Texas foundation targets domestic violence issues -

According to the Texas Council on Family Violence, there are nearly 200,000 reports of family violence each year in Texas, and more than 100 people are killed as a result of the abuse. For that reason, organizers at the Texas Access to Justice Foundation are using the month of October, which is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, to educate and offer resources to victims of domestic violence.

The Texas Access to Justice Foundation is the largest Texas-based funding source for legal aid. It helps low-income clients with legal problems often involving domestic issues, such as protective orders and petitions for divorce. In 2011 alone, the foundation provided aid for 11,000 cases involving domestic violence. According to a foundation spokesperson, the organization provided aid for 11,000 cases involving domestic violence in 2011, which affected an estimated 31,000 family members in Texas.

Under Texas law, domestic violence charges might be brought against anyone who has ever lived in the same household and used force or threats to control another person. Physical abuse and violence are the most common allegations, although verbal threats and intimidation also can be the subject of such charges. However, the distinction will likely affect the degree of the criminal charge. Whereas allegations of harassment may only constitute a lesser domestic violence charge, the addition of physical force may elevate the crime to a higher degree. If a weapon was used, the crime might even constitute a felony, which could implicate prison time of a year or more.

If you have been accused with a domestic violence crime, it is essential that you consult with an attorney. As with sexual assault, some allegations of domestic violence may be falsely brought. Claims of verbal intimidation may be the most susceptible to false allegations. An attorney will protect your presumption of innocence and require prosecutors to meet their burden of proving guilt by the applicable standard.

An attorney can also advise you of strategies that might mitigate the charges against you. For example, even with physical allegations, the severity of the domestic violence charges might depend on whether the alleged act was a first-time or repeat offense. An attorney can help you prepare your best defense.

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