The spread of COVID-19 hasn’t exactly brought much good news, and unfortunately, more divorces and increased domestic abuse during the coronavirus pandemic have emerged as new troubling trends. Across the world, people are in close quarters facing stressful situations. And for those stuck at home with their abusive family members, these stressful times can turn into heated, even violent situations. 

Domestic abuse is never acceptable or defensible, but false accusations do occur, and seemingly small spats can blow up into a bigger problem than anyone ever anticipated. As we all stay at home to practice social distancing, it’s more important than ever to focus on avoiding these situations and the costly trauma that comes with them. With tensions running high, it’s easier than ever for a fight to lead to accusations of domestic abuse during the coronavirus pandemic. 

If you, a friend, or a loved one are currently experiencing violence from an abusive partner or family member, help is still available. Please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline to speak to a trained professional who can help you through this situation. 

What qualifies as domestic violence in Texas?

As Houston assault attorneys, we know that sometimes, domestic violence can start with a lack of knowledge and awareness. We all know it’s not acceptable to hit, kick, or injure someone, but sometimes situations can get out of hand simply because someone didn’t consider the full ramifications of their actions. Sometimes, the accused may not even realize that what they’re doing is considered assault or domestic violence in Texas

Under the Texas Penal Code, a person can be convicted of assault if they “intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes or threatens bodily injury to another person,” or if they “intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another person or persons with the knowledge that the person will consider that contact to be offensive or undesirable.” 

In other words, you don’t have to hit, kick, or shove someone to be accused and convicted of assault. For instance, if you grab someone’s wrist to restrain them during an argument, they could successfully accuse you of domestic violence. This also includes shoving, physically restraining someone from moving, or grabbing at someone in a way they find unpleasant. 

In order to avoid heated conversations turning into accusations of domestic violence, your best bet is to avoid physical contact until cooler heads prevail

What to do next if you’re accused of assault or domestic abuse during the coronavirus pandemic

There’s never a good time to be accused of assault, but being accused during the coronavirus pandemic can be particularly stressful. If your partner or a family member is falsely accusing you of assault, there’s a process for what to do if you’re accused of assault that you should use to protect yourself if you find yourself wrongfully accused.

  1. Don’t try to defend yourself: Acting off the cuff probably got you in this situation in the first place, and trying to defend yourself against direct accusations without the help of an attorney can only make things worse — especially if you’re essentially confessing to a crime in the process. Saying things like “All I did was grab you!” or “I barely shoved you!” will only make things worse. 
  2. Contact an attorney: Even if you know you’re innocent, an attorney is your best resource when someone is accusing you of a crime — doubly so if the police are getting involved. Having a lawyer does not imply guilt. In fact, retaining a lawyer early can be the difference between a false accusation of assault and a wrongful conviction.
  3. Collect evidence: Do you have any witnesses? Did any smart home devices or cameras record the incident? Are there any signs of prior assault that could turn this into a self-defense issue? Make sure to fully assess the situation and document any details that could disprove the allegations against you.
  4. Consider further legal action: False assault accusations can follow you well past the criminal courts, impacting your personal and professional reputation. False accusations are illegal, and you may have grounds to file suit against your accuser if the situation gets far enough out of hand. 

What to do if you’re experiencing abuse

For those stuck at home and experiencing domestic abuse during the coronavirus pandemic, social distancing can quickly become a nightmare. If you are experiencing domestic abuse during the coronavirus pandemic, the law is still there to protect you, and resources are still available to help you find help in this difficult time.

If you feel unsafe in your home and are experiencing violence, call 911 to seek police assistance. They are still working to protect our communities, and the courts are still able to help. Additionally, resources like the National Domestic Violence Hotline are still available, as is Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse is a Texas-based organization that can help intervene and provide counseling through this ordeal. 

For abusive situations that have not escalated to physical violence, we also encourage pop-up counseling options to help you work through issues before they become worse. Online counseling and therapy are available and can help to correct abusive patterns before it’s too late.

Thiessen Law Firm is here to help

Whether you’ve been falsely accused of domestic violence during the coronavirus pandemic, or the fighting during quarantine has gotten so bad that divorce is the only option, Thiessen Law Firm is open and here to help you stay safe and protect your rights during this troubling time.

Do not let the COVID-19 pandemic keep you from looking out for your best interests and those of your family. Click here to schedule a free remote consultation, or call 713-864-9000 to get started. We are here for you.     

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Thiessen Law Firm

Mark Thiessen is an aggressive trial lawyer best known for his devotion to justice for his clients and high rank as a DWI Super Lawyer in Texas.