Family Violence Division
Bexar County District Attorney Joe D. Gonzales recognizes that prosecuting crimes domestic violence and crimes against children is important, difficult, and intensive. As a result, upon taking office, DA Gonzales reallocated resources to the Family Violence Division making it the largest division in the District Attorney’s Office. The division is now composed of a total of fifty-seven assistant district attorneys, fourteen Victim Advocates, seven crime victim liaisons, and fifteen criminal investigators. The Family Violence Division is a specially trained group of individuals that handle the prosecution of domestic violence, sexual assault cases, child physical and sexual abuse cases, and human trafficking cases. This division is committed to seeking justice on behalf of victims holding abusers accountable for their acts.
Felony Family Violence
Currently, there are twenty-four assistant district attorneys, nine criminal investigators, and ten victim advocates assigned to the felony courts. These individuals make up ten trial teams. Each trial team is responsible for the prosecution of felony domestic violence and child abuse cases in each of Bexar County’s ten criminal district courts. These cases include crimes such as murder, aggravated assault, injury to a child, aggravated sexual assault of a child, continuous sexual abuse of a child, indecency with a child, and many others. Each trial team routinely handles all court hearings, including bond hearings, motions to revoke probation, sentencing hearings, plea negotiations, and jury trials.
In 2019, DA Gonzales created the Family Violence Intake Section to ensure that the office evaluated felony family violence cases promptly and efficiently. This team is composed of thirteen assistant district attorneys and two criminal investigators. The prosecutors in this section evaluate every felony family domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault case filed with the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office by local law enforcement agencies. They review each case thoroughly, collaborate with law enforcement officials during the intake process, and regularly present cases to the Grand Jury for indictment. The Family Violence Intake section is comprised of trained, experienced prosecutors who provide training and serve on the local child abuse Multi-Disciplinary Team. As part of the intake process, five crime victim liaisons make contact with every victim on every case received at the office.
Misdemeanor Family Violence
In addition to the prosecution of felony domestic violence cases, the division is also responsible for the prosecution of misdemeanor domestic violence cases. There are four misdemeanor attorneys assigned to the two specialized family violence misdemeanor court. Three victim advocates, two criminal investigators, two crime victim liaisons, and one paralegal all work together to combat domestic violence and bring justice to survivors.
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Human Trafficking is best described as modern-day slavery. Unfortunately, even today, vulnerable adults are made to engage in prostitution or labor through the use of force, fraud, and coercion, and children are obtained and caused by any means to engage in sexual conduct for the benefit of the trafficker. In most instances, the victims are Bexar County children being exploited by Bexar County residents. In 2013, the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office created its own Human Trafficking Unit, to vigorously prosecute these offenders and work with our community partners to restore these victims.
The office has dedicated two prosecutors, an advocate, and an investigator to this unit. They are responsible for the analysis, assessment, and indictment of these types of cases. The prosecutors coordinate with law enforcement to ensure quality cases and prosecutions as well as provide legal assistance for the design and implementation of pro-active law enforcement initiatives. As needed, they provide trafficking education to law enforcement, school faculty, social workers, healthcare personnel, prosecutors, and parents/citizens across the State. They also participate fully with the County’s Care Coordination partners to see that victims receive the trauma-informed care and resources they need. Lastly, prosecutors participate in the Alamo Area Coalition Against Trafficking to ensure that public awareness and training regarding the issues and dangers of human trafficking continues to be provided to the community.
The Family Violence Division of the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office is a large team of individuals who all have very distinct roles in the pursuit of justice. Each of these individuals is critical to successful prosecution of domestic violence and child abuse cases.
Prosecutor: an assistant district attorney who seeks justice and handles intake and/or court proceedings.
Crime Victim Liaison: personnel who makes initial contact with a survivor upon receipt of case in the division, personnel who provide information about the criminal justice system; notification of the status of the case in the court system; referral to social service agencies.
Victim Advocate: personnel who maintains routine contact with crime victim, provides information about the criminal justice system, provides notification of the status of the case in the court system, and makes referrals to social service agencies.
Criminal Investigator: a licensed peace officer employed by the Bexar County District Attorney to locate victims, witnesses, and any additional evidence needed for prosecution.
Victims’ Assistance: personnel who provides information about the criminal justice system, court accompaniment, provides notification of the status of the case in the court system, makes referrals to social service agencies, and provides assistance with applying for Crime Victim’s Compensation and assistance with Victim Impact Statements.
For additional resources please our Victim Assistance division.
The Bexar County District Attorney’s Office also provides representation to Child Protective Services in civil cases involving child abuse and neglect. Within the Family Violence Division, there are fourteen highly experienced and specially trained assistant district attorneys, paralegals, legal secretaries, and investigators who are assigned to these cases. These individuals are dedicated to assisting CPS in its mission to make Bexar County families stronger. When a child has been the victim of abuse or neglect, CPS may employ several possible measures to ensure the child’s safety. If preventative measures and community resources are unsuccessful, it may become necessary to file a legal action for the protection of the child to include removing the child from the home. After a case is filed, the assistant district attorneys representing CPS work with a team of professionals and the Bexar County Children’s Courts to ensure the best interests of the child are maintained and protected.
Incoming Family Violence Data
The Bexar County District Attorney's Incoming Family Violence Data Dashboard provides a summary of the volume of cases that are accepted at magistration by our office. It also includes misdemeanor and felony pending court cases from March 16, 2020 - when the Bexar County COVID-19 orders went into effect eliminating jury trials and limiting courtroom occupancy - through November 30, 2020.
- Offense Levels
- MB – Class B Misdemeanor. Offense examples include harassment and telephone harassment. Punishment range is 0-180 days and up to a $2,000 fine.
- FS – State Jail Felony. Offense examples include endangering a child and violation of sex offender registration. Punishment range is 180 days - 2 years and up to a $10,000 fine.
- F3 – 3rd Degree Felony. Offense examples include assault choking and stalking. Punishment range is 2-10 years and up to a $10,000 fine.
- F2 – 2nd Degree Felony. Offense examples include sexual assault and indecency with a child by contact. Punishment range is 2-20 years and up to a $10,000 fine.
- F1 – 1st Degree Felony. Offense examples include injury to a child causing serious bodily injury and murder. Punishment range is 5-99 years or life and up to a $10,000 fine.
- On-Site Arrests - Arrest that occurred at the scene of the incident.
- Pre-Indictment FUG - After a felony incident occurs and a law enforcement officer feels there is enough evidence to seek a warrant, the officer will complete an affidavit and submit it for judicial approval. Once a warrant is granted, the defendant is considered a fugitive, and law enforcement will be able to arrest the defendant.
- County Court FUG - After a misdemeanor incident occurs and law enforcement feels there is enough evidence to seek a warrant, the officer will complete an affidavit and submit it for judicial approval. Once a warrant is granted, the defendant is considered a fugitive, and law enforcement will be able to arrest the defendant.
- Post-Indictment FUG - Law enforcement files a case with the Bexar County District Attorney's Office at-large. The DA's Office will make a charging decision and then present the case to a Grand Jury for an indictment. If the case receives a true bill of indictment, then a warrant will be issued and law enforcement will be able to arrest the defendant.
- MAG Warrant - After a misdemeanor incident occurs and the law enforcement officer feels there is enough evidence to seek a warrant, the officer will complete an affidavit and submit it for judicial approval. Once a warrant is granted, law enforcement will be able to arrest the defendant.
- AFF Surety to SURR - Affidavit of Surety to Surrender. If a defendant was previously released on a bond paid for by a bail bond company, but the company has a reason it wishes to be released from the bond, then it may file an affidavit with the court requesting the release. If a judge grants the release, then a warrant will be issued for the defendant's arrest.
- MOT to Revoke Prob. - Motion to Revoke Probation. If a defendant violates the terms of his/her probation then a motion to revoke their probation is filed by the state. If the motion is granted by a judge, then a warrant will be issued for the defendant's arrest.
- Bond Increase - If a defendant who has been released on a bond has violated the conditions of their release, then a motion to increase bond will be filed or ordered by a judge. This will increase the amount of the original bond and issue a warrant for the defendant's arrest.