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Texas legislature could restore domestic violence programs

Cuts in funding for family violence programs in Texas would be restored under a proposal from one state senator. As the Texas legislature works on a budget for the fiscal year, restoring $1.25 million in budget cuts from the last legislative session to domestic violence intervention and prevention programs is a priority for some legislators.

Domestic violence services account for $51 million in Texas. The budget cuts affected programs aimed at preventing domestic violence by focusing on the offender. Other programs focus on the accuser of family violence. Proponents of restoring funding for the programs point to their importance in addressing the underlying causes of domestic violence.

Accusations of domestic violence and domestic assault can lead to criminal charges and the arrest of the accused. Courts frequently grant protective orders and temporary restraining orders based upon allegations before prosecutors prove the guilt of the accused person and without regard to any defense the person might offer.

The criminal record that results from a domestic violence conviction can have serious consequences on a person's life. Penalties available for a judge to impose at sentencing include imprisonment in a local jail or in a state prison, probation supervision, community service and fines.

A protective order or restraining order issued for the protection of an accuser of family violence can limit places where a convicted person can live or the contact the person can have with the other individual. Depending upon the terms of the order, a person might be restricted from returning home if the accused and the accuser were living together.

A person should not take accusations of domestic violence lightly. Criminal defense attorneys could help people to know and understand their rights when under investigation by law enforcement.

Source: KUT News, "Lawmaker pushes for more funds to address domestic violence," Veronica Zaragovia, March 20, 2013

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