If you’ve been charged with assault in Harris County and think the Harris County district attorney’s office will drop the charges against you at the victim’s request, you need to speak to a lawyer.
While this might have been true in the past, Texas laws have changed, particularly for some types of assault, such as domestic abuse. Houston assault attorney Lisa Shapiro Strauss has defended many clients in Harris County. She often has to explain to them that, despite what they may have heard, a victim in an assault case cannot:
- Drop the charges against the defendant;
- Ask the District Attorney to drop the charges because they’ve had a change of heart; or
- Refuse to testify against the defendant.
Dropping the Charges Against the Defendant
A lot of people don’t understand that individuals don’t file assault charges in Texas — that’s the job of the State. The State — as represented by the county district attorney — can file charges for assault no matter what the wishes of the victim, nor do they require the victim’s cooperation. One of their major concerns is victims being bullied or intimidated into recanting their stories.
Asking the DA or Arresting Police Officers to Drop the Assault Charges
The arresting police officers, even if they are swayed by the victim’s pleadings, aren’t the ones filing the charges, so they can’t help. And speaking with the district attorney probably won’t change their minds; in fact, it could actually make the situation worse.
What If the Victim Doesn’t Show Up for the Trial or Refuses to Testify?
We’ve had some clients who have the mistaken notion that if the victim doesn’t show up for the trial, the DA will be forced to drop the charges against them. In these situations, the state will call for a “continuance” and reschedule the trial for a future date. If the victim has been subpoenaed and does not show up at trial, a writ of attachment can be issued in which the victim is arrested and held in custody until the trial is over. If they show up and refuse to testify, they run the risk of being found in contempt of court.
Prosecutors don’t always need the testimony of the victim to get a conviction in a domestic violence assault case; 911 calls, audio and video recordings, police testimony and other types of evidence can be introduced.
Have the Victim Speak With Your Attorney
Knowing all the facts in your assault case will allow your attorney to build the strongest case for your defense. If the victim in your case has had a change of heart, the smart thing to do is get them in touch with your criminal defense attorney. This will enable your attorney to learn what the victim has told the district attorney and anticipate what will be said against you in court.
Speak with Leading Harris County Assault Defense Attorney Lisa Shapiro Strauss
Getting an assault charge dropped in Harris County can be a challenge. Houston assault defense attorney Lisa Shapiro Strauss is a former DA turned criminal defense attorney. Her unique experience allows her to anticipate the DA’s actions and devise an effective counter strategy designed to get the charges against her clients dropped or reduced. If you’re facing assault charges in Harris County and the victim in your case no longer wishes to prosecute, contact the law offices of Lisa Shapiro Strauss to schedule a free consultation to review your case and discuss the legal options available to you.