Pressing Charges in Texas: Does the Victim’s Voice Count?
Who Files Family Violence Charges?
In domestic violence cases—also called family violence in Texas—it is not uncommon for the victim to call law enforcement to report the incident. Usually, they think a police officer will come, talk to their partner and help him or her cool down. What they infrequently realize, however, is that once law enforcement arrives on the scene, the series of events that follow are entirely out of their hands.
In Texas, crime victims do not formally “press charges” against the other person. In criminal cases, it is the State, specifically the district attorney’s office that files charges against people. Criminal cases are between the offender and the State, not the offender and the accuser. Because the accuser is not a party to the case, he or she does not have the authority to press or drop charges personally.
The Accuser’s Voice
Accusers play an invaluable role in family violence cases. Without their word, many people would never face criminal charges. Nevertheless, they have little leverage when it comes to the district attorney’s decision to file or dismiss charges. The district attorney’s office will primarily consider the responding officer’s report and other pieces of evidence that may have been submitted. The district attorney can decide to formally file misdemeanor charges or bring the matter before a grand jury for indictment for felony charges even without the accuser’s cooperation.
When the Accuser Recants
It is not uncommon for the accuser to later recant the allegation and ask that the charges be dropped. The district attorney will indeed listen to what the victim has to say. Most know, however, accusers often backtrack on their initial allegations when they realize the gravity of their actions. Suddenly, their boyfriend/girlfriend, partner or spouse is behind bars, facing serious criminal charges and prohibited from coming in contact with them. The accuser may also be fearful of the defendant seeking revenge upon release or of the consequences of losing the breadwinner of the family. In light of these possible motivations, district attorneys might not give the accusers’ voice much weight.
Call an Attorney if You Are Facing Family Violence Charges
Speak with a skilled Dallas-Fort Worth assault family violence defense attorney if you are facing charges. These cases can be dangerous to navigate on your own given the high stakes and the aggressive prosecution. Even when an accuser recants, the State can follow through with the prosecution. Usually, there is enough evidence to do so even when against the accuser’s wishes.
If you need help fighting your family violence charges in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys is here to help. JBabb – Criminal Defense Attorneys will advise you on the best course of action to fight your charges. With law offices in Dallas and Denton, our attorneys provide compassionate legal services to Dallas, Collin, Denton, Ellis, Rockwall and Tarrant counties. Our experienced attorneys handle a wide variety of criminal cases including DWI/DUI, assault/family violence, and other misdemeanors and felonies. Call (214) 329-9433, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out our confidential online form to schedule a consultation with a Dallas-Fort Worth criminal defense attorney.