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Hiring an experienced Houston assault attorney is critical after a physical altercation and arrest. An argument breaks out and quickly escalates. It happens between family members, spouses, and complete strangers. When the situation turns physical, the relationship between the people involved, the seriousness of any resulting injuries, and the involvement of any weapons can drastically affect what can happen if the police show up.

In many cases, the first person to speak with an officer drives what happens next. This is especially true when it comes to allegations of domestic violence. Sometimes law enforcement would rather separate the people involved by hauling one of them off to jail than take the time to perform a thorough investigation. Unfortunately for someone who has been falsely accused, these types of allegations can lead to costs to get bailed out of jail, fees to hire a Houston assault attorney, and time spent away from work and family while going to court to fight the case—not to mention the humiliation of getting arrested in the first place.

One of the biggest misunderstandings about this type of case is that the alleged victim can simply drop the charges by telling a prosecutor that is what they want. In these cases, the State of Texas is the one charging a crime and only a prosecutor has the power to dismiss the case. Prosecutors can, and often will, continue on with a case even without a cooperating witness. Another misunderstanding concerning assault cases is that people frequently make the mistake of thinking they can just tell the government’s lawyer their side of the story to make it all go away, but this can lead to a trained prosecutor taking those statements and using them to make a stronger case. The outcome of your assault case can be very different with the help of a Houston assault attorney.

To set up a free consultation and discuss your case with a Houston assault attorney, call The Law Office of Collin Evans at 713-225-0650.

What is an Assault?

An assault can occur if someone intentionally or knowingly:

  1. causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative;
  1. threatens another with imminent bodily injury;
  1. causes bodily injury to another (can occur through reckless action).

What’s the worst that can happen?

The range of punishment for an assault depends on how the case is charged based on what a police officer tells a prosecutor. Examples include:

OffenseCategoryJail TimeFine
Simple AssaultClass CMisdemeanorNone$500
Assault w/ Bodily InjuryClass AMisdemeanorup to 1 year county jailup to $4,000
Assault Family MemberClass AMisdemeanorup to 1 year county jailup to $4,000
Assault Family Member 2nd3rd DegreeFelony2 – 10 years prisonup to $10,000
Assault Family Member w/ Choking3rd DegreeFelony2 – 10 years prisonup to $10,000
Assault w/ Deadly Weapon2nd DegreeFelony2 – 20 years prisonup to $10,000
Aggravated Assault2nd DegreeFelony2 – 20 years prisonup to $10,000

What is the difference between a Protective Order and Restraining Order?

A Magistrate’s Order for Emergency Protection (or a “Protective Order”) can be issued by a judge handling a criminal case involving either sexual assault, assault on a family member, or stalking. The alleged victim, a police officer or a prosecutor can request it. The Protective Order can prohibit the arrested person from committing future assaults, as well as communicating (talking, texting, emailing, etc.) directly with the victim or through someone else in a threatening or harassing manner. Additionally, through a Protective Order, the judge can order the defendant to stay away from the residence or job of the alleged victim. This condition typically causes the biggest problems for people dealing with this situation when they either live or work with the person accusing them. The judge can also order a GPS monitoring device to make sure the order is being followed. This type of Protective Order can remain in effect for up to 60 days.

Another type of Protective Order can also come from a judge in a civil court. This order can be put in place for two years to protect a family member, spouse or ex, and/or children from acts of family violence. There does not need to be a criminal case for a judge to sign off. However, in Harris County, sometimes the District Attorney’s Office will file a request for this type of order along with criminal charges.

In addition, a judge in criminal case can issue a No Contact Order as a bond condition to protect the person making the allegation. This type of condition is especially problematic for someone who has children with or lives with the alleged victim. If the defendant violates the order, the judge can revoke the bond, issue an arrest warrant and raise the amount of the bail after the defendant is taken back into custody—which results in more money spent and more time in jail for the defendant.

Unlike the majority of Protective Orders, a Restraining Order comes from a judge in a civil court. There are orders that are temporarily in place while a divorce or child custody matter is pending, but they can potentially become permanent depending on the outcome of the case. The judge can even issue an emergency order without ever hearing both sides of the story. If you find yourself accused of committing family violence in a family case (e.g., divorce, child custody, etc.), you should speak with an experienced assault attorney in Houston about your situation. What happens in a civil court could end with you in deeper waters at the criminal courthouse.

What Happens If I Violate a Protective Order?

There are many ways that someone can violate a Protective Order. If it gets reported to the court, the accused could have to deal with any number of additional problems, including the following:

  • bond revoked on original case
  • going back to jail on an arrest warrant
  • paying for a new and higher bail
  • new charges for a misdemeanor or felony

As you can see, a lie or exaggeration about what happened during an altercation you are involved in could create a ridiculous amount of restrictions and problems for you. At The Law Office of Collin Evans, your Houston assault attorney will thoroughly investigate and cross-examine whoever is accusing you of assault, domestic violence, violation of a Protective Order or stalking. Call now for a free consultation with a Houston assault attorney to begin preparing your defense.