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All Press Releases for January 30, 2014 »
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Penalties to increase for certain domestic violence offenses?

Texas takes an aggressive stance toward domestic violence, and penalties could be changing depending upon how the U.S. Supreme Court rules in a case regarding ownership of firearms by individuals convicted of these types of offenses.
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    January 30, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Domestic violence has long been an issue of concern for Texas lawmakers. Because of the serious nature of these offenses, those convicted of the crimes can expect to face very harsh consequences. Even an allegation of an incident connected to domestic violence can place severe restrictions upon a person's ability to find a place to live or interact with a loved one.

Many prosecutors aggressively pursue convictions in domestic violence matters, as they do not want these cases to escalate into much more serious crimes. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, one out of every four murders committed in 2012 involved individuals who were related or involved in an intimate relationship at some point.

When a person is convicted of a certain domestic violence offense, there may also be federal penalties that accompany the conviction, including the inability to own firearms. A recent case before the U.S. Supreme Court may have a significant impact on those offenders convicted in Texas.

The case concerns the definition of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense, and whether or not the state considers the use of force to be present in each matter. In some locations, a person could be convicted of a misdemeanor without using force, which has led to problems when applying the federal weapons ban. The court needs to define which actions will result in the firearms prohibition, and is currently deciding on the approach that should be used in future cases.

Texas is also considering some changes in the way it handles these crimes. Certain courts within the state have pledged to take a more proactive approach when it comes to domestic violence matters. Dallas County is taking part in a federal grant program which is designed to focus on the court's response to these types of cases, including ensuring that those convicted of the offenses comply with all of the various punishments imposed. If successful, other counties may implement some of the procedures being used.

Each year, it seems the penalties for domestic violence offenses get much more severe. If offenders simply plead guilty, they will have to deal with jail or prison time, as well as some of the consequences that can arise after the criminal justice system has finished with the case. Some may lose their jobs or be unable to spend time with their children, and it may take several years to resolve these issues.

If you have been arrested for a domestic-violence related offense, you need to contact a knowledgeable attorney as soon as possible. An attorney will be able to investigate the situation and learn if any defenses will be available. You need to take aggressive steps to protect your rights, as police and prosecutors are not going to be giving you the best advice for your future.

Article provided by Law Office of Derek W Emmons PC
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