Can a Texas domestic violence charge be dropped?

This is a post on consequences of a domestic violence conviction. This post focuses on can a Texas domestic violence charge be dropped.

Should we meet with the prosecutor to get the case dismissed?

Sometimes the alleged victim wants to meet with the prosecutor to change her story and get the charge dismissed.

This procedure needs to be skillfully handled by an attorney. If your spouse or girlfriend meets with either the prosecutor or police investigator alone, she will be threatened with arrest and prosecution if she wants to change the original story. The prosecutor will threaten to charge her with making a false statement to a police officer and/or perjury.

Can the case ever be dismissed?

Yes, even with a “no drop“ or “zero tolerance“ policy, a good attorney can eventually influence the prosecutor to drop the case. Prosecutors, despite great overtures about caring for the victim and similar altruistic posturing, care very much about winning. The only thing that matters to a prosecutor is winning the case and advancing their career. The alleged victims are just numbers whose faces and situations will be forgotten by the prosecutor with the start of the next case.

The defense motivates the prosecutor to dismiss. Prosecutors hate to lose cases. If confronted with a case that cannot be won they will try to deviate from office policy to dismiss, “just this one time.”

What if there is no physical evidence of bodily injury?

In many cases evidence of injury is slight, or no physical evidence of injury may exist at all. The State will prosecute the case anyway.

How could I be found guilty if there is no physical evidence?

The State can get a conviction solely on the testimony of the alleged victim without any physical evidence of bodily injury.

What if the victim does not show up for trial?

The State will subpoena her for trial. If she does not appear the judge will issue a writ of attachment (arrest warrant). The Sheriff will arrest your spouse or girlfriend and bring her to the courthouse. If she cannot be located, the judge will grant the State’s motion for a continuance. If she cannot be found, even after a continuance, the State will prosecute the case and present hearsay evidence of what your accuser said:

  • On the 911 dispatch tape;
  • To the investigating police officers;
  • By introducing any written or recorded statements of your spouse or girlfriend.

Can the case be won at trial?

These cases are frequently won at trial by skilled criminal defense attorneys. In many situations, the argument involved both parties and any physical assault was actually mutual combat. Self-defense is a defense to prosecution under Texas and all states law.

Will an arrest or conviction be on my record?

A conviction, probated sentence, deferred sentence, deferred adjudication, or any form of plea bargain will result in a permanent criminal record.

A plea of guilty (a plea bargain is a guilty plea), or no contest to the charge or a finding of guilt, will result in a criminal record even if the defendant is placed on probation or deferred adjudication and successfully completes the community supervision period.

In Texas there are only two ways to remove a domestic violence arrest record. An attorney can have the records of arrest expunged (destroyed) if the state never files a case or if the case is won at trial. There is no method by law to expunge, destroy, or seal domestic violence convictions, probations, or deferred adjudications. Tex. Govt. Code § 411.081.

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