Friday, November 28, 2008

The hidden danger of a domestic assault charge

You and your wife go out to a party one night and you both a little bit too much too drink.  On the way home you get into an argument over something petty.  However, by the time you get to the house, it's no longer a petty argument.  Voices raise and tempers flare.  Before you know it, you raise your hand and hit your wife.  She calls the police who come to the house, place you in handcuffs and take you downtown.

You're now charged with domestic assault, a Class A misdemeanor in Texas.  At your first court appearance the prosecutor offers you 12 months of deferred adjudication probation with the promise that the charge will be dismissed upon completion.  Do you take it?

Here's what the prosecutor didn't tell you and what an attorney not schooled in domestic assault cases might now know -- per Section 22.01(f)(1) of the Texas Penal Code, a plea of guilty or no contest to a domestic assault charge, in exchange for a grant of deferred adjudication, still counts as a conviction for enhancement purposes.  Should you be charged with a second domestic assault, you will be looking at a third degree felony.

If you've been charged with domestic assault, ask any prospective attorney what kind of experience they have dealing with domestic assault cases.  The failure to do so could be very costly.

No comments: