Can I Drop Charges Against My Partner?
Imagine a situation wherein a domestic dispute turns violent and the police are called. The police question the two individuals, gather evidence, and eventually determine that domestic assault has occurred. When someone is accused of domestic violence or assault in Texas, the State takes responsibility for the issue.
Perhaps this incident was a misunderstanding or one spouse later regrets involving the authorities. This may raise the question of whether or not an individual is allowed to drop assault charges against their partner. The issue is complicated by the fact that charges are not filed by the victim of assault, but rather they are filed by the State, giving the prosecutors the final say in whether or not charges are dropped.
This is a common issue that we handle at the Law Office of Nathaniel Pitoniak. Given our unique background, skill set, and expertise in handling criminal assault charges, we have successfully negotiated assault charges between partners, even when the State wants to proceed with the case. Handling this situation can be stressful and difficult, but options are available to you. Find out more by calling us at (832) 315-6283 today.
What Is Family Violence in Texas?
There are different types of charges that can be brought up between partners. According to the Texas Penal Code Title 5 Chapter 22, assault occurs under the following circumstances:
- intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly causes bodily injury to another, including the person’s spouse;
- intentionally or knowingly threatens another with imminent bodily injury, including the person’s spouse; or
- intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another when the person knows or should reasonably believe that the other will regard the contact as offensive or provocative.
Therefore, under this definition, assault can be found to have occurred if a person intentionally causes or threatens bodily harm to their spouse or partner. Notice that this is slightly different from aggravated assault, which includes the use of a deadly weapon or the infliction of severe bodily harm.
These offenses include any violence against a family member, household member, or – for our purposes today – a current or past romantic partner. An assault charge carries with it different penalties than an aggravated assault charge. These differences can affect whether or not you can drop charges against your partner.
How Do Assault Charges Work In Texas?
Not all assault charges are the same, and the differences in charges depend on the severity of the assault and the unique circumstances of the case. Assault penalties range from relatively minor misdemeanors to felonies, the latter carrying potential jail time and steep fines.
The most important aspect to consider is that the prosecutor issues the charge, not the victim. This means that the victim of the assault does not have the authority to drop charges. Rather, the victim must appeal to the prosecutor, hoping they will agree to drop the assault charges against their partner.
When the crime is governed by the prosecutor’s office, or more generally by the State, it complicates the process of dropping charges. It is not impossible to persuade the prosecutor to drop assault charges against your partner, however. Successfully dropping charges requires specific legal action and strategy to accomplish.
How Can I Drop Assault Charges Against My Partner?
When an individual wants to drop assault charges against their partner, they must first compel the State to evaluate their case. This can be done using a few strategies, including:
- Submitting a sworn statement to amend statements made to the police
- Seeking counseling services or other remedial programs
- Proving that there is insufficient or exculpatory evidence
It should be noted that none of these methods are successful 100% of the time, and it requires a great deal of legal strategy to persuade a prosecutor to drop a case. While advice varies between lawyers, it is recommended to weigh the unique situations of a case and respond accordingly. In some cases, it may be straightforward to drop assault charges against your partner while in other cases it is unfeasible.
Do Affidavits of Non-Prosecution Work?
Typically, a generic, boilerplate affidavit of non-prosecution is less likely to sway a prosecutor than one tailored to the specific facts of the case prepared after review of all of the available evidence by an experienced criminal defense lawyer. An impactful affidavit cannot be made using a form. An affidavit is more likely to be well-received if prepared in consultation with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
Remember, while you may be working to drop assault charges against your partner, the prosecutor of the case has a legal duty and interest in pursuing the case, especially if sufficient evidence exists.
Can A Criminal Defense Attorney Help Drop Assault Charges Against My Partner?
It can be difficult to determine whether or not you can drop assault charges against your partner. Successfully dropping assault charges requires a level of legal strategy and know-how to navigate the issue and persuade the prosecutor to drop charges.
If your loved one is facing an assault case and you are wondering how to drop the charges, consider seeking professional legal assistance. The experienced team of attorneys at the Law Office of Nathaniel Pitoniak have vast practice in successfully dropping assault charges against a partner, and we are available to help you. Call us today at (832) 315-6283 to learn more.