Take this scenario: You get into an argument with your spouse, emotions are running high, and the interaction escalates. At some point, either your spouse or someone else who witnessed the incident calls the cops. You’re arrested and charged with a domestic violence offense. Later, your spouse decides that the situation was a misunderstanding – the argument was a heat of the moment type of thing. Can they drop the charges against you? No.
WHY A DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIM CAN’T DROP CHARGES
To better understand why a domestic victim can’t drop the charges against you, it might be helpful to have a little background about the law.
Certain behaviors are criminalized under Texas statutes. The government establishes these laws. When someone calls the police about an alleged crime, they are letting the government know that the offender has engaged in behavior lawmakers defined as illegal.
Although your spouse reported your argument and said they were a victim of domestic violence, they cannot drop the charges once they’re filed. That is up to the State (or the prosecutor handling your case).
Additionally, the prosecutor won’t necessarily drop the charges just because your spouse says they no longer want to move forward with the matter. They will look at all the facts of the circumstances before deciding whether or not there is enough evidence to try you for the crime.
WHAT IF THE VICTIM WANTS TO CHANGE THEIR STATEMENT? CAN THE CHARGES BE DROPPED THEN?
If your spouse, as the alleged victim of a domestic violence offense, wants to change their original statement about what happened, that’s called recanting. However, if they do so, that still does not mean that the State will drop the charges. Again, the prosecutor will examine all of the other evidence related to the case before deciding what to do. If they believe that, even without your spouse’s testimony, they have enough to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty, they will proceed with your case.
Understanding that even if your spouse recants their statement or refuses to testify is important. Many people accused of family violence might think that if they just talk to the alleged victim and help them see that reporting the incident was a mistake, they can get their charges dropped. Unfortunately, the process doesn’t work like that.
Also, talking to the victim could lead to additional charges. For instance, if your spouse took out a restraining order against you, you could be accused of violating the conditions. Additionally, trying to prevent your spouse from testifying could lead to a charge for tampering with a witness. This offense is a third-degree felony and could result in some severe conviction penalties.
If you’ve been charged with domestic violence in Dallas, reach out to Deandra Grant Law for the legal help you need. Schedule a confidential consultation by calling us at (214) 225-7117 or contacting us online.