Police officers are held to a higher standard because their job is to enforce the law. They should not only to follow the law in their professional life, but also as private citizens. The key word here, however, is should.

At the beginning of the month, Audrey Lee Palmer, a 21-year veteran of the McKinney police department and a sergeant in the patrol division, was arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon/family violence.

According to the story, Palmer and his wife were having date night at home when he received a text message. His wife didn’t recognize the number, so she called it and a woman picked up the phone saying, “Hey, babe.”

The couple was arguing about the phone call when the wife picked up a steak knife in their kitchen. This led to the two fighting over the knife. During the course of the fight, Palmer tried to pin his wife down.

“The next thing she knew she had been stabbed with the knife,” the arrest warrant affidavit says.

While his wife was calling for help, Palmer drove away with the knife. When police arrived, they saw the wife hunched over in pain with blood on her shirt. The couple’s 4-year-old child was also in the house.

A police spokeswoman said, “There is still a lengthy investigation ahead to determine detailed circumstances of the incident.” Palmer is currently on administrative leave while both criminal and internal investigations are being conducted.

So what can we learn from this story? No one is immune from the law, even the officers who are entrusted to enforce it.

If Palmer is convicted of domestic violence, he will face a slew of consequences, including losing his job. For that matter, anyone convicted of domestic violence here in Texas will similarly face of slew of consequences.

Potential Consequences for Domestic Violence in Texas

When you’re charged with family violence – “an act by a member of a family or household against another member that is intended to result in physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or a threat that reasonably places the member in fear of imminent physical harm” – you will most likely be charged with assault. Assault is defined as intentionally causing bodily injury to another person, threatening bodily injury, or causing physical contact that the victim will find provocative or offensive.

In Texas, domestic assault is a class A misdemeanor, punishable, according to the Texas Penal Code, by up to one year in jail and $4,000 in fines. If you already have a domestic assault conviction on your record, you will instead be charged with a third degree felony, punishable by 2-10 years in jail and fines up to $10,000.

Palmer, however, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon because he used a knife to cause bodily injury. Aggravated assault with a deadly weapon is a second degree felony, punishable by 2-20 years in jail and fines up to $10,000.

Potential Consequences for Domestic Violence in Texas

In addition to lengthy prison sentences and expensive fines, a domestic violence conviction can affect every part of your life. Other consequences you could face include:

  • Not being able to possess a firearm
  • Losing visitation or custody of your children
  • Having to abide by no contact or protective orders
  • Paying for a domestic violence treatment program
  • Decreased employment opportunities or possibly losing your job
  • Decreased housing opportunities
  • Discrediting your good name

It’s important to take domestic violence charges as seriously as the Texas courts do. If you want to avoid the consequences a conviction may bring, reach out to an experienced Texas criminal defense attorney who will listen to the details of your case and help you fight back.

About the Author:

After getting his Juris Doctor from the University of Houston Law Center, Jeff Hampton began practicing criminal law in Texas in 2005. Before becoming a defense attorney, he worked as a prosecutor for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office – experience he uses to anticipate and cast doubt on the arguments that will be used against his clients. Over the course of his career, he has helped countless Texans protect their rights and get the best possible outcome in their criminal cases. His skill has earned him recognition from the National Trial Lawyers (Top 100 Trial Lawyers) and Avvo (Top Attorney in Criminal Defense, Top Attorney in DUI & DWI, 10/10 Superb Rating), and he is Lead Counsel rated.