If you are charged with a family violence offense make yourself fully aware of the consequences of taking any type of plea. This article does not fully articulate all the consequences of a plea in a family violence case and specifically does not discuss the consequences of a pre-trial diversion program or a plea of deferred adjudication. The attorneys at the Christiansen Law Firm have experience handling these types of cases and can provide the representation you need to ensure the best possible outcome for your situation. Contact Christiansen Law Firm in San Antonio for additional information.
The consequences of having a conviction for an assault on a person you have dated, are married to, is a family member or a roommate can be severe and life changing. If you choose to take a guilty/no contest plea you are also agreeing to have the court enter an affirmative finding of family violence on your case. An affirmative finding of family violence can affect conservatorship and visitation with your children, your housing and employment, and your second amendment rights. It can also be used to enhance a later charge of assault family violence, and if you are not a citizen of the United States it can lead to your deportation. These are only a few and not a complete list of the consequences of a finding of family violence.
How It Can Affect You and Your Children
A plea in a family violence case can and will be used against you if you become involved in a child custody battle. This type of conviction on your record will create a presumption that the court should not appoint you as a sole managing conservator of your child. This presumption can be overcome in some cases. However, this conviction may lead the court to decide that you are not fit to have the children in your care full time or even in an unsupervised setting. Therefore, your access to your children and whether you can even visit them alone outside a secure facility may be called into question and will become an issue for the court.
Housing and Employment
If you are renting there are apartment complexes that may refuse to lease you an apartment with a family violence conviction on your record. Similarly, there are some jobs that you will be unable to obtain an interview for or that will immediately fire you upon discovering you have a conviction for family violence.
Your Right to Own a Gun
An affirmative finding of family violence in Texas will prohibit you from possessing a firearm, even if the case that you plead to was only a misdemeanor. Federal law also prohibits the possession of a firearm by someone who has a conviction for a family violence offense.
Later Assault Charges
A conviction for a family violence offense may be used to increase the penalty of a later arrest for a family violence offense. For example, if you plea to a misdemeanor family violence offense and are later arrested on what normally would be a misdemeanor family violence offense (pushing your girlfriend for example), the State of Texas can actually choose to use your prior conviction against you and charge you with a felony.
A conviction for a crime involving family violence can lead to the deportation of a person who is not a U.S. Citizen.