When Family Law and Criminal Law Intersect – DOJ Oct. 7th Press Release

Happy Friday, everybody. I hope you all had a great week. Continuing this week with our series on the intersection of criminal law and family law, and there was actually a press release that was issued on October 7th, so earlier this week, by the Department of Justice, and which tied in perfectly with a topic that I wanted to cover with you, and that was a press release that stated that there have been over 500 federal indictments that have been handed down in the fiscal year 2020 alone for firearms charges related to domestic violence issues. I’ve touched on this in previous videos about the complications that arise when you have a domestic violence offense and you’re also a gun owner, but this just pushed to the forefront the idea that there is now a special task force.

It was created in 2019 at the behest of Attorney General William Barr. It’s called the Domestic Violence Work Group. That Domestic Violence Work Group, with the US Attorney’s Office, is headed by Erin Nealy Cox, who is the United States Attorney for the Northern District of Texas based here in Dallas. What that means from a practical standpoint is anytime you have one of these federal task forces, they are given a very specified role in types of crimes that they are looking into and prosecuting harder than typical. This task force is specifically assigned to look into firearms charges that can be brought against people who also have a domestic violence dispute or issue that has either happened in the past or is ongoing, so it’s important that for all my family law practitioners out there, you need to A, read this press release, and I’ll put a link down below where you can read it in full because it is a good read.

But it’s also important that you educate yourself so that you can advise your clients about some of these gun issues if they have a domestic issue going on because it’s not always that, everybody knows if you’ve been convicted of a felony, you can’t possess a firearm. It’s actually much more detailed and nuanced than that. So if they’ve been convicted of a class C misdemeanor, even, that’s the equivalent of a traffic ticket, that involved domestic violence. In Texas, we call that assault by offensive contact. That means that they are prohibited person from possessing firearms. If they’re under a protective order where the spouse has filed a protective order against them because there’s an allegation of domestic violence, even if criminal charges haven’t been brought but they were granted that protective order, that bars them from possessing firearms and ammunition. So you need to educate yourself on those laws so that you can properly advise your clients when that issue comes up.

As always, we’re here to help, so if you have a client or somebody that you know that’s going through a nasty divorce and they are a gun owner or they are concerned about how this will affect my gun rights moving forward, please give me a call. Please shoot me an email. I’m happy to answer those for you. But for now, read this press release. It’s important. It shows you that the U.S. Attorney’s Office, specifically here in the Northern District of Texas, as well as all over the state and the country, they are actively seeking these cases out, so it’s important that you advise your clients accordingly because they could find themselves under a federal indictment ,and things have just gotten a whole lot messier and a whole lot worse.

Hope you had a great week. I look forward to reaching out to you and talking to you again next week. Stay safe out there. And as always, reach out if you have any questions or anything that you want to see me cover in a video. I’m happy to do it. Thanks, guys. Have a good one.

Author Bio

James P. Whalen

James P. Whalen is the managing attorney and founder of Whalen Law Office, a Texas criminal defense firm offering personalized legal representation for various federal criminal charges. With a commitment to providing comfort and guidance during challenging times, Mr. Whalen serves as both an attorney and counselor to his clients, helping them navigate their cases while striving to restore normalcy to their lives.

In an inherently unbalanced criminal justice system, Mr. Whalen takes on cases with unwavering dedication. With decades of legal experience, he offers representation across various criminal charges, including white-collar crimes, violent crimes, drug charges, and more. Mr. Whalen’s numerous accolades, including Super Lawyer recognition and board certification in Criminal Appellate Law and Criminal Law, reflect his unwavering commitment to ethical and high-quality legal representation.

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