Houston Family Violence Attorney
Experienced Assault Family Violence Attorney
Have you been arrested for a domestic violence charge in Houston? At Mercer & Keirnan, attorneys John P. "Casey" Keirnan and Michael D. Mercer have one goal: to get your family violence case dismissed. Casey Keirnan is an experienced assault family violence attorney with over 38 years of experience.
Harris County police and prosecutors take domestic violence charges very seriously and will go to great lengths to seek a conviction, whether or not the victim wishes to press charges. Because of increasing negative stigma on domestic violence in society, people charged with these crimes are often assumed guilty before getting a chance to tell their side of the story.
Family violence charges are considered crimes of moral turpitude in Texas and will remain on your criminal record for life unless the case is dismissed. It is extremely important to consult with an experienced assault attorney before your first court date. There are things your lawyer can do early on in the case that may increase the chances of having your assault family violence case dismissed.
Experienced domestic violence attorneys
At Mercer & Keirnan, we work together with both spouses to achieve the best possible result!
How to Defend Your Family Violence Charge
In many cases, complaining witnesses wish to drop domestic violence charges, claiming they were filed by mistake out of rage or frustration. At this stage, however, the only person with the power to drop the charges is the prosecutor. It is important to know that the prosecutor will only dismiss an assault family violence case if the evidence is insufficient and cannot be proven at trial. The prosecutor does not care whether the victim wishes to proceed with the case.
Houston domestic violence defense attorney John "Casey" Keirnan has defended family violence charges for over 38 years. He understands what the prosecutors want to hear from the victims in these cases. Call 713-236-9700 for a free consultation with Mr. Keirnan.
If you are being investigated for domestic violence or assault family violence, do not speak with police or prosecutors without an experienced criminal defense lawyer present. Police investigators will coax you into believing they are just trying to hear your side of the story. In reality, they are fishing for more evidence against you. Mercer & Keirnan will work closely with you to make sure your side of the story is heard.
ASSAULT FAMILY VIOLENCE ATTORNEY HOUSTON
John P. "Casey" Keirnan
Houston Domestic Violence Attorney
**2014 HCCLA Lawyer of the Year**
Types of Domestic Violence Charges
Domestic Violence, or Assault Family Violence
Assault on a Family Member
Aggravated Assault Family Violence with a deadly weapon
Aggravated Family Violence-Serious Bodily Injury
Assault Family Violence-Impeding Breath
Assault Family Violence-with Previous Conviction
Continuous Domestic Violence Against the Family
Violation of a Protective Order
Family Violence Definition
In Texas, Assault Family Violence is typically a Class A Misdemeanor, with maximum punishment of up to 1 year in jail and/or a $4,000 fine. The definition of "family violence" is found under Section 71.004 of the Texas Family Code. Below is a summary of the definition:
an assault committed by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household; or
an assault committed against someone with whom the actor has or has had a dating relationship.
The term "family" includes anyone with whom you share a child with, whether married or unmarried. As you can see, the definition of assault family violence can include allegations against people other than just your spouse, including:
persons in a dating relationship,
persons who have previously dated,
persons who share a child together,
family members, or
persons living under the same roof
If you or someone you know is facing domestic violence charges, contact Mercer & Keirnan immediately for a free consultation with experienced Houston Assault Family Violence Attorneys.
Free 24/7 Consultations - 713-236-9700
Defenses to Assault-Family Member and Domestic Violence Charges
In many cases, the first opportunity for an accused to tell his/her side of the story comes in court. Anyone facing family violence charges should consult an experienced defense attorney who is familiar with the defenses to domestic violence charges:
self-defense- under Section 9.01 of the Texas Penal Code, an actor is justified in using force if he/she reasonably believes the force is immediately necessary to protect against the other's use or attempted use of unlawful force;
consent-the use of force against someone who consents to that use of force is not considered an assault. An injury that occurs as a result of a wrestling match between roommates would fall under the consent defense to domestic violence charges;
mutual combat-this defense is similar to the defense of consent and arises out of a consensual "mutual combat" situation. An assault in which both parties sustained injury indicates mutual combat;
lack of evidence-under Texas law, the prosecutor must prove every element of a domestic violence case beyond a reasonable doubt. If even one element of the domestic assault is not proven, a jury is required to return a not guilty verdict.
For anyone charged with domestic violence, domestic assault or assault family violence, it is essential to retain an experienced domestic violence attorney immediately after arrest in order to preserve any evidence and defenses to a domestic violence charge. Retaining surveillance video before it is destroyed can mean the difference between winning and losing your family violence case.
Protective Orders and Domestic Family Violence Charges
In Harris County, when a person is charged with Domestic Violence or assault-family violence, prosecutors can issue two types of protective orders:
Magistrate's Order of Emergency Protection (MOEP)
No Contact Order
A Magistrate's Order of Emergency Protection (MOEP) lasts for 61 days. If a deadly weapon is involved, the order lasts for 91 days. A MOEP does not prevent you from contacting the protected individual. It does, however, prevent you from communicating threats or harassing communications and from going near the person's home and place of business. Many times, police include your own address on the protective order, which creates problems. In this case, an experienced Domestic Violence Lawyer may be able to get the judge to amend the order and allow you to return home.
A No Contact Order is a type of protective order that prevents you from contacting the protected individual in any way and from going near the protected individual. The order lasts for the duration of the domestic violence case. A no contact order is therefore more restrictive than the MOEP described above. No contact orders can create problems for people who live with or share children with the protected individual. In these cases, an experienced Assault-Family Violence Attorney can convince the judge to amend the no contact order to allow you to see your children and remain at the residence.