Category Archives: Domestic Violence

What to Do If You’re Falsely Accused of Domestic Violence

There are many reasons why individuals may be falsely accused of a crime they didn’t commit. Perhaps your spouse is attempting to accuse you of violence to try and secure a better outcome during a divorce. Or, maybe the individual is simply angry and wants to “get back at you” by trying to damage your reputation.

Regardless of the reasoning, domestic violence is a serious allegation that could result in severe consequences. Keep reading to discover what you should do and avoid if you’ve been falsely accused.

Do This First: Reach Out to an Attorney

First, consider reaching out to a skilled criminal defense attorney, even if you have yet to be formally charged. An attorney will get to work on your defense quickly.

The consequences of a domestic violence conviction are serious in Texas. For example, you could be subjected to fines or several years in prison, depending on the severity of the charge. A conviction will also result in a criminal record that may keep you from getting a job and owning a firearm.

Avoiding these consequences when you didn’t commit the crime is the reason an attorney is critical to your case.

4 Things to Avoid After Being Accused of Domestic Violence

After being falsely accused, there are a few things you should avoid at all costs:

  1. Contacting the accuser: If you can, do your best to avoid communicating with your accuser. This may allow them to make further accusations. Instead, allow your attorney to handle any communication that’s required.
  2. Talking about the accusation on social media: Another way to exacerbate the issue is by sharing it on social media. Remember, everything you say can be used against you. So, refrain from speaking about the accusation on Facebook or any other platform.
  3. Speaking with law enforcement: You have a right to remain silent. Before you speak to law enforcement, reach out to an attorney who can advise you on what to say and what to avoid sharing.
  4. Failing to gather evidence: If there’s any evidence that can be used in your defense, gather it. Evidence can include anything from text messages to photos.

Call Lee & Wood, LP for Support

If you have been accused of domestic violence, you must reach out to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. The attorneys at Lee & Wood, LP are here to support you during this time. Reach out to us today by calling 817-678-6771 or send us a message.

Can a Partner Drop Domestic Violence Charges in Texas?

Domestic violence charges often result from things that happened in the heat of the moment. An argument may have escalated until the neighbors reported the shouting to the police. Police may have mistaken an injury for a sign of domestic abuse. A household member may have made a report motivated by jealousy or anger, or to gain leverage in a family law proceeding.

Later the household member may want to drop their allegations. This is very common. In fact, it’s well documented that 80 to 90% of domestic violence victims recant their statements to police and investigators. 

What if a household member wants to take back what they said? Can a partner drop domestic violence charges in Texas?

About the Texas “No Drop” Policy

Texas has passed legislation to make sure that domestic violence charges are taken very seriously. Our state’s “no drop” policy means that, even if someone in your household wants to drop domestic violence charges, they do not have the power to do so on their own.

Domestic violence charges are brought by the prosecutor—not the alleged victim of domestic violence. Under Texas law, it’s the prosecutor’s decision whether to drop charges. Even if the alleged victim later changes their mind, they do not have the authority to drop charges on their own.

Instead, the prosecutor must be persuaded to drop the assault charges. It’s not impossible to accomplish, but it requires specific legal action and strategy.

Convincing a Prosecutor to Drop Domestic Violence Charges

Your partner or household member can’t decide to drop charges on their own, so your lawyer may need to emphasize other facts of your case. Each case is different, but a lawyer may emphasize a client’s lack of any past criminal record. They may also look to the facts of the case to help convince prosecutors that the charges need to be dropped.

Why Does Texas Have a “No Drop” Policy?

Our state’s “no drop” policy is tied to psychological research about the nature of abusive relationships. Abusive relationships often follow a cycle of gradual escalation of violence until a dramatic and significant episode. That episode is often followed by a period of calm during which the abuser tries to make it up to their partner.

Prosecutors are concerned that their clients will make statements directly after a violent episode, and then take them back when things are calm again—even though there’s likely to be a gradual escalation of violence in the future. 

Prosecutors are also concerned that abusive partners will pressure their victims into recanting out of fear. The state’s strict “no drop” policy is designed to protect against these situations.

Call Our Fort Worth Lawyers About Domestic Violence Charges

If someone in your household has made domestic violence allegations against you, call 817-678-6771 for a confidential consultation with the Fort Worth domestic violence defense lawyers at Lee and Wood, LP. 

We have extensive experience defending people against misdemeanor and felony assault charges. You may also send us a message.


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Bail Reform Bill Now in Effect, Limiting Who Can Be Released

Last year the Texas Senate and House decided to take a look at how bail works in Texas. The new bail reform law they passed may have some positive effects. It requires that the court look at a person’s criminal history before setting bail, and it requires more training for judges. 

But the new law also took away a judge’s discretion to decide on bail in some cases.

It prohibits a person charged with a violent crime from being released on their own recognizance. (This is when a person signs an agreement with the court and does not have to pay money in order to be released).  

What About the Presumption of Innocence?

In the USA, if you have been charged with a crime you are INNOCENT until PROVEN guilty. That’s one of the most important foundations of our legal system. And yet a Texas Observer article from 2018 found that ¾ of county jail inmates in Texas had not been convicted of a crime! They were incarcerated because they couldn’t pay bail (or a hold had been put on them). 

That’s a lot of people doing time who may be innocent. Unfortunately, the new bail reform law won’t improve that situation for some of those people. 

What Is a Violent Crime in Texas?

The most commonly charged violent crime in Texas is aggravated assault. That is:

  • An assault with a weapon (or anything that could be used as a weapon that could cause injury or death) or 
  • An assault that caused serious injury (disfigurement or impairment of function for a period of time or risk of death). 

Robbery is the next most common violent crime. Robbery is intentionally, knowingly or recklessly threatening someone or causing bodily injury during the commission of a theft. 

Rape and murder are also violent crimes.

The Importance of Negotiating Charges

It’s not uncommon for criminal charges to be adjusted downward. A prosecutor often starts with many criminal charges, or the highest charge they think they can get. Then, as the case is prepared for court or through the plea-bargaining process between the prosecutor and defense attorney, the charges are reduced or dropped altogether.

If you are facing serious criminal charges, don’t talk to the police or submit a plea until you’ve talked to a lawyer of your own. Someone who will protect your interests and provide a strong defense. Call the Fort Worth criminal defense lawyers at Lee and Wood, LP. at 817-678-6771 or contact us online

Tarrant County Domestic Violence Diversion Program

Domestic violence calls to the SafeHaven hotline increased by 50% in Tarrant County during the COVID pandemic as people in stressed and stressful life circumstances became even more isolated. 

That call to a domestic violence hotline can get someone out of the house and into a living situation that they find safer. A call to the police will get someone out of the house and into the courtroom, charged with a domestic violence crime that could put them in jail. And that leads to a lifetime of negative consequences that seldom help the victim, the accused, ortheir family work through their problems. 

The truth is, many people in troubled relationships do love one another and would want to stay together if they could be sure that family violence would not be a part of their life in future. 

Thanks to a grant from the Criminal Justice Division of the Governor’s office, Tarrant County offers has a pre-trial Domestic Violence Diversion Program to help people accused of domestic assault to change their lives. 

Participants must undergo screening and assessment in order to be selected to participate in this rehabilitation program. In order to qualify you must admit to the fact that you committed the crime by entering a guilty plea to assault (family violence) before a judge. You must be willing to fully participate in the program and make life changes. And the victim must sign a consent form for you to participate. 

Other criteria include:

  • The offense you are charged with must be a misdemeanor partner-on-partner crime
  • You cannot have any current or prior violations of a protective order
  • You cannot be accused of stalking
  • You cannot have any active warrants out for your arrest or other pending criminal charges against you
  • You cannot have participated in a diversion program before

After you enter your guilty plea, the judge will recess your hearing for one year, during which time you will participate in an intensive court supervised program that includes:

  • Reporting in to a case manager
  • Completing all recommended treatment and counseling
  • Attending a progress review with the court
  • Paying a supervision fee ($60/month)

If you violate any of the conditions of the program, you are discharged and brought back in court for criminal sentencing. 

If you successfully complete the program, you will appear before the judge again and can withdraw your prior guilty plea. The judge will dismiss your case. 

A domestic violence arrest will still be on your criminal record, but it may be possible to have your record sealed or expunged. Talk with a Fort Worth family violence attorney at Lee and Wood, LP about whether you qualify for this pretrial diversion program or to have your criminal record sealed. Call 817-678-6771 or contact us online

Texas’ “Constitutional Carry” Law and Domestic Violence

Texas gun laws recently became even more lenient, as Governor Greg Abbott signed the Constitutional Carry bill (HB 1927) into law. As of September 1, 2021, Texans aged 21 and over can legally carry a handgun without getting a state license – unless they can’t possess a firearm because they are disqualified by state or federal law. 

Why might you be disqualified? 

One reason why you might not be able to possess a gun is because you have previously been convicted of a domestic violence crime. And the new Constitutional Carry law increased criminal penalties for family violence crimes. 

  • A Class A misdemeanor for family violence was increased to a 3rddegree felony.
  • If a temporary emergency order, a final family violence protective order, or a marriage dissolution protective order has been issued against you, and you are in possession of a firearm, the penalty increases from a Class A misdemeanor to a 3rddegree felony.

(It’s not just family violence crimes that the new law effects. The bill also prohibits a person from permitless carry for five years if they were previously convicted of assault with bodily injury, deadly conduct, terroristic threats, or disorderly conduct with a firearm.)

Fighting Domestic Violence Charges

This change in Texas gun law makes it even more important to aggressively fight protective orders and family violence charges. 

Most people don’t know when a temporary emergency order is being heard against them in court. The “victim” and their lawyer are the only people to appear before the judge and only their side of the story is heard. 

Your right to possess a firearm is restricted when that initial temporary restraining order is granted. But you have a second chance to fight both the protective order and the firearm restrictions when a final protective order hearing takes place. 

One of the biggest challenges to defending a case of false domestic violence allegations is the “he said-she said” nature of the crime. Someone can make a charge of domestic violence based on a perceived threat or emotional abuse, without any physical attack having taken place. 

Putting together a strong defense can be like putting together the pieces of a puzzle – piece by piece a true picture begins to form. Character witnesses may be critical to proving what kind of person the “victim” is, and what kind of person the “perpetrator” is. A timeline of events may be needed to prove that some things didn’t happen when or as they were described. Medical records may be needed to prove that “injuries” were exaggerated. 

A lot is on the line when facing down a charge of domestic violence – including your right to carry a firearm. Talk with the Fort Worth criminal defense attorneys and Lee and Wood, LP about the steps you can take today to defend yourself in court. Call 817-678-6771 or contact us online