When Are Assault Charges Dropped in Texas?
In Texas, the general public has a common misunderstanding of who “presses” charges in an assault case. Many individuals believe that it is the alleged victim or complaining witness who makes the decision on whether to prosecute, drop or reduce an assault case. This belief is incorrect.
Texas Domestic Violence Arrest
Many assault or family violence cases arise out of a domestic dispute where someone calls the police because they are angry, scared, confused or want to diffuse an argument that has gotten out of control. It is often times not the intent of the complaining witness to have their girlfriend, boyfriend, wife, husband, etc. arrested and taken to jail. However, once the police are called, they will take statements, make their own observations and will almost always make an arrest and take someone to jail. The risk of leaving the scene without taking someone to jail, only for the dispute or situation to later escalate to the point of someone getting hurt or seriously injured, is too great of a risk for most officers to take.
After the accused has been arrested for assault causing bodily injury to a family member, the arresting police officer will submit their police report or probable cause affidavit to the prosecutor’s office, so that formal criminal charges may be filed. From the moment a person is arrested for assault, the State of Texas has the power to decide whether or not the case will be prosecuted – and they almost always are.
What if the Victim Wants to Drop Charges?
After assault charges are filed, it is very common for an alleged victim to want the charges dropped. This lack of interest in the prosecution of the case is very common, particularly in domestic violence or assault family violence cases. Although an alleged victim’s opinion does matter to the prosecutors for the State, an assault case cannot be dropped in Texas simply because the victim requests that the charges be dropped. The decision or right to drop a case belongs to the prosecutor. However, prosecutors will take the desires of the complaining witness into consideration as one of many factors during the prosecution of an assault case.
Affidavits of Non-Prosecution
If a complaining witness is not interested in prosecution of the case, this information can be provided to the prosecutor through the defense lawyer. Frequently, criminal defense attorneys help the victims in assault cases prepare Affidavits of Non-Prosecution, which express the victims wish that the case be dismissed. While these affidavits can’t guarantee that a case is dismissed, they can certainly be helpful in persuading a prosecutor to dismiss a case or reduce the charges.
Assault Lawyer in Austin, Texas
If you are looking for an assault lawyer in Austin that regularly defends misdemeanor and felony assault cases in Travis County Courts, contact Attorney Kevin Bennett. Mr. Bennett works with his clients to take very specific steps to build a solid defense and to increase the likelihood of getting an assault charge dropped, dismissed or reduced.
The Law Office of Kevin Bennett provides skilled representation to individuals facing assault or domestic violence charges in Austin and throughout Central Texas.
If you have been arrested for assault family violence or assault causing bodily injury in Austin, Texas and are confused or unsure how to proceed, please call Attorney Kevin Bennett at (512) 476-4626. You may also contact us through email.