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Domestic Violence Charges: Can They Be Dropped?

Can domestic violence charges be dropped before trial?Being charged with domestic violence can be extremely stressful, especially when the charge stems from a big misunderstanding and the accuser no longer wants to press charges. Contrary to what some people may think, though, the decision to drop a domestic violence charge is up to the prosecutor, not the alleged victim.

An accuser does not decide whether to “bring” or “drop” charges. This is a common myth. Instead, the accuser is technically just a first-hand witness to an alleged crime. He or she can inform the police, the police can make an arrest, but ultimately only the local prosecutor has the authority to decide whether to charge a person with the crime or “drop” those charges.  The prosecutor acts on behalf of the State of Texas to keep the peace. Therefore, if the prosecutor believes the crime was committed, he or she will likely continue to pursue a conviction, even if the alleged victim changes his or her story.

At Kraft & Associates, P.C., however, our criminal defense attorneys understand that without a cooperating witness, most prosecutors will not want to attempt a trial. We can often use the lack of a cooperating witness to your advantage to negotiate for a plea deal to a lesser charge or even argue for a dismissal of your case.

What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is an act that is threatened, attempted, or committed against a member of one’s family or household. Texas law broadly defines a relationship as a dating partner, sexual partner, spouse or ex-spouse, blood relative, foster parent or child, anyone you have a child with, or even a roommate.

Therefore, even threatening to hurt an ex dating partner could lead to a domestic violence charge.

Texas Domestic Violence Laws

According to Texas domestic violence laws, it is not necessary that physical harm or injury result from an attack. In fact, you do not even have to make physical contact with another person in order to be charged with a domestic violence offense.

Therefore, one of the first steps in how to get a domestic violence case dismissed is to understand how these charges come about to begin with.

How Do Domestic Violence Charges Get Issued?

Perhaps the three most common ways that domestic violence charges are issued include some form of argument or power struggle. Here are the three most common scenarios:

  • Alcohol and Drugs – When people drink or do drugs, their judgment can be impaired. This can lead people to behave in ways they normally would not. If alcohol or drugs played a role, addiction treatment or chemical dependence counseling may be more appropriate than jail.
  • Divorce and Child Custody – People get very emotional during a breakup. Some people think accusing their spouse or ex of violence will help them in their family court matter. In many cases, this actually backfires.
  • Misunderstandings – Finally, there are situations where a simple misunderstanding can lead people to misinterpret behaviors or actions as being threats, when in truth they are not.

Defenses Against Domestic Violence Charges

There are several key defenses that an attorney can argue, including:

  • Self-defense
  • Mistaken identity
  • Lack of evidence
  • No witnesses
  • Unlawfully obtained evidence
  • An uncooperative victim who will not testify
  • Inconsistent statements by the alleged victim

Contact an Experienced Domestic Violence Defense Attorney Today

Although the alleged victim has no real authority to bring or drop charges, the prosecutor does. The prosecutor may decide to drop charges even once trial has started. Especially if the evidence is so weak or the defense is so strong that a jury would almost certainly return a not guilty verdict or have a very difficult time reaching a guilty verdict, then a prosecutor will consider reducing or dropping the charges.

Contact Kraft & Associates, P.C., to discuss your options if you’ve been accused of domestic violence in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

About 

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law, Social Security Disability, Elder Law, Medicaid Planning for Long Term Care, and VA Benefits.



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