If you were charged with domestic violence, you may want to know if can you have the charges against you dropped. For instance, say the person who filed the complaint against you in the first place rescinds on his or her statement, or you are not a repeat offender and have a clean record. In many civil cases, that would be enough to let you off the hook, right? Unfortunately, domestic violence is a criminal offense, not a civil violation, and the Texas courts treat it as such. If you were charged with domestic violence, you are guilty until proven innocent, end of story. Once charges are made, it is up to you to show that you are innocent.
Domestic violence charges can have serious consequences on your life, and a conviction can result in fines, jail time, and long-term effects. If you were charged with domestic violence in Texas, you cannot have the charges against you dropped, but, with the help of the Houston domestic violence attorneys at the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates on your side, you may be able to beat them.
What Constitutes Domestic Violence in Texas?
Domestic violence, or “Assault Family Violence” as it is referred to as in Texas, refers to the violence between family, households, or people in a dating relationship. Just because the term “family” is used to describe the crime does not mean that the parties of the assault have to be blood related. Roommates, adopted children, foster children, adopted parents, significant others, etc. can all be the victims and guilty parties of domestic violence. The term is meant to purposefully be broad.
Classes of Domestic Violence
In Texas, penalties for domestic violence range from a Class C misdemeanor to a first degree felony. For instance, a person who threatens a family member, household member, or significant other may be guilty of a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a punishment of zero jail time and a small fine of up to $500. The average first time AFV offender gets a Class A misdemeanor, which carries a one year jail sentence and a fine of up to $4,000. However, a repeat offender who committed actual violence (as opposed to threats), and who attempted to strangle the victim, faces third degree felony charges, which carry a punishment of between 2 and ten years and up to a $10,000 fine. If you are a first time offender and strangulation is involved, you may still be charged and convicted of a third degree felony.
Can the Charges be Dropped?
The short answer is no, domestic violence charges cannot be dropped. If the police were called in to settle a dispute between household members or partners, it is the general belief that the incident is not a first-time occurrence. Typically, someone will be arrested after a domestic violence call. Even if the victim signs an “Affidavit of Non-Prosecution”—a sworn statement that includes the victim’s version of events and that includes a statement that reads something along the lines of, “I do not wish to press charges against….”—the state may still press charges. Unfortunately, domestic violence incidents are not isolated events and often occur between two people who do, in some way, care about each other and rely upon one another. That said, though the charges may not be dropped, without the victim’s testimony, the prosecution may have a difficult time getting a conviction.
Why You Need to Retain the Help of an Experienced League City Domestic Violence Attorney
Though the victim may not want to press charges, the prosecution may have evidence in the form of medical records, witness testimonies (outside of the victim), police records, and more. If you were charged with domestic violence, a skilled Houston domestic violence attorney can fight on your behalf to reduce the charges or have them dropped entirely. You do not want a domestic assault conviction on your record. Keep your record clean and reach out to the Galveston domestic violence attorneys at the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates today. Call (281) 280-0100.