Both the defendant and alleged victim involved in an assault on family member charge may ask the same question: “Can a victim drop charges for assault on family member?” The answer is dependent on a number of circumstances:
- The alleged act of assault
- Existence of injuries
- Defendant’s criminal history
- Household history of assault on family member
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These circumstances, along with the influence of the court and assault on family member attorney, will dictate if a victim can drop charges in a case of assault on family member.
The Circumstances of the Alleged Act
The factual circumstances surrounded the alleged act weight heavily on the case. A prosecutor will be less likely to entertain dropping the domestic violence charges if the act was severe. For example, if there are weapons involved, it will be difficult for the alleged victim to drop the charges. Guns and knives are not the only weapons used in an assault on family member case. Kitchen utensils, books, glassware, clothing accessories and garage materials all have a history of use in assault, and each can be considered a weapon if they are used to cause or threaten harm.
The nature and severity of the alleged act can dictate the direction of an assault on family member case. Pressure from the defendant to drop the charge may gain no traction if the act involved a weapon.
Existence of Injuries
Much like the severity of the alleged act, injuries can place a stop on the victim from dropping charges. Injuries suggest to the seriousness of the alleged act of assault, and point to a deeper problem in the household. Common injuries seen from assault on family member include:
- Broken or lost tooth
- Facial bruises and fractures
- Neck injuries
- Abdominal cuts or bruises
- Genital injury
- Eardrum rupture
Defendant’s Criminal History
Does the defendant have a history of drug and alcohol abuse? Is there a documented history of violent acts? An answer of “Yes” to either of these questions will make it difficult for the court to consider dropping assault on family member charges. In particular, a history of assault on family member incidents is not looked upon kindly and will quickly throw out the option of dropped charges.
In addition to the defendant’s criminal history, the court will also be interested in researching the household’s history of assault. The prosecutor will look back for previous assault charges to any family members living under the same roof. A history of repeated charges will empower the court to push forward with the charges, even if the victim wants to drop the charges.
Answers to Your Questions About Assault Charges in Texas
Under Texas law, a person can be charged with felony continuous family violence if they are accused of committing assault against a family member two or more times. But there are a few things to note:
• You don’t have to be charged with assaulting the same person.
• Depending on the case, the previous case may not have a time expiration.
• The previous charge does not have to have resulted in a conviction.
It’s important to obey the restrictions of the protective order, and especially avoid anything that could be considered harassing or threatening. Texas law defines harassment as taking action against another person with the intent to:
Your rights to firearm possession will be taken away if you are subject to a Family Violence Protective Order. The only way to get your rights to gun ownership back are to have your conviction expunged or set aside, or if you have been pardoned or had your civil rights restored.