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"Lawyer of the Year"

Harris County Criminal Lawyers Association (2014)

Houston Family Violence Attorney

Experienced Family Violence Attorney in Houston

Have you or a loved one been arrested for Assault Family Violence or domestic violence charges in Houston? Are you trying to drop family violence charges against a loved one? At Mercer & Keirnan, experienced criminal defense attorneys John P. "Casey" Keirnan and Michael Mercer have one goal: to get your family violence case dismissed. Casey Keirnan is an experienced assault family violence attorney in Houston with over 40 years as a criminal defense attorney.


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 Houston assault family violence attorney before your first court date. There are things an assault defense attorney can do early on in the case that may increase the chances of having your assault family violence case dismissed.

Call 713-236-9700 - Free 24/7 Consultation

Experienced Houston Family Violence Lawyer

Assault Family Violence Charges are Taken Seriously

Houston police and prosecutors take domestic violence and assault family violence charges very seriously. The state will go to great lengths to seek a conviction, whether or not the victim wishes to press charges. Because of increasing negative stigma on family violence and domestic violence in Houston, people facing family violence charges are often assumed guilty before getting a chance to tell their side of the story.

houston family violence attorney

At Mercer & Keirnan, we work together with both spouses for the best possible result in a Domestic Violence Case

Criminal Defense Lawyer for Family Violence Charges

Anyone fighting a domestic violence case can contact an experienced Houston criminal defense lawyer for family violence charges for a free quote and consultation. In many cases, complaining witnesses wish to drop family violence and 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. The prosecutor will only dismiss an assault family violence charge if the evidence is insufficient and cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The prosecutor does not care whether the victim wishes to proceed with a domestic violence case. 


To successfully defend an assault family violence charge in Houston, it is imperative to speak with an experienced Houston assault attorney. Whether you are facing misdemeanor assault family violence or felony domestic violence charges, John "Casey" Keirnan is a Houston criminal defense lawyer for family violence charges with over 38 years of experience.  Call 713-236-9700 for a free consultation. 


If you are being investigated for domestic violence or assault family violence, do not speak with police or prosecutors without an experienced Houston assault family violence 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 Criminal Defense Attorneys will work closely with you to make sure your side of the story is heard.



Houston Assault-Family Violence Attorney Casey Keirnan

John P. "Casey" Keirnan

Houston Assault Family Violence Attorney

**2014 HCCLA Lawyer of the Year**

Types of Domestic Violence Charges

Definition of Assault Family Violence

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 assault 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 or would like to know how to defend an assault family violence charge, contact Mercer & Keirnan immediately for a free consultation with an experienced Houston Family Violence Attorney.

Free 24/7 Consultations - 713-236-9700

Do I Need a Family Violence Attorney to Defend My Case?

It is absolutely imperative that you hire an experienced Houston Family Violence Attorney do defend your case. 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 criminal defense attorney who is familiar with the defenses to family violence charges in Houston:

  • 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, you need an experienced Houston family violence attorney to defend your case. Contact one of the top criminal defense attorneys at Mercer & Keirnan immediately after being charged 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 Assault 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:



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 MOEP 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.

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