Filing Fort Worth Assault Charges
An alleged victim does not have to press charges. That is actually done by the prosecutor or the state. Initially, the police take the report and they give it to the prosecutor. The prosecutor then carries it forward. The prosecutor is actually the party pressing the charges on behalf of the State of Texas. It is a common misconception that people have to press charges. There is no necessity of the person pressing charges or requesting that the charges be pursued.
Once the police make a report and share that with the District Attorney, the District Attorney can run with it and be the one pressing the charges. Certainly, if the person is interested in pursuing it, that is taken into account and probably makes it more likely that the prosecutor will pursue the charge further. Along that same line is the concept that the state can pursue the assault charges even when a person says, “I don’t want to press charges.” This particularly comes into play whenever a family member is involved.
Filing Domestic Assault Charges
Texas has a separate offense of assault on a family member. Under Texas law, a family member is very liberally defined as anybody within your family, but it also can be someone in a dating relationship. You do not even have to be a serious boyfriend or girlfriend. You have gone out a couple of times, that is a dating relationship and all of a sudden under Texas law that is a family member. If you commit assault against a family member, then if it is still a bodily injury, that is still a Class A misdemeanor, but it is more serious. That is because if you are convicted of that or even if you get deferred adjudication and you successfully complete deferred adjudication, you are considered to have a record for family violence and you can never expunge or even seal that from your record. Even if the case is ultimately dropped after completing the deferred adjudication, you are still considered to have a prior conviction for family member assault under Texas law for subsequent offenses. Then if you get charged with assault on a family member again, even though it is just bodily injury, it becomes a felony offense. Moreover, once you have been convicted or given deferred adjudication for assault on a family member that invokes a federal law, which now makes it a federal offense if you own or possess a firearm. That is a significant restriction on your rights for Texans.
The District Attorney’s office has what they call a no-drop policy on family member cases. This means that if you are charged with assault on a family member and the victim, say, a woman who has been hit by her husband goes to the District Attorney’s office and says, “I love my husband. We are still together. I don’t want to press charges. He has apologized; I don’t think it will ever happen again. He is really a good man.” In that case, the District Attorney will tell that person, “Well, we’re not dropping it, even though that’s what you say you want”. They will continue to pursue this and prosecute the case and they will even make that person testify against their will. They can serve them with a subpoena and force them to come to court and then compel them to testify. They could even be held in contempt if they refuse to testify and if they tell something different than what they previously told the police they may be charged with false report to a peace officer