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Charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance? Protect Your Future with the Help of Houston Drug Lawyer Charles Johnson

Hire the Best Drug AttorneyCharges of Possession of a Controlled Substance (POCS) in the Houston area are quite common. Often times the controlled substance charge results after someone has already been arrested. For example, someone is arrested for DWI, public intoxication or an outstanding warrant and the controlled substance is found after arrest or during the process of being booked in to the Harris County Jail. Whether it’s a loose Vicodin pill in your purse or a Xanax pill that your friend gave you, drug charges can be filed.

Conviction for possession of controlled substances can leave you with a large fine, loss of property, or a jail sentence. Conviction for this offense will go down on your record and can affect your chances of getting a job, renting an apartment or home, or hinder your chances of getting an education loan.

If you or someone you love has been arrested and charged for possession of a controlled substance in the Houston area or anywhere in Texas, contact Houston Drug Defense Lawyer Charles Johnson today to get the experienced criminal defense you need and deserve. The Charles Johnson Law Firm has offices located in Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio for your convenience. Attorney Johnson will speak to you whenever you need him. He can be reached directly at (713) 222-7577 24 hours/day, any day of the year.

Possession of a Controlled Substance in Texas

Under Texas Health and Safety Code §§ 481.115 – 481.118, an individual can be charged with the offense of possession of a controlled substance (POCS) if they knowingly or intentionally possess any of the substances listed in Penalty Group I-IV without  a valid prescription from a doctor, including drugs, dangerous drugs, chemicals, narcotics, stimulants, prescription pills, medications, synthetic substances and natural substances. Penalties for possession of controlled substances differ based on the type of drug and the quantity you are carrying.  The penalties for possessing any of the above drugs range from 180 days to 99 years in jail. Your license can also be suspended for six months if you are convicted of violating the Texas Controlled Substance Act, and police have the right to seize any property, such as your car or home, that was used or was going to be used in the commission of drugs.

Charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance

It is an offense under both state and federal law to be in possession of any controlled substance and this is the most common charge filed involving drugs.  Possession is defined as the actual care, custody, control or management.  Actual possession refers to actual physical possession of a controlled substance while constructive possession usually is alleged when the controlled substance was found in an area where the person had access to or otherwise exercised control over (such as the trunk of a car or a safe).  This means that while a person can be charged with possession of a controlled substance even if the controlled substance was not actually found on the person, the charges can be challenged on the basis that the person did not exercise care, custody or control over the substance.  The focus in those cases is on whether the government can prove the person had “affirmative links” to the controlled substance.  Experienced Drug Attorney Charles Johnson has successfully challenged a client’s accusation of possession of controlled substance by making the case that there were no “affirmative links” to his client and the controlled substance.

Delivery of a Controlled Substance

It is an offense under both state and federal law to deliver or to have an intent to deliver a controlled substance.  “Deliver” means to transfer, actually or constructively, to another person and includes offering to sell a controlled substance as well.  Therefore, money does not have to actually be exchanged, and the “middleman” who helped arrange the transaction can also be prosecuted under this theory.  Under federal law, the most commonly charged delivery offense is possession of a controlled substance with the intent to deliver.  Under that type of charge, the government does not have to prove that you actually delivered the substance, but only that you had an intent to do so.  Most often, the government will attempt to this intent based on the large quantity of drugs found, or the possession of other indicators including scales, baggies, or cutting agents.

Manufacturing of a Controlled Substance

It is an offense under both state and federal law to manufacture a controlled substance.  Manufacturing refers to the production or creation of drugs and is most commonly prosecuted in cases involving marijuana grow operations or meth labs.  It is also a crime to possess certain drug precursors with the intent to manufacture and pharmacies now vigilantly monitor the sales of commonly used precursors such as certain cold medicines, matches, and lighter fluid.

Conspiracy to Possess with the Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance

One of the most frequently charged drug offenses in federal court is conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute a controlled substance, which involves actively planning with others to possess or distribute a controlled substance, regardless of actual possession or delivery.  This is typically the most serious type of drug accusation and usually involves multiple defendants and large quantities of drugs and can be extremely serious and complicated.

Possession of Methamphetamine

Due to the skyrocketing methamphetamine problem, the penalties for possession, delivery and manufacturing of methamphetamine have become extremely severe.  In addition, in Texas, depending on the quantity, there is a 15-20 mandatory minimum sentence if a child younger than 18 years of age was present on when the manufacturing of a controlled substance offense occurred.  In an effort to combat methamphetamine production, many counties in Texas have implemented “Meth Watch” programs which record and monitor over-the-counter cold medicines, prescription drugs, and household ingredients which are used to manufacture methamphetamine.

Possession of Cocaine

It is an offense to possess or distribute even the smallest amount of cocaine.  For example, even if there is a trace amount of cocaine found in a baggie, you can still be charged with possession of a cocaine which is a felony.  In the federal system, the penalties for cocaine base (crack cocaine) are notoriously severe.  In fact, the sentences for possession of cocaine base were so severe, especially in comparison with possession of an equal amount of powder cocaine, that the United States Sentencing Commission recently amended the Federal Sentencing Guidelines to slightly reduce the penalties for crack cocaine offenses.

Possession of Marijuana

It is an offense to possess, distribute or cultivate marijuana.  Depending on the quantity, possession of marijuana can be charged as a misdemeanor of felony in both state and federal court.  Under state law, possession of less than four ounces is a misdemeanor; however, you must have possessed a “usable quantity” to be charged with possession of marijuana.

Possession of Illegal Prescription Medications

It is an offense under both state and federal law to possess a prescription drug if you are not the valid prescription holder or to deliver a validly issued prescription drug to another person.  It is also a crime to forge or alter a prescription.  Prescription drug cases are prosecuted as aggressively as controlled substance cases and the penalties can be just as serious.

Possession of Paraphernalia

Under Texas law, it is a crime to possess or deliver drug paraphernalia.  Depending on the circumstances, what constitutes drug paraphernalia is very broad and can include pipes, lighters, plastic baggies and rolling papers if the government can show that there was an intent to use the items to use drugs.  In addition, it is also a crime to possess any items with the intent that they be used to cultivate a controlled substance which could include gardening equipment and fertilizers.

Penalties and Punishment for Possession of Controlled Substance in Texas

The penalty for Possession of a Controlled Substance is set out in the Texas Health and Safety Code, which vary upon various factors that generally include the type of the controlled substance and the amount of the controlled substance. The Texas Health and Safety Code creates five penalty groups that controlled substances are classified under:

Penalty Group

Examples of Drug/Controlled Substance

1

Cocaine, Heroin, Methamphetamine, Codeine, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Rohypnol and GHB

1A

LSD

2

Ecstasy, Amphetamines, Mushrooms, PCP and Mescaline

3

Valium, Xanax and Ritalin

4

Compounds containing Dionine, Motofen, Buprenorphone or Pryovalerone

Penalty Group 1

Weight

Charge

Range of Punishment

Less than one gram

State jail Felony

180 days to 2 years in state jail and a fine not to exceed $10,000

1 gram or more, but less than 4 grams

Third-degree Felony

2 to 10 years in a state prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000

4 grams or more, but less than 200 grams

Second-degree Felony

2 to 20 years in a state prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000

200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams

First-degree Felony

5 to 99 years or life in a state prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000

400 grams or more

Enhanced First-degree Felony

10 to 99 years or life in a state prison and a fine up to $100,000

Penalty Group 1A

Units

Charge

Range of Punishment

Fewer than 20 units

State jail Felony

180 days to 2 years in state jail and a fine not to exceed $10,000

20 units or more, but less than 80 units

Third-degree Felony

2 to 10 years in a state prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000

80 units or more, but less than 4,000 units

Second-degree Felony

2 to 20 years in a state prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000

4,000 units or more, but less than 8,000 units

First-degree Felony

5 to 99 years or life in a state prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000

8,000 units or more

Enhanced First-degree Felony

15 to 99 years or life in a state prison and a fine up to $250,000

Penalty Group 2

Weight

Charge

Range of Punishment

Less than one gram

State jail Felony

180 days to 2 years in state jail and a fine not to exceed $10,000

More than 1 gram, but less than 4 grams

Third-degree Felony

2 to 10 years in a state prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000

More than 4 grams, but less 400 grams

Second-degree Felony

2 to 20 years in a state prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000

400 grams or more

Enhanced First-degree Felony

5 to 99 years or life in a state prison and a fine not to exceed $50,000

Penalty Group 3

Weight

Charge

Range of Punishment

Less than 28 grams

Class A Misdemeanor

Up to 1 year in county jail and a fine not to exceed $4,000

28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams

Third-degree Felony

2 to 10 years in a state prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000

200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams

Second-degree Felony

2 to 20 years in a state prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000

400 grams or more

Enhanced First-degree Felony

5 to 99 years or life in a state prison and a fine not to exceed $50,000

Penalty Group 4

Weight

Charge

Range of Punishment

Less than 28 grams

Class B Misdemeanor

Up to 180 days in county jail and a fine not to exceed $2,000

28 grams or more, but less than 200 grams

Third-degree Felony

2 to 10 years in a state prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000

200 grams or more, but less than 400 grams

Second-degree Felony

2 to 20 years in a state prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000

400 grams or more

Enhanced First-degree Felony

5 to 99 years or life in a state prison and a fine not to exceed $50,000

Additional penalties may include the suspension of your driver’s license or the possibility or seizure and forfeiture of any property if the property was used or was going to be used in the commission of a drug crime.

Possible Defenses for Possession of Controlled Substance Charges

There are many ways to defend a possession of a controlled substance charge. One of the primary defenses to possession of controlled substance cases is to examine the search and seizure process. The fourth Amendment protects citizens from unlawful searches of property. Was there probable cause? Did the officials read you your rights? In some cases the drugs aren’t illegal and the person had a prescription and right to possess them. The element of possession is crucial in a possession of a controlled substance case.

It must be proven that you actually exercised a great degree of care, custody, control or management of the drug. Since many drug arrests in Texas involve finding drugs in a home or car it can be unclear who actually possessed or controlled the drugs. The individual must have full knowledge of possession — if they are unaware, then no crime has been committed. This could happen when an individual borrows a friend’s car only to be pulled over and charged with possession when marijuana is found in the glove box.

Keeping the above items in mind, according to Texas law the offense of drug possession occurs when a person has knowledge that they have a controlled substance within their control and have the intent to possess that substance.

If you have been charged with possession of a controlled substance, contact Houston Drug Lawyer Charles Johnson immediately. In many cases, he can get your case dismissed or reduced and avoid having a felony conviction on your record.

Attorney Johnson can examine and review the circumstance surrounding your possession arrest and develop a defense that is unique to the circumstances surrounding your case.

The Charles Johnson Law Firm combines the experience of a criminal defense attorney with a seasoned support staff and professional investigators. Investigations start immediately by securing documentation involving witness statements and police reports. Police labs are put on notice to verify the alleged illegal substance and its true quantity.

After the facts are assembled, we will pursue the best outcome by negotiating a reduced punishment or pursue a trial in court. Options also exist that encompass counseling and rehabilitation programs for addiction problems.

Possession of a Controlled Substance: Hire the Best Houston Drug Lawyer

Possession of marijuana is in a separate drug offense category in Texas but is still extremely serious with the potential of being charged as a felony or misdemeanor, depending on the amount possessed. All charges in Texas for drug possession are quite serious. This is not the time to hide your head in the sand and hope for the best — you need an aggressive attorney who will fight hard to get your charges dismissed or possibly reduced. A drug conviction on your record will follow you for the rest of your life, so take it very seriously and hire an attorney who does the same.

Contact Experienced Houston Drug Defense Lawyer Charles Johnson if you have been arrested for possession of a controlled substance. An arrest for possession of controlled substance in Texas can have devastating consequences and severe repercussions that can in all probability be avoided if you select the right lawyer. Call Attorney Johnson anytime day or night at (713) 222-7577. He is available to discuss your case whenever you need him.

Possession of a Controlled Substance

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Arrested for Assault Family Violence? The Right Houston Criminal Lawyer Can Make A Difference In Your Case

Hire the Best Houston Assault Family Violence AttorneyAn arrest for Houston Assault Family Violence (or Domestic Violence) can be a devastating experience to anyone. Whether the incident was a harmless situation that spun out of control, a gross misunderstanding, or a typical way of communicating between two people. The time after the arrest can be terrifying, as the criminal justice system is very complicated. Houston Assault Family Violence Lawyer Charles Johnson can make sure that your legal rights are protected. Attorney Johnson can determine whether police followed the proper legal procedures when arresting you and, when feasible, prove that the charges are unwarranted.

Being charged with any form of domestic violence is a very serious matter. Not only may you face jail time or probation, many domestic violence cases involve restraining orders, meaning you may have to leave your house and your family immediately – even if you own the house or pay the rent. In addition, a conviction or probated sentence that includes a finding of family violence will affect your right to possess any firearms or to obtain a hunting license.

You are entitled to the best legal defense possible. Houston Criminal Lawyer Charles Johnson can deliver that defense for you. You can contact Houston Domestic Violence Lawyer Charles Johnson day or night, 24 hours/day 7 days/week and speak with him directly at (713) 222-7577. His Law Office is headquartered in Houston, with offices conveniently located in Dallas, Austin and San Antonio.

Definitions of Domestic Violence

Domestic violence includes physical violence, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, intimidation, economic deprivation, and threats of violence.  The relationships that most state domestic violence laws define as necessary for a charge of domestic assault or abuse include spouse or former spouse, persons who currently live together or who have lived together within the previous year, or persons who share a common child.

Definitions of criminal violence include physical assault (hitting, pushing, shoving, etc.), sexual abuse (unwanted or forced sexual activity), and stalking. Although emotional, psychological and financial abuse are not criminal behaviors, they are forms of abuse and can lead to criminal violence.

Violence by a man against his wife or intimate partner is often a way for a man to control “his woman.”  Although domestic violence can occur between gay and lesbian couples, and by women against their male partners, by far the most common form is male violence against women.

Types of violence include:

  • Common couple violence (CCV) which is not connected to general control behavior, but arises in a single argument where one or both partners physically lash out at the other.
  • Intimate terrorism (IT) which can also involve emotional and psychological abuse. It is one element in a general pattern of control by one partner over the other. It is more common than common couple violence, more likely to escalate over time, not as likely to be mutual, and more likely to involve serious injury.
  • Violent resistance (VR), which is sometimes interpreted as “self-defense,” is usually violence perpetrated by women against their abusive partners.
  • Mutual violent control (MVC) which is a rare type of intimate partner violence that occurs when both partners use violence to battle for control.
  • Situational couple violencewhich arises out of conflicts that escalate to arguments and then to violence. It is not connected to a general pattern of control. Although it occurs less frequently in relationships, and is less serious than intimate terrorism, it can be frequent and quite serious, even life-threatening.

Although domestic violence is sometimes explained as the result of the abuser losing control, many batterers do exhibit control over the nature and extent of their physical violence.   They may direct their assaults to parts of their partners’ bodies that are covered by clothing so that any injuries will not be seen by others. Conversely, some batterers purposefully target their partners’ faces to compel isolation or to disfigure them so that “no one else will want them.” Batterers can often describe their personal limits for physical abuse.  They may explain that while they have slapped their partners with an open hand, they would never punch them with their fists. Others admit to hitting and punching but report that they would never use a weapon.

Domestic violence often gets worse over time.  One explanation for this is that increasing the intensity of the abuse is an effective way for batterers to maintain control over their partners and prevent them from leaving. The violence may also escalate because most batterers experience few, if any, negative consequences for their abusive behavior. Social tolerance of domestic violence thus not only contributes to its existence, but may also influence its progression and batterers’ definitions of the acceptable limits of their abuse.

Domestic violence is a pervasive problem in the United States as the statistics below indicate:

  • Approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually.
  • Intimate partner violence made up 20% of all nonfatal violent crimes against women in 2001.
  • In 2000, 1,247 women and 440 men were killed by an intimate partner. In recent years, intimate partners killed approximately 33% of female murder victims and 4% of male murder victims.
  • Access to firearms greatly increases the risk of intimate partner violence.  Research suggests that abusers who possess guns tend to inflict the most severe abuse on their partners.
  • Nearly half of all violent crimes committed against family members are crimes against spouses.
  • Research indicates that 84% of spouse abuse victims are females, and 86% of victims of dating partner abuse at are female.
  • Wives are more likely than husbands to be killed by their spouses; wives were about half of all spouses in the population in 2002, but made up 81% of all persons killed by their spouses.
  • Slightly more than half of female domestic violence victims live in households with children under age 12.  It is estimated that between 3.3 million and 10 million children witness domestic violence annually.
  • Fifty-six percent of women who experience any partner violence are diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder. Twenty-nine percent of all women who attempt suicide are battered; 37% of battered women have symptoms of depression, 46% have symptoms of anxiety disorder, and 45% experience post-traumatic stress disorder.

Effects of domestic violence on women and children

Battered women suffer physical and mental effects from domestic violence. Battering causes more injuries to women than auto accidents, rapes, or muggings.  It also threatens their financial wellbeing.  They may miss work to appear in court or because of illnesses or injuries that result from the violence. They may have to move many times to avoid violence. Many battered women forgo financial security during divorce proceedings to avoid further abuse.

Battered women often lose social support.  Their abusers isolate them from family and friends. Women who are being abused may isolate themselves from support persons to avoid the embarrassment that would result from discovery.  Some battered women are abandoned by their churches when they separate from their abusers because some religious doctrines prohibit separation or divorce regardless of the severity of abuse.

When mothers are abused by their partners, the children are also affected.  Children who witness domestic violence may feel confusion, stress, fear, and shame.  They may think that they caused the problem or feel guilty for not protecting their mothers. They may themselves be abused or neglected while the mother attempts to deal with the trauma. Children in homes where domestic violence occurs are at risk for being physically abused or seriously neglected.

One-third of all children who see their mothers beaten develop emotional problems. They may cry excessively, be withdrawn or shy, have difficulty making friends or develop a fear of adults. Other consequences for children include excessive absences from school, depression, suicidal behavior, drug and alcohol abuse, running away, committing criminal acts as juveniles and adults, and using violence to solve problems at school and home.  The stress resulting from living with domestic violence can show up as difficulty in sleeping, bedwetting, over-achieving, behavior problems, withdrawing, stomach aches, headaches and/or diarrhea.

Domestic violence can carry over from one generation to the next.  Boys who witness their fathers abuse their mothers are more likely to inflict severe violence as adults. Girls who witness their mothers being abused are more likely to tolerate abuse as adults than who girls did not grow up under these circumstances.

Domestic violence and alcohol and other drugs

There is little evidence for the widely-held belief that abusing alcohol causes domestic violence. Although research indicates that men who drink heavily do commit more assaults that result in serious physical injury, the majority of abusive men are not heavy drinkers and the majority of men who are heavy drinkers do not abuse their partners.  Even for batterers who drink, there is little evidence to suggest that drinking causes abusive behavior.  In 76% of physically abusive incidents, there is no alcohol involved, and there is no evidence to suggest that alcohol use or dependence is linked to the other non-violent behaviors that are part of the pattern of domestic violence. It is true, however, that when cultural norms and expectations about male behavior after drinking include boisterous or aggressive behaviors, individual men are more likely to engage in such behaviors when under the influence of alcohol than when sober.

There is a pervasive belief that alcohol lowers inhibitions and a historical tradition of holding people who commit crimes while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs less accountable than those who commit crimes in a sober state.  Historically, society has not held batterers accountable for their abusive behavior.  They are held even less accountable for battering perpetrated when they are under the influence of alcohol. The alcohol provides a ready and socially acceptable excuse for their violence.

Evolving from the belief that abusing alcohol or other drugs causes domestic violence is the belief that treating the chemical dependency will stop the violence. However, research indicates that when batterers are in treatment, the abuse continues and often escalates during recovery, creating more danger to the victim than existed prior to treatment. In the cases in which battered women report that the level of physical abuse decreases, they often report a corresponding increase in threats, manipulation and isolation.

As noted earlier, domestic violence is often explained as a loss of control by the batterer.  However, even when alcohol or other drugs are involved, the experiences of battered women contradict this view. Battered women report that even when their partners appear uncontrollably drunk during a physical assault, they routinely exhibit the ability to sober up remarkably quickly if there is an outside interruption, such as police intervention.

  • Of the
    32.1 million nonfatal violent crimes that took place between 1998 and 2002, 30% of victims said the offender was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • An additional 29.2% indicated the offender was sober at the time, and 40.8% said they did not know.
  • A larger percentage of family violence victims (38.5%) reported the offender was under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the incident than did nonfamily violence victims (28.9%).
  • Offenders who abused their boyfriend or girlfriend were more likely than other types of nonfamily violence offenders to be drinking or using drugs. Four out of 10 (41.4%) offenders involved in violence with a boyfriend or girlfriend were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, compared to 26.3% of offend-ers involved in violence against a friend or acquaintance and 29.3% of stranger violence.
  • Excluding the 19.5% of family violence victims who did not know whether the offender was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident, approximately 2.8 million victims of family violence were able to indicate whether the offender was or was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In nearly half the incidents, family violence victims reported the offender had been using drugs or alcohol at the time of the offense.

Interventions with substance-abusing batterers

If batterers use alcohol or other drugs, these problems should be addressed separately and concurrently. This is critical not only to maximize the victim’s safety, but also to prevent the battering from precipitating relapse or otherwise interfering with the recovery process. True recovery requires much more than abstinence. It includes adopting a lifestyle that enhances emotional and spiritual health, a goal that cannot be achieved if the battering continues.

Self-help programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous promote and support emotional and spiritual health and have helped many alcoholics get sober. These programs, however, were not designed to address battering and are not sufficient, by themselves, to motivate batterers to stop their abuse. It is critical that any treatment plan for chemically dependent men who batter include attendance at programs designed specifically to address the attitudes and beliefs that encourage their abusive behavior.

When abusive men enter substance abuse treatment programs, their partners are often directed into self-help programs such as Al-Anon or co-dependency groups. However, these resources were not designed to meet the needs of victims of domestic violence and often inadvertently cause harm to battered women.  The goals of these groups typically include helping alcoholics’ family members to focus on their own needs, practice emotional detachment from the substance abusers, and identify and stop protecting their partners from the harmful consequences of addiction. Group members are encouraged to define their personal boundaries, set limits on their partners’ behaviors, and stop protecting their partners from the harmful consequences of addiction. While these strategies and goals may be very useful for women whose partners are not abusive, for battered women such changes will likely result in an escalation of abuse, including physical violence.

Battered women are often very sensitive to their partners’ moods as a way to assess their level of danger. They focus on their partners’ needs and cover up for them as part of their survival strategy.  These behaviors are not dysfunctional but are life-saving skills that protect them and their children from further harm. When battered women are encouraged to stop these behaviors through self-focusing and detachment, they are being asked to stop doing the things that may be keeping them and their children most safe.

Myths Regarding Domestic Violence

“Domestic Violence” can be defined in legal and clinical terms. For clinical purposes, domestic violence is “assaultive behavior.” Domestic violence generally represents a pattern of behavior rather then a single isolated event. The pattern of behavior can take on many different forms, all of them involving physical violence or threats of physical violence. The violence may be accomplished through the use of hand, feet, weapons, or other objects.

The National Institute of Justice estimates that a woman is battered every 18 seconds in the United States. Some studies have suggested that between 35 and 50 percent of the nation’s couples have experienced at least one violent incident in their relationship.

Historically, the problem of violence in the home has been surrounded by a number of myths and misconceptions, which has perpetuated spouse abuse in society and has hampered the effective response of law enforcement.

Some of the most common myths and misconceptions are briefly addressed below.

Domestic Violence is a Private “Family Matter”

Some feel that violence between people in intimate relationships is somehow “different” than violence between strangers. The privacy of the marital relationship and the family unit has been elevated above the prohibitions against violence contained in existing laws. Nevertheless, a spouse has no right under existing laws to physically abuse their spouse in any manner.

Domestic Violence is Usually Provoked by the Victim

This myth stems from a belief that men have the right to discipline their spouses for behavior that the man does not approve of. Most studies agree that mutual combat or provocation is not the cause of domestic violence. Indeed, verbal “provocation,” no matter how severe, should never be a justification for violence. The failure of a batterer to take responsibility for his violent behavior and the victim’s tendency for self-blame should not lead society to the same erroneous conclusions. In the overwhelming majority of cases, it is women who are being routinely and severely victimized by men. To be sure, abused men do exist and must be protected, but the incidents of husband and boyfriend battering are rare.

Battered Women are Masochistic

Some believe that if battered women were really abused, they would leave. Others believe that if victims of abuse wished to end the abuse, they could simply seek outside help and leave the relationship. These views reflect an ignorance regarding the dynamics of abusive relationships. Battered women have often been in the relationships for a significant period of time and have strong mental and emotional ties. Often children are involved and the battered spouse must resolve how to provide for her children if she were to leave the abusive relationship and take her children with her. Battered women face enormous pressures to remain in an abusive relationship, including economic dependency, lack of support from relatives and friends, and threats of increased violence if any action is taken against their abuse. For a victim, low self-esteem further compounds the problem of removing herself from an abusive relationship.

Batterers are Always Drug or Alcohol Abusers

Many believe that men who batter women are predominantly working class substance abusers. Experts, however, have determined that domestic violence spans every socioeconomic group and is not caused by substance abuse. Recent studies suggest that alcohol and drugs may increase the level of violence but do not precipitate the violence. The decision to use violence is often made before the batterer ingests the substance, which he will ultimately blame for his violence outburst. The drugs or alcohol, thereafter, becomes a convenient excuse for engaging in deviant behavior.

Understanding the Cycle of Domestic Violence

Relationships, which involve any level of physical violence generally, evidence a recurring cycle of behavior. The “cycle of violence” in a violent relationship consists of three stages:

(1) the tension building phase

(2) the acute battering episode and

(3) the aftermath: loving respite.

Tension Building Phase

The first phase is a tension-building stage. The woman senses the man becoming edgy and more prone to react negatively to any trivial frustration. Many women learn to recognize incipient violence and try to control it by becoming nurturing and compliant or by staying out of the way.

A woman often views the building rage in her partner as being directed toward her and internalizes the job of keeping the situation from exploding. If she does her job well, he will become calm; if she fails, it is her fault. A woman who has been battered over time knows that the tension building stage will aggravate, but denies this knowledge to help herself cope with her partner’s behavior. As the tension builds, he becomes more fearful that she will leave him; she may reinforce this fear by withdrawing from him to avoid inadvertently setting off the impending violence.

Acute Battering Episode

The second phase in the pattern of violence is the explosion. Many men report that they do not start out wanting to hurt the woman but want only to teach her a lesson. This is the stage where police, the victim, or the batterer may be killed. The violence may involve pushing, shoving, shaking, or pulling hair. It may involve hitting with an open hand or a closed fist.

The violence may be over in a moment or last for minutes or hours. There may be visible injuries, but often an experienced batterer will leave no marks. The violence attack rarely takes a single consistent form. Most women are extremely grateful when the battering ends. They consider themselves lucky that it was not worse, no matter how bad their injuries are. They often deny the seriousness of their injuries and refuse to seek immediate medical attention.

Aftermath: Loving Respite

The third phase is a period of calm, loving, contrite behavior. The man is genuinely sorry for what he has done. His worst fear is that his partner will leave him so he tries as hard as he can to make up for his brutal behavior. He really believes he can control himself and will never again hurt the woman he loves. The battered woman wants to believe she will no longer have to suffer abuse. His reasonableness and his loving behavior during this period support her wish that he can really change. He lets her know that he would fall apart without her. So, she feels responsible for her own conduct that led to the beating and also responsible for his well being.

Victims will most frequently enter the criminal justice system after an acute battering episode; the “loving respite” phase usually follows immediately. Both parties may be horrified by what has happened. Both feel guilty about the event and both resolve to never let it happen again. The batterer very typically will treat the victim with apparent respect, love, and affection. This is a great relief to the victim and is precisely what the victim has wanted out of their relationship all along.

This “loving respite” phase makes criminal prosecution difficult. As long as the batterer continues to behave affectionately, the victim may become increasingly reluctant to jeopardize such good behavior by cooperating with the prosecution. A victim-witness advocate who understands the dynamics of the battering cycle can effectively intervene by reminding the victim of similar remorseful periods in the past, predicting a return to the tension building phase, and explaining the likelihood of more frequent and severe injuries.

Domestic Violence Penalties

A family violence conviction can lead to numerous life-altering and long-term penalties, including up to one (1) year in jail, fines up to $4000.00, anger management or family violence classes, probation, and a finding of family violence that may affect the custody of your children. If you have a prior family violence conviction, you could be facing up to ten (10) years in prison, as well as a fine up to $10,000.00. The penalties also increase if the violence is aggravated in any way with a weapon or if you cause an injury to a child. Depending on the circumstances, you may also be prohibited from contacting the complainant for an extended period of time, thereby preventing you from spending time with your loved one.

Unlike most criminal offenses in Texas, you can never seal your criminal record if you are convicted of a family violence crime or accepted deferred adjudication with a finding of family violence. To avoid these significant penalties, it is critical that you contact the Charles Johnson Law Firm. He is skilled and experienced in these very sensitive cases.

Defined in Domestic Violence Civil LawsFam. Code §§ 71.004; 71.0021

‘Family violence’ means:

  • An act by a member of a family or household against another member of the family or household that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, or that is a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself
  • Abuse, as that term is defined by § 261.001, by a member of a family or household toward a child of the family or household

Dating violence

‘Dating violence’ means an act by an individual that is against another individual with whom that person has or has had a dating relationship and that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault or that is a threat that reasonably places the individual in fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or sexual assault, but does not include defensive measures to protect oneself.

Defined in Criminal Laws

Penal Code § 25.07

A person commits an offense if, in violation of a condition of bond set in a family violence case and related to the safety of the victim or the safety of the community, an order issued under article 17.292, Code of Criminal Procedure, an order issued under § 6.504, Family Code, chapter 83, Family Code, if the temporary ex parte order has been served on the person, or chapter 85, Family Code, or an order issued by another jurisdiction, the person knowingly or intentionally:

  • Commits family violence or an act in furtherance of an offense under §§ 22.011, 22.021, or 42.072
  • Communicates:
    • Directly with a protected individual or a member of the family or household in a threatening or harassing manner
    • A threat through any person to a protected individual or a member of the family or household
    • In any manner with the protected individual or a member of the family or household except through the person’s attorney or a person appointed by the court, if the violation is of an order described by this subsection, and the order prohibits any communication with a protected individual or a member of the family or household
  • Goes to or near any of the following places as specifically described in the order or condition of bond:
    • The residence or place of employment or business of a protected individual or a member of the family or household
    • Any child care facility, residence, or school where a child protected by the order or condition of bond normally resides or attends
  • Possesses a firearm

‘Family violence,’ ‘family,’ ‘household,’ and ‘member of a household’ have the meanings assigned by chapter 71, Family Code.

Persons Included in the Definitions

Fam. Code §§ 71.0021; 71.003; 71.005; 71.006

‘Dating relationship’ means a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on consideration of:

  • The length of the relationship
  • The nature of the relationship
  • The frequency and type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship

A casual acquaintanceship or ordinary fraternization in a business or social context does not constitute a ‘dating relationship.’

‘Family’ includes individuals related by consanguinity or affinity, as determined under §§ 573.022 and 573.024, Government Code; individuals who are former spouses of each other; individuals who are the parents of the same child, without regard to marriage; and a foster child and foster parent, without regard to whether those individuals reside together.

‘Household’ means a unit composed of persons living together in the same dwelling, without regard to whether they are related to each other. ‘Member of a household’ includes a person who previously lived in a household.

Building a Strong Defense

Many domestic violence or spousal abuse charges occur during the divorce process or in child custody disputes. Unfortunately, in these situations one spouse may try to obtain an advantage over the other by making false or exaggerated accusations.

Houston Criminal Lawyer Charles Johnson will work hard to build a strong defense against the domestic violence charges you face. We will carefully listen to you and investigate the events leading up to the charges. What is the context of the domestic abuse accusation? Did the alleged victim start the fight? Is there a custody issue at stake? Understanding the context of the event can help us prepare an effective defense strategy on your behalf. Our goal is to obtain a dismissal of the charges, a negotiated plea agreement that minimizes the penalties you face, or a not guilty verdict after trial.

In the recent past, several factors have caused Domestic Violence to emerge as a distinction within the assault category. If a defendant and the alleged victim are spouses or former spouses, related by blood or marriage, reside or have resided in the same household or have a child or children in common; then any assaults would be categorized as “Domestic”. This distinction requires that certain federal statutes are triggered and the defendant shall no longer be allowed to own or possess a firearm.

Hire the Best Houston Assault Family Violence AttorneyIt is often mistakenly assumed by defendants, as well as victims, that the decision to prosecute lies with the victim. Many presume that if the two have reconciled then they may avoid prosecution by merely allowing the victim to inform the court or prosecuting attorney that they do not wish to prosecute or by simply not appearing in court in violation of the subpoena requiring their appearance. This naive assumption has led to many defendants failing to prepare a defense to the charges that may have otherwise been successfully defended. The prosecutor may insist that the victim testify and proceed without their consent. The victim’s cooperation with the defense is of course valuable in preparing for court and often in avoiding prosecution on a criminal offense. This must be utilized in conjunction with a strategy tailored around the specific facts and circumstances of the offense at hand, as well as parties involved. In order for this to occur it is essential that the defendant obtain legal representation and closely follow the advice of his or her counsel.

Domestic Violence is a serious problem in this country. Certainly, however, anyone can understand that relationships are hard and with added stress from financial problems, work related stress and of course drug or alcohol addiction people may do things for which they are not proud. When charged with such an offense it is essential that an individual begin immediately preparing a defense which may include mitigating measures. These may include a drug and alcohol assessment, counseling, anger management training or even alcoholics or narcotics anonymous meetings. It is for this reason that a consultation with an attorney experienced in defending these matters occurs prior to proceeding to court.

Contact Houston Domestic Violence Lawyer Charles Johnson

It’s important to speak with an attorney as soon as you’ve been arrested. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner work can be done to prevent your charges from escalating into a conviction.

Harris County Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Charles Johnson knows how frustrating and hopeless things may seem right now, but urges you not to give up hope. There are many viable defense strategies for fighting domestic violence charges, and many things that can be done to ensure your charges don’t spiral out of control. You can depend on Attorney Johnson to thoroughly investigate your charges, and trust that he’ll make it known to the judge if he finds anything that may indicate the accusations were fabricated. The Charles Johnson Law Firm is here for you, and will do whatever can be done to make sure this ordeal results in the best possible outcome!

If you have been accused of domestic violence, don’t try to fight your charges alone.

Contact Houston Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer Charles Johnson for experienced and dependable representation. He can be reached directly around the clock, 7 days/week at (713) 222-7577.

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