- How do I drop assault charges?
- Can the State pick up my assault charge?
- How to prove assault with no witness?
- What makes a domestic violence charge a felony?
- Can I get probation for a domestic violence charge?
- Will I go to jail for a domestic violence charge?
- What is aggravated assault?
- What is a “family member” or “household member”?
- What is “Family Violence”?
- Can I get a family violence protective order lifted?
- Can the court order a victim to testify at trial?
- What is the difference between family violence and domestic violence?
Were the police called, and now you wish you could take it back? Are you trying to find out if can assault charges be dropped? Dropping assault charges is difficult. Calling the police to ask that the charges be dropped doesn’t usually work. Often the prosecutor won’t return your calls. In most assault cases, your best option is to work with the criminal defense attorney handling the assault charges. If your loved one does not already have an attorney then you need to make sure they get a lawyer for their assault charge right away.
We often get assault charges dropped or dismissed. But it isn’t easy. We have a process that we take each case through. This process can vary from county to county. You need a lawyer familiar with the Tarrant County courts and the District Attorney’s Office.
Part of the process is getting your request for dismissal (or dropping charges) seriously considered. This may include:
- An affidavit of non-prosecution (ANP);
- A sworn statement correcting what was said to police;
- Counseling sessions; and
- Other information provided to the prosecutor.
If you want to drop assault charges DO NOT speak with prosecutors until you have met with the criminal defense attorney handling the case. If you cannot get in touch with the criminal defense attorney handling the case then perhaps your loved one should consider getting a new attorney. Think about it, you’re the State’s star witness. A criminal defense attorney should make meeting with you a top priority.
Yes. Even if the “victim” does not want to prosecute, the State can, and most often will, go forward with an assault charge. In criminal cases, it’s not the injured party’s (Victim) decision as to whether a case will be prosecuted. It is the State of Texas versus the defendant. Can assault charges be dropped by the State? Yes. But the prosecutor doesn’t dismiss assault cases just because the Victim asks. Prosecutors will even go forward with the assault case without the victim’s cooperation.
The State will use other witnesses to try to prove the assault charge at trial. Also, the State has the ability to subpoena the “victim” in a case. If the person does not show up to court, the State can get what is called a writ of attachment ordering a Sheriff’s Deputy to go out find the person and bring them to court. If you ask the prosecutor how you can get the assault charges dropped, you may not be treated with much kindness. Prosecutors may threaten to throw “victims” in jail or charge them with making false statements to law enforcement if they refuse to testify to the same facts they’ve already told police.
You need someone that is going to work to get your case dismissed before it reaches this point. However, if a dismissal is not possible then you need a criminal defense attorney that is ready for a fight in trial. Defending these cases can be difficult, and you need someone that is experienced and will do the leg work to win your assault case.
Honestly, assault cases are some of our favorite cases. Usually, it is a chance for our law firm to really help someone and get the government out of people’s personal lives. We will make your assault family violence case a top priority. We will investigate, aggressively negotiate, and skillfully try your case. If you can’t afford to have an assault on your record then call to schedule an appointment at our Fort Worth Criminal Defense Law Office. We are located in Tarrant County, just blocks from the Tim Curry Justice Center (Criminal Courts) in downtown Ft Worth, TX.
300 Throckmorton Street, Suite 500
Fort Worth, TX 76102
What happens if the victim doesn’t show up at the trial for domestic violence? First, hoping the prosecution is not able to locate a witness is a very risky strategy. It is foolish to depend on any advice like this. The State can “pick up” your charges, because the State is prosecuting you. You are not being prosecuted by the alleged victim. So, if the victim does not show up then the State will usually ask for a “Continuance” to reschedule the trial date. In Texas, the State is entitled to one continuance of trial based on unavailability of a material witness (victim). If the victim is subpoenaed and the victim does not show up for trial, then the court will send a sheriff’s deputy out to arrest the victim. This is called a “writ of attachment.” The court can hold the victim in jail or on bond until the trial is over.
However, many domestic violence prosecutions do not need the testimony of a victim. Statements a victim makes to a 911 operator or police may come into evidence. A victim’s statements may be offered by audio or video recording, or even worse, a police officer could just testify to their “memory” of what the victim said. For a victim’s statements to come into a domestic violence trial in this circumstance the State will need to show the court: (1) the statements were made in a manner that is an exception to the rule against hearsay; and (2) entering the statements into evidence does not violate the accused’s Confrontation Rights.
So, as long as the statements are “non-testimonial,” and the statements are an “Excited Utterance” or “For Purposes of Medical Treatment,” then the State may be able to get that evidence of domestic violence in front of the jury. The law related to the Sixth Amendment and Hearsay can be very complicated. Entire law school classes are taught on these topics. Consult an expert criminal defense attorney if you have an issue like this.
A first offense of assault bodily injury of a family member is a Class A misdemeanor; however, a second offense is a third-degree felony. Even a first offense may be charged as a Third Degree Felony Assault if the State accuses you of “impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood” of a person—by choking (applying pressure to the person’s throat or neck) or by blocking someone’s airway (nose or mouth).
The State can also charge A domestic violence case may also be alleged an aggravated assault (First Degree Felony), a second degree felony, or third degree felony.
The general probation eligibility laws apply to assault family violence cases, so you may be eligible for probation. However, probation may have additional requirements for people facing domestic violence charges. Certain types of probation do not have the same advantages for assault family violence charges. Before accepting probation, be sure you consult one of our Assault Criminal Defense Attorneys to explain the short and long-term ramifications of a conviction or deferred disposition.
In addition to regular probation or deferred adjudication, you may be eligible for a domestic violence diversion program. Family violence charges cannot be expunged from your record if you plead guilty and receive probation (regular or deferred). Understanding how to get your assault charge off of your permanent criminal record is something you need to discuss with your criminal defense lawyer. Call to make an appointment at our Fort Worth office to discuss the best way to handle your case.
You may go to jail. Most cases with domestic violence allegations involve an arrest at the time the police receive a complaint. However, sometimes people are not arrested at the time of the complaint because they are not present or officers on the scene do not believe there is a need. If you were not arrested at the time of the complaint of domestic violence and a case is filed, a bond will be set, and a warrant for your arrest will be issued. Contact Cody Cofer, Criminal Defense Attorney, to arrange a “walk through” at the Tarrant County Jail. This can reduce the time you spend in jail, save you money, and reduce stress and inconvenience. Speak with a us about jail release.
If you are worried that a warrant is out for your arrest related to a domestic violence charge call our office located a few blocks from the Tarrant County Jail. Schedule a consultation with one of our Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorneys. If a warrant is issued for your arrest or if you are arrested we will quickly work to get a reasonable bond set and have you released from jail.
Here you can read the Texas Aggravated Assault Statute. We have other informational pages related to aggravated assault. More importantly, you need to meet with our legal team to discuss the charges. This type of assault can result in a life sentence in Texas prison. You cannot waste time when preparing your defense.
We have won many aggravated assault cases in trial and had many dropped before reaching trial. Important evidence may need to be collected immediately, such as video, cell phone data, witness statements, and other forensic evidence. To get the investigation and defense of your case started call our Fort Worth Criminal Defense Attorneys without hesitation.
You may be charged with “Assault Bodily Injury of a Family Member” based on a variety of different accusations. The police or District Attorney’s office may label your charge this way if they are accusing you of assaulting someone you’re related to, someone you’ve lived with, or someone you’ve had an “dating relationship” with.
What is considered Family?
For Texas assault law, “Family” means someone related to you by consanguinity (blood) or affinity (marriage). People are “family” by consanguinity if:
- one is a descendant of the other; or
- they share a common ancestor.
People are “family” by affinity if:
- they are married to each other; or
- someone’s spouse is related by consanguinity (blood) to a person.
Strangely, if you get divorced or your spouse dies you are not “family” by affinity anymore, UNLESS a child of that marriage is still living.
For assault family violence purposes, “Family” also includes people who are: former spouses; and parents of the same child.
- A foster child and foster parent are also considered “family” for assault family violence.
- Adopted children are treated just like biological children for purposes of assault family violence.
What is considered Household Member?
For Texas assault law, a “Household Member” is someone you currently or previously lived with in the same household. A “household” is considered a group of people living together in the same dwelling, even if they are not otherwise related to each other.
What is considered Dating?
“Dating relationship” means a relationship between individuals who have or have had a continuing relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. There are not hard-and-fast rules about what makes a “dating relationship,” instead a judge or jury considers:
- how long the people have been or were in a relationship;
- the kind of activities or communication occurred during the relationship; and
- how often and the type of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
Someone that is just a casual acquaintance or ordinary friend from work or a social context is not in a “dating relationship” with you.
Our Fort Worth criminal defense attorneys have a terrific record of getting assault family violence charges dismissed. You can call our downtown Ft. Worth office.
Although, “family violence” is referenced throughout the Texas Penal Code and Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, the definition of family violence is found in the Texas Family Code. Most other references to family violence merely reference the code section found in the Family Code. The very important thing to remember is that family violence is not limited to those members of a person’s immediate family. “Violence” is not limited to what you might think of as traditionally assaultive in nature. Getting a family violence assault case dismissed can be very difficult. You need to contact one of our highly experienced assault Family Violence Criminal Defense Lawyers. For a complete definition of “Family Violence” visit this informational page.
A charge of family violence can have life-long consequences. You need to speak with us. Our experience and success defending assault family violence charges is vast. Give us a call today.
In many assault family violence cases police will get a magistrate to enter an emergency protective order. Usually, these orders restrict the person accused of assault from being near the alleged “victim” or their home. Obviously, for most couples and families this is a serious hardship. These protective orders can be lifted or modified, but you must have a court enter a new order.
Courts should have a procedure for the “victim” to request that the order be lifted, but this process is often difficult and confusing. Honestly, the court staff for many of the municipal courts (where EPOs are usually issued) do not have a clear understanding of the procedure or your right to have the judge consider evidence to lift to the order.
If you want to lift an emergency protective order contact one of our attorneys. You can call our office to schedule an appointment.
If you are the victim in an assault case then you can be ordered to testify at trial. Domestic violence cases typically involve a victim that does not want to testify. This could be for a variety of reasons. Regardless of the reason you don’t want to testify, the prosecutor can issue a subpoena that requires you to attend court for the assault trial. If you fail to attend court after being served with a subpoena, then the court can issue a “writ of attachment” that commands a sheriff’s deputy to arrest you and bring you to court. Once you are arrested and brought to court the judge will order you to testify. The only way to be sure you are not ordered to testify at an assault trial is if the domestic violence charge is dismissed.
Yes. Domestic violence and family violence are the same thing. Some states refer to offenses against family members and dating partners as domestic violence, while others, like Texas, have chosen to refer to it collectively as “family violence.”
A possible difference in the eyes of legislatures may be that “family” violence has a more sinister ring to it, while “domestic” generally evokes a more clinical or official meaning.
It is important to note that “family” violence still includes an assault against a dating partner or household member, even though the person may not technically be part of the “family.”
We Can Help You Get Charges Dropped
Cody Cofer and Lauren Crisera are skilled Fort Worth Assault Family Violence Attorneys. Our legal team can help you understand how to complete this process to get a dismissal of the case. This is often the first phase of representation in these assault cases. Cody worked as a prosecutor on hundreds of assault cases. As a prosecutor, he worked with abuse crisis centers to evaluate cases, and many times he had to make the decision to honor the request of victims to “drop charges.” Because of his experience handling the difficult decision whether to go forward with prosecution or dismiss the case, he understands the pressure on prosecutors in these kinds of cases.