WHAT KINDS OF DIVERSION PROGRAMS FOR ASSAULT CASES ARE AVAILABLE IN TARRANT COUNTY?

THERE ARE A FEW DIVERSION PROGRAMS FOR ASSAULT CASES IN TARRANT COUNTY THAT COULD RESULT IN A DISMISSAL AND POSSIBLY AN EXPUNCTION

If you are arrested in Tarrant County for the misdemeanor criminal offense of Assault Bodily Injury of a Family Member, you need to know the legal consequences of the charge, and what you can do to potentially get it dismissed. 

If you are convicted of Assault Bodily Injury of a Family Member, you can never own or possess a firearm or ammunition.  Doing so can get you prosecuted by the federal government.  Additionally, if you are convicted of this charge and you are ever charged again, that future charge would be not a misdemeanor, but a 3rd Degree Felony (punishable by 2-10 years in prison).  This is true even if you receive deferred adjudication for a family violence assault.  Normally, successfully completing deferred adjudication means you do not have a criminal conviction. 

That means that even with no final conviction, the state can still enhance your punishment to up to ten years in prison. 

That is a serious issue that a good lawyer can help you avoid.

There are several diversion programs that are available in Tarrant County that can get your charge dismissed and keep your record clean.

Domestic Violence Diversion Program (DVDP)

This diversion program is only available if you are charged with the misdemeanor offense of Assault Bodily Injury of a Family Member. If you are charged with a felony, the program will not accept you.  If you are admitted into this program, you must plead guilty to the charge.  The judge will accept your plea, but will hold the plea in abeyance.  That means you will not be found guilty.  If you successfully complete the program, you will be allowed to withdraw your plea and the case can be dismissed.  If you do not complete the program, the court can find you guilty and sentence you to serve time in the county jail. 

After the statute of limitations has run, if your case has been dismissed you should seek out an attorney to file a motion requesting a nondisclosure order.  This would allow you in certain circumstances legally to deny you had ever been convicted of Assault Bodily Injury of a Family Member.  The program lasts about a year.  There are fees and classes required for the program.  The classes are designed to help the defendant not reoffend and to help the defendant support his family.  If you complete the program and don’t commit a new offense during the time you are enrolled, your case can be dismissed.

Youthful Offender Diversion Alternative (YODA)

This diversion program is also for people charged with the misdemeanor offense of Assault Bodily Injury of a Family Member, but it has different entry requirements from DVDP. It is only for people ages 17-25 at the time of enrollment.  Additionally, the allegations of assault cannot be against an intimate partner, such as a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife.  The assault allegations must be against someone else, such as a parent, sibling, cousin, or roommate.  You cannot have any pending felonies or other charges.  And, you cannot be on probation or parole. 

Unlike DVDP above, you do not have to plead guilty to be admitted into the program.  There is no upfront fee to enter the program.  The only fee you are required to pay is a fee for urinalysis for drug testing.  The program is shorter than DVDP, and if you successfully complete the program, your case will be dismissed.  After the statute of limitations has run, you may be eligible to contact an attorney and request a nondisclosure order.

In Custody Batterer's Intervention Prevention Program (BIPP)

This program is not a true diversion program, but is often used to get charges reduced.  If you are in custody in the Tarrant County Jail for the misdemeanor offense of Assault Bodily Injury to a Family Member, you can take the class of Batterer’s Intervention Prevention Program.  It is a two-week class that upon completion, can give you trustee status.  Oftentimes, prosecutors will agree to reduce a person’s charge if they successful complete In Custody BIPP.

What are the consequences of having an assault conviction on my record?

A conviction for the misdemeanor offense of Assault Bodily Injury of a Family Member is one of the more serious misdemeanor crimes for which you can be charged.  The collateral consequences of a conviction can greatly after your child custody, divorce, employment, and ability to get and maintain a professional license from the state.  If you have been charged with Assault Bodily Injury of a Family Member and have a question as to how it can affect your license or want to make certain you have an attorney by your side who will fight for you and give you the best legal advice, contact the Tarrant County Criminal Defense attorneys at Nickols & White, PLLC at 682-250-4242 for a free, private consultation. 

-Written by J. Eric Nickols and Harry E. White