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Long-term Ramifications of a Texas Domestic Violence Conviction

Fingerprints and handcuffsThis is the next post in our series discussing how to deal with charges related to domestic violence in Texas. Our last post discussed the pros and cons of agreeing to a deferred adjudication in cases involving first-time domestic violence offenders. In this post, we will discuss the long-term ramifications of accepting a guilty plea or being convicted of a domestic violence-related crime.

Georgetown residents convicted of domestic violence in Texas can be labeled a violent criminal

Consulting and hiring a criminal defense attorney to handle a Texas domestic violence charge is extremely important because the consequences of a conviction are steep. Once a person is convicted of the offense, even if it is a misdemeanor, they may be labeled as a violent criminal for the rest of their life. Many people believe that serving a year in jail or less is not that big of a deal; however, a criminal conviction on one’s record can haunt them for years to come. A domestic violence conviction may negatively impact all aspects of a person’s life from applying for a job, being accepted into an education program, or getting a loan. It can also harm a person’s chances in a future custody case- even if the parent filing for sole custody is not the domestic violence victim in question.

Being convicted for domestic assault also means that a person is permanently stripped of their civil right to carry or own a firearm. While this may not affect some, for persons who are employed by law enforcement, the military, or private security, a domestic violence charge can be career ending. It can also have a significant effect on gun enthusiasts or long term collectors who have responsibly owned firearms for decades. It is important to understand that a person’s right to own a firearm is stripped for any domestic violence offense- even if the crime did not involve a deadly weapon and no severe bodily harm was inflicted. This is true of all domestic violence cases throughout the state of Texas.

Record expungement in Texas is only available to those who convicted of Class C misdemeanors or who completed deferred adjudication

The minimum charge for domestic violence in Texas is a class A misdemeanor. This means that those who are convicted of a domestic violence crime, and who were not eligible for deferred adjudication, will never be eligible for an expungement under Texas law. Meaning that the above ramifications of a charge will continue to affect a person’s life indefinitely with no opportunity for relief over time.

The severity of this punishment is important to understand prior to pleading guilty to a domestic violence offense. It is not unusual for a defendant to plead guilty or accept a plea deal for a reduced sentence without fully understanding how their life will be affected. A defendant may have a case that could potentially win at trial, but choose not to fight due to concerns over money, or because of a desire to just “get it over with.” When making legal decisions, it is important to also consider the income and quality of life that one will lose if convicted of domestic violence. The choice to fight a charge at trial is often very difficult, but on many occasions a defendant may have a stronger case than they initially believe.

If you have been charged with domestic violence, it is important to discuss all of your legal options with an attorney prior to committing to a plea. In addition to Georgetown, we service the surrounding communities of Austin, Bartlett, Cedar Park, Florence, Granger, Hutto, Jarrell, Leander, Liberty Hill, Round Rock, Taylor, Thrall, and Weir.

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