprisonment for two to twenty years and substantial fines.

It is important to note that even if you have been placed on deferred probation for a family violence offense, the fact that you were previously charged or convicted of family violence can still be used against you for enhancement purposes. Although deferred probation technically results in a dismissal upon successful completion of the probationary period, the prior charge or conviction can still be considered if you face subsequent family violence charges. This means that even if you were given an opportunity for deferred probation and had the charges dismissed, the prior record can still have an impact on the severity of any future family violence offenses.

Collateral Consequences of a Family Violence Finding

Facing a family violence finding or conviction can have far-reaching implications that extend beyond the immediate legal consequences. It is essential to recognize and understand the collateral consequences that may arise as a result. In this section, we will explore the various collateral consequences that individuals may encounter when dealing with a family violence finding or conviction. These consequences can have a significant impact on your personal, professional, and legal life, underscoring the importance of seeking legal guidance to navigate these complexities effectively.

Gun Ownership and Other Licenses

Domestic Violence Effect on Gun Rights

In Texas, one of the biggest consequences of a family violence finding relates to gun ownership. Under federal law, individuals convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence are prohibited from owning, possessing, or purchasing firearms. This restriction is enforced through the Lautenberg Amendment, which was passed to protect victims of domestic violence and prevent further harm. A family violence finding or conviction can trigger this federal prohibition and result in the loss of your gun rights.

In addition to federal laws, Texas has its own regulations regarding gun ownership for individuals with family violence findings or convictions. State law prohibits individuals with certain family violence offenses from owning or possessing firearms. Although the Texas limitation expires after 5 years, the federal limitation lasts for your lifetime.

In Texas, a family violence finding can have implications for hunting and fishing licenses. While it's important to note that the specific consequences may vary depending on individual circumstances and the nature of the offense, there are potential restrictions that individuals with a family violence finding or conviction may face regarding hunting and fishing licenses.

When applying for hunting or fishing licenses in Texas, individuals are often required to disclose any criminal convictions or findings related to family violence. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) considers public safety as a priority, and they may assess applications on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the nature and severity of the offense.

Employment and Housing

Family Violence Effect on Housing

Having a family violence record can present challenges when seeking employment. Many employers conduct background checks, and a finding or conviction can negatively impact your chances of securing certain jobs or professional licenses.

Housing providers, such as landlords or property management companies, often conduct background checks on prospective tenants. A family violence finding or conviction may raise concerns for landlords, potentially leading to difficulties in finding suitable housing.

Other Collateral Consequences

In addition to the federal and state loss of gun rights, as well as employment and housing issues, there are other collateral consequences that may arise from a family violence finding or conviction. Depending on your profession, a family violence finding or conviction can result in the loss of professional licenses or place limitations on your career options. Certain occupations, such as those involving childcare, healthcare, or law enforcement, may have specific regulations regarding individuals with family violence records.

Family violence findings or convictions can have implications for child custody and visitation arrangements in family law cases. Courts prioritize the safety and well-being of children, and a family violence record may influence decisions regarding custody and visitation rights.

Non-U.S. citizens facing a family violence finding or conviction may experience severe consequences on their immigration status. Family violence offenses can be grounds for deportation or denial of certain immigration benefits. It is critical to seek advice from an immigration attorney to understand the potential impact on your immigration status.

San Antonio Domestic Violence Attorney Brad Thornton

If you are facing the consequences of a family violence finding or conviction, it is crucial to have a skilled criminal defense attorney by your side. As a former chief prosecutor and a board-certified criminal law specialist, I, Brad Thornton, possess the experience, knowledge, and dedication necessary to effectively defend you against the accusations

With my background as a former chief prosecutor, I have gained invaluable insights into the strategies employed by the prosecution. This unique perspective allows me to anticipate their tactics, identify weaknesses in their case, and build a strong defense on your behalf. I understand the complexities of the legal system and have a track record of achieving favorable outcomes for my clients.

Board Certified Attorney

Being board certified in criminal law demonstrates my commitment to excellence and expertise in this specialized area of law. Board certification is a rigorous process that involves meeting stringent criteria, including experience, peer evaluations, and passing a comprehensive examination. By choosing a board-certified attorney, you can have confidence in their qualifications, as well as their commitment to providing you with the highest level of legal representation.

Your future, rights, and reputation are at stake, and I am here to guide you through this challenging time. I offer free consultations to discuss your case, answer your questions, and develop a personalized defense strategy tailored to your unique circumstances. By entrusting me with your defense, you can expect unwavering advocacy, meticulous attention to detail, and an unwavering commitment to protecting your rights.

Don't face the consequences of a family violence finding or conviction alone. Contact my office at 210-439-5627 today to schedule your free consultation and let me fight for you. Remember, having a skilled and experienced attorney can make all the difference in securing a favorable outcome in your case.

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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.

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© 2023 by Thornton Criminal Defense, PLLC. 

Atascosa County Criminal Defense Attorney

San Antonio Office:

111 Soledad, Suite 401

San Antonio, Texas 78205

Tel: 210-439-5627

Atascosa Office:

216 N Bryant St

Pleasanton, Texas 78064

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