I want to drop the charges in a family violence case

In about 90% of the family violence consultations, I’m asked if the complaining witness (CW/”victim”) can drop the charges. I’m not sure where the belief began than an assault victim has the power to make an arrest or criminal case go away, but it’s something most defendants think is a thing.

I have some bad news, that’s not a thing. Victims have no right to drop a case, or get a case dismissed.

At best they file an affidavit of non-prosecution (AONP) and ask the prosecutor to dismiss the case. But even a CW files an AONP it’s still up to the prosecutor to go forward with the case or not. They can, and sometimes do, ignore the AONP and prosecute anyway.

Once the police show up at your house you lose any control you have over the situation.

The police in most domestic violence investigations have to arrest someone for something, and they will. This leads to a lot of really flimsy criminal cases where it’s obvious the police just made an arrest to make an arrest. Our local law enforcement will often issue a Class C Family Violence citation in cases where they can’t decide if a real crime was committed or not. So if you receive a Class C Assault Family Violence case that’s usually a good sign because it doesn’t take much for a Class A arrest.

What’s the difference between Class C and Class A family violence? 

Class A involves an assault that causes some kind of pain. Not a bad injury, just something that hurts. Class C family violence is physical contact that is offensive, but not painful, or the threat to use physical force. That’s right, just a threat can lead to a family violence conviction in Texas.

Class C Warning– Even though it is “only a ticket” you DO NOT WANT A CLASS C FAMILY VIOLENCE CONVICTION. It still causes all kinds of problems to have that on your record. So hire a lawyer, don’t go to court yourself and fuck it up.

“I told the police I didn’t want to press charges!” 

Doesn’t matter, they can and will still make an arrest. So don’t be surprised when they arrest someone after you decide not to

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