Assault Bodily Injury Texas – Family Violence

How do I drop charges of assault with bodily injury in Texas?

Were the police called, and now you wish you could take it back? Are you trying to find out how to get charges dropped for domestic violence? Dropping assault charges with bodily injury is difficult in Texas. Calling the police to ask that the charges be dropped doesn’t usually work. Often the prosecutor won’t return your calls. In most assault cases involving assault causing bodily injury, your best option is to work with the criminal defense attorney handling the assault charges involving bodily injury under the Texas penal code. If your loved one does not already have an attorney then you need to make sure they get a lawyer for their assault charge right away.

In many cases, we get assault charges bodily injury in Texas dropped or dismissed. But it isn’t easy. We have a process that we take each case through. This process can vary from county to county. You need a lawyer familiar with the Tarrant County courts and the District Attorney’s Office.

Part of the process is getting your request for dismissal (or dropping charges) seriously considered. This may include:

  • An affidavit of non-prosecution (ANP);
  • A sworn statement correcting what was said to police;
  • Counseling sessions; and
  • Other information provided to the prosecutor.

If you want to drop assault charges DO NOT speak with prosecutors until you have met with the criminal defense attorney handling the case. If you cannot get in touch with the criminal defense attorney handling the case then perhaps your loved one should consider getting a new attorney to talk about the possibility of getting charges of assault with bodily injury or family violence dismissed or dropped.

Think about it, you’re the State’s star witness. A criminal defense attorney should make meeting with you a top priority.

Can the state pick up my assault charge?

Yes. Even if the “victim” does not want to prosecute, the State can, and most often will, go forward with an assault charge. In criminal cases, it’s not the injured party’s (Victim) decision as to whether a case will be prosecuted. It is the State of Texas versus the defendant. Can assault charges be dropped by the State? Yes. But the prosecutor doesn’t dismiss assault cases just because the Victim asks. Prosecutors will even go forward with the case of assault with bodily injury in Texas without the victim’s cooperation. This is commonly referred to as, “The State picking up an assault charge.”

The State will use other witnesses to try to prove the assault charge at trial. Also, the State has the ability to subpoena the “victim” in a case. If the person does not show up to court, the State can get what is called a writ of attachment ordering a Sheriff’s Deputy to go out find the person and bring them to court. If you ask the prosecutor how you can get the assault charges dropped, you may not be treated with much kindness. Prosecutors may threaten to throw “victims” in jail or charge them with making false statements to law enforcement if they refuse to testify to the same facts they’ve already told police.

You need someone that is going to work to get your case dismissed before it reaches this point. However, if a dismissal is not possible then you need a criminal defense attorney that is ready for a fight in trial. Defending these cases can be difficult, and you need someone that is experienced and will do the leg work to win your assault case.

We feel we can really make a difference as attorneys for assault charges, and so assault cases are some of our favorite cases. Usually, it is a chance for our law firm to really help someone and get the government out of people’s personal lives. We will make your assault family violence case a top priority. We will investigate, aggressively negotiate, and skillfully try your case. If you can’t afford to have an assault on your record then call to schedule an appointment at our Fort Worth Criminal Defense Law Office. We are located in Tarrant County, just blocks from the Tim Curry Justice Center (Criminal Courts) in downtown Ft Worth, TX.

Can the state prove an assault family violence case if the victim does not show up?

What happens if the victim doesn’t show up at the trial for charges of assault with bodily injury in Texas? Does the State have to dismiss the charges? First, hoping the prosecution is not able to locate a witness is a very risky strategy. It is foolish to depend on any advice like this. The State can “pick up” your charges, because the State is prosecuting you. You are not being prosecuted by the alleged victim. So, if the victim does not show up then the State will usually ask for a “Continuance” to reschedule the trial date.

In Texas, the State is entitled to one continuance of trial based on unavailability of a material witness (victim). If the victim is subpoenaed and the victim does not show up for trial, then the court will send a sheriff’s deputy out to arrest the victim. This is called a “writ of attachment.” The court can hold the victim in jail or on bond until the trial is over. If a witness (other than the defendant) refuses to testify, the court can send the witness to jail for contempt of court. The court can keep the witness in jail to coerce the person into testifying.

However, many assault family violence prosecutions do not need the testimony of a victim. Statements a victim makes to a 911 operator or police may come into evidence. A victim’s statements may be offered by audio or video recording, or even worse, a police officer could just testify to their “memory” of what the victim said. For a victim’s statements to come into a domestic violence trial in this circumstance the State will need to show the court: (1) the statements were made in a manner that is an exception to the rule against hearsay; and (2) entering the statements into evidence does not violate the accused’s Confrontation Rights.

So, as long as the statements are “non-testimonial,” and the statements are an “Excited Utterance” or “For Purposes of Medical Treatment,” then the State may be able to get that evidence of domestic violence in front of the jury. The law related to the Sixth Amendment and Hearsay can be very complicated. Entire law school classes are taught on these topics. Consult an expert criminal defense attorney if you have an issue like this.

The bottom line is that the State can prove many assault family violence cases without the testimony of the victim. It is foolish to just sit back hoping the State will dismiss or drop the charges because the “victim” is uncooperative.


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Cody Cofer

Meet Cody Cofer, a partner at the Cofer Luster Criminal Defense Lawyers in Fort Worth, TX. He is Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. Before becoming a criminal defense attorney, he was a prosecutor, including assault family violence assault cases. He is known throughout Texas for his trial skills.

James Luster

Meet James Luster, a partner at the Cofer Luster Criminal Defense Lawyers. Before becoming a criminal defense lawyer, James was a prosecutor for the Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office in Fort Worth, Texas. He was a part of a special unit of prosecutors assigned to assault family violence cases.