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Domestic Violence Charges: Legal Rights and Defense Options in TX

Everyone has equal rights in American courts.

False domestic abuse allegations are on the rise. According to one survey, 10 percent of such allegations were exaggerated or fabricated. This high percentage affects the way judges issue protective orders as well as the defense options available to alleged abusers. Judges no longer take alleged victims at their word, and juries no longer automatically side against alleged abusers.

Procedurally, criminal judges usually issue (or deny) ex parte protective orders. Then, they pass the baton to family court judges, who can issue, rescind, extend, or cut off protective orders. More on these things below.

Both parties in a domestic protective order dispute have important rights that only a Fort Worth family law attorney can protect. Both alleged victims and alleged abusers deserve legal protection. Only a dedicated lawyer stands up for these protections, come what may.

Why Should I Get a Protective Order?

Usually, when police officers respond to domestic disturbance calls and arrest one person, they must inform the other person of his/her opportunity to apply for a protective order. Many alleged abusers believe a protective order is just a piece of paper, and they do not exercise this option.

Protective orders give daycare teachers, employers, school teachers, and other third parties official notice about a domestic issue. This notice triggers a legal and ethical duty to protect a child, the subject of the protective order.

Additionally, peace officers approach domestic situations differently if a person has a protective order.

First, the call becomes a repeat offense instead of an initial offense. Second, investigations are much more straightforward. Officers do not have to listen to a he-said-she-said exchange. Protective order violations are extremely straightforward. Third, to many officers, protective order violations and other court order violations are more serious than disturbance calls.

Furthermore, a domestic protective order in Tarrant County goes beyond notice of the issue and additional personal protection. A restraining order can contain additional provisions, such as:

If the alleged victim’s statement is credible, a judge may grant a protective order based solely on that statement. At a subsequent hearing, a Fort Worth family law attorney can convince a judge to rescind an earlier denial or extend the current protective order.

Protective Order Defenses

Lack of evidence is usually an effective defense. Even if the state’s case is strong, a favorable plea bargain is usually available.

Almost all alleged victims have mixed motives. They certainly want protection. Usually, they also want the alleged abuser to get in trouble, and they want a legal advantage in a current or future divorce or other family law matter.

If an attorney convinces a judge that less-than-pure motives outweigh the need for protection, judges typically deny protective orders or protective order extensions.

Furthermore, both parties were typically drinking at the time of the incident. Alcohol clouds memories that are already selective.

Almost regardless of the facts, an attorney often negotiates a settlement agreement that includes a consent decree. For practical purposes, a consent decree has the same effect as a protective order. For legal and other purposes, such as immigration purposes, a consent decree is almost meaningless.

Rely on a Thorough Tarrant County Criminal Defense Lawyer

There are usually two sides to the story in a protective order matter. For a free consultation with an experienced Fort Worth family law attorney, contact the Law Office of Kyle Whittaker. The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we start working for you.