Leading Community Efforts Against Domestic Violence Through Prosecution, Protective Orders, and Outreach
"Love Isn't Supposed to Leave Bruises."
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PREVENTION
The County Attorney's office aids in the prevention of domestic violence through legal representation of qualified applicants for protective orders, prosecution of domestic violence crimes, and community outreach. Our goal is a team approach to combat domestic violence by making victims aware of the services available to them, pursuing protective orders to safeguard victims and their families, and using all of our resources and skills to prosecute defendants charged with family violence crimes.
FAMILY VIOLENCE PROSECUTION
Our office reviews criminal offenses such as assault, terrorist threat, interference with a 911 call, or violations of a protective order to determine if charges should be filed. If charges are filed, a prosecuting attorney will be assigned to the case. The case may be tried to a jury or to a Judge. The victim's input is very important to the case. However, it is ultimately the State's decision as to whether a case is filed or dismissed.
If you have been a victim of domestic violence or any other criminal offense and you would like to contact the County Attorney's office concerning the case, please call Chief Investigator Gary Brittain or Victim/Witness Coordinator Ray Evans at 936 560 7788. A victim who wishes to file an affidavit of non-prosecution asking for the charges against a defendant to be dropped or lowered must come in person to our office and meet with the Chief Investigator or Victim/Witness Coordinator. Affidavits of non prosecution may be considered by the prosecutor, but there is no guarantee that such affidavits will affect the outcome of the case. Our prosecutors will not consider affidavits of non-prosecution submitted by the defendant or defense attorneys.
This Office handles a wide variety of domestic violence cases. Assistant County Attorneys will look at the facts of each case, the prior criminal history of the defendant, the impact of the crime on the defendant's family, and other factors when recommending a plea bargain or a requested punishment at trial. Plea bargains and punishments in these types of cases may include dismissal, a fine, counseling, probation and/or incarceration. Community supervision or probation through the Nacogdoches County Community Supervision and Corrections Department can offer the defendant a chance for rehabilitation while ensuring the safety of the victim. Effective prosecution of domestic violence cases requires frequent and early communication between the State and the victim as well as others affected by the crime. Please help us in our efforts to stop domestic violence in Nacogdoches County.
YOU SHOULD NOT DELAY IF YOU ARE CONSIDERING A PROTECTIVE ORDER SINCE A LONG DELAY BETWEEN AN INCIDENT OF VIOLENCE AND THE PROTECTIVE ORDER APPLICATION MAY HURT THE CHANCES OF IT BEING GRANTED BY THE COURT.
What is a protective order? A protective order is a civil court order issued against a person who has committed family violence. A protective order's primary purpose is to prevent family violence from occurring again in the future. Who is entitled to protection?
The applicant must be one of the following:
º A person who is related to the offender by blood or marriage (including a former spouse);
º A person who is currently living in the same household as the offender, or has lived in the same household as the offender at some point in the past;
º A person who has had a child with the offender; or
º A person who has or has had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the offender.
Where can a protective order be filed?
A protective order can be filed in the county where the applicant resides or in the county where the offender (respondent) resides. An applicant may apply for a protective order through the Family Crisis Center of East Texas Thrift Shop located at 4610 North Street, Ste. 103, Nacogdoches, Texas 75965 (phone number 936 569 1018). The Thrift Shop is affiliated with the Family Crisis Center of East Texas located in Lufkin, Texas. An applicant may also apply for a protective order through a private attorney, through legal aid, or pro se (which is when a person files on their own).
Protective order process
If you or your child have been the victim of family violence the Nacogdoches County Attorney's Office may be able to help you file an application for protective order and represent you in court at the hearing. The hearing will normally be held two weeks after filing your application for protective order. The Court may issue a temporary protective order during the two week period before the hearing. The Respondent (the person you are seeking protection from) will be served with a copy of your application for protective order, your affidavit describing the family violence, and notice of the hearing. You will be required to testify at the hearing. After the hearing, the court will issue a final protective order if the Court finds that family violence has occurred and is likely to occur again in the future. A final protective order may be in effect for up to two years. If you have children, a final protective order may include orders regarding access to and possession of your children and child support. However, those orders will expire when the protective order expires.
AVAILABLE RESOURCES FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS
CRIME VICTIMS COMPENSATION:
You may be eligible for compensation of medical, hospital, or physical therapy bills, psychiatric care or counseling, loss of earnings or support, loss of wages due to the prosecutorial process, and care of a child, among others. You may also be eligible for one-time relocation expenses. The Attorney General's Office determines eligibility and you must use their forms.
To find out more, contact the Texas Attorney General's Office CVC Division at 1-800-983-9933 or 1-512-936-1200.
The Family Crisis Center of East Texas offers emergency shelter, individual and family counseling, support groups, accompaniment to court and to law enforcement agencies, transitional housing, professional training, a thrift store, and more.
To make an appointment with the Family Crisis Center of East Texas, call 936 569 1018 or 936 639 1681. The 24 hour crisis hotline is 1 800 828 7233. You may also visit their webpage at www.familycrisiscenterofeasttexas.com.
TEXAS HOUSING RIGHTS:
A Protective Order may allow you to legally break your l ease if you need to move in order to stay safe. Information about Texas Property Code Section 92.016 which covers this can be found at the following websites: www.legalmomentum.org under "Violence Against Women" then "Employment and Housing Rights for Victims of Domestic Violence" or www.capitol.state.tx.us under "Statutes" and then "Property Code".
TEXAS UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE RIGHTS:
If you feel you must find another job in order to stay safe, you may be able to file for unemployment benefits. Information regarding Texas Labor Code Sections 207.045 and 207.046 may be found on the following websites: www.legalmomentum.org (under "Violence Against Women" then "Employment and Housing Rights for Victims of Domestic Violence"), or www.twc.state.tx.us (use the "Search" feature and type "207.046"). You may also contact your local Texas Workforce Commission office.