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Dismissing a Family Violence Charge

Once you’re charged with family violence, life will begin to move very quickly. Travis County follows a “no-drop” policy, meaning that any placed domestic violence call to 9-1-1 will not be dropped, and the district attorney’s office will continue to pursue charges.

Protection orders, loss of custody and social stigma will begin to pile on as soon as the district attorney’s office decides to prosecute.

In the following article, we’ll go over the steps in a family violence case and how a good lawyer can help get your charges dismissed.

Austin Family Violence Defense Attorney

If you’re facing a family violence charge, you need a strong defense attorney. Even if the alleged victim regrets the 9-1-1 call or you are falsely accused, you are likely to be charged by the district prosecutor’s office.

The Office of Kevin Bennet will provide the support and information you need to fight these charges. As part of a commitment to providing every client with an unmatched level of personal attention, our Austin domestic violence attorney does not accept every case that comes across his desk. Kevin Bennett maintains open communication with all of his clients about the matters facing them, and he aims to help them understand what is happening during dark and frightening times.

Kevin Bennett represents people throughout Travis County, including in Austin, Pflugerville, Lago Vista and Lakeway. Call The Law Office of Kevin Bennett today at (512) 476-4626 to set up a free consultation.

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What is Family Violence?

Family Violence is a subset of crimes in the Texas Penal Code that are the result of abuse of a person within a close familial relationship such as a domestic partner, sibling, child or parent. Some of the charges that may be associated with family violence include:

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No-Drop Policy

Travis County employs a strict “no-drop” policy. This means that police officers are obligated to respond to any domestic violence 9-1-1 call, even if the caller asks them to not come. In addition, the Travis County District Attorney’s Office is obligated to pursue and domestic violence charges unless a few conditions are met.

The caller cannot simply tell police who arrive on scene that they do not want to press charges. This is because the alleged victim may be trying to protect their abuser or fears retribution.

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Dismissing a Family Violence Charge

There are a few strategies your attorney can employ to get a family violence charge dismissed.

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Affidavit of Non-Prosecution

An affidavit of non-prosecution is an official court document that allows an alleged victim to say, on the record, that they were not actually victims of domestic violence. In addition, the affidavit says that the alleged victim will not:

  • Be a witness in this case
  • Go after the prosecutor’s office for not pressing charges

This may not, however, be enough to stop the prosecution from pursuing the case.

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Gathering Evidence

Regardless of circumstance, it is critical that you begin to gather evidence that may disprove any wrongdoing. This evidence will vary on a case-by-case basis, but may include text messages, emails and alibis.

In the case of assault charges, you may be advised to take photographs of your hands to prove you could not have struck another person. Similarly, intoxication reports may be used to disprove reckless or irresponsible behavior driven by substance abuse.

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Gathering Witness Statements

Witness statements may be used for two purposes: establishing character or establishing a narrative.

Statements collected for the purpose of establishing character may be used to disprove prosecutive evidence that you have a history of violent or irresponsible behavior. This type of testimony tends to be weighted much lower than other evidence but is still necessary.

Narrative statements taken from direct witnesses to the alleged incident may provide a different course of events as described by the prosecutor. These witnesses may also be used to establish an alibi to prove that you were not at the scene of the alleged incident.

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Your attorney may negotiate with the prosecutor to explore alternative resolutions. In the case that the alleged event did take place but the victim does not want to press charges, some of the following options may be available:

  • Deferred adjudication
  • Arraignment options

While plea bargains may be used, they require a guilty plea, rather than a dismissal of charges. The purpose of this article is to examine non-conviction options for family violence charges.

Deferred adjudication requires that you agree to certain terms which, if fulfilled, will result in the dismissal of charges. These terms can include avoiding additional charges, agreeing to a protective order or custody change, or other requirements.

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Hire a Family Violence Defense Attorney in Austin, Texas

With such serious consequences, you’ll want serious legal representation. Kevin Bennett is a skilled Austin domestic violence lawyer you can represent you if you are charged with any charge of family violence or dating violence in Travis County, including in Manor, Oak Hill, and Bee Cave.

Kevin Bennett represents clients with charges pending in the Travis County Criminal County Court-at-law #4 which is designated as the Family Violence Court.

Call The Law Office of Kevin Bennett today at (512) 476-4626 to set up a consultation.

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