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.