Domestic violence charges often result from things that happened in the heat of the moment. An argument may have escalated until the neighbors reported the shouting to the police. Police may have mistaken an injury for a sign of domestic abuse. A household member may have made a report motivated by jealousy or anger, or to gain leverage in a family law proceeding.
Later the household member may want to drop their allegations. This is very common. In fact, it’s well documented that 80 to 90% of domestic violence victims recant their statements to police and investigators.
What if a household member wants to take back what they said? Can a partner drop domestic violence charges in Texas?
Texas has passed legislation to make sure that domestic violence charges are taken very seriously. Our state’s “no drop” policy means that, even if someone in your household wants to drop domestic violence charges, they do not have the power to do so on their own.
Domestic violence charges are brought by the prosecutor—not the alleged victim of domestic violence. Under Texas law, it’s the prosecutor’s decision whether to drop charges. Even if the alleged victim later changes their mind, they do not have the authority to drop charges on their own.
Instead, the prosecutor must be persuaded to drop the assault charges. It’s not impossible to accomplish, but it requires specific legal action and strategy.
Your partner or household member can’t decide to drop charges on their own, so your lawyer may need to emphasize other facts of your case. Each case is different, but a lawyer may emphasize a client’s lack of any past criminal record. They may also look to the facts of the case to help convince prosecutors that the charges need to be dropped.
Our state’s “no drop” policy is tied to psychological research about the nature of abusive relationships. Abusive relationships often follow a cycle of gradual escalation of violence until a dramatic and significant episode. That episode is often followed by a period of calm during which the abuser tries to make it up to their partner.
Prosecutors are concerned that their clients will make statements directly after a violent episode, and then take them back when things are calm again—even though there’s likely to be a gradual escalation of violence in the future.
Prosecutors are also concerned that abusive partners will pressure their victims into recanting out of fear. The state’s strict “no drop” policy is designed to protect against these situations.
If someone in your household has made domestic violence allegations against you, call 817-678-6771 for a confidential consultation with the Fort Worth domestic violence defense lawyers at Lee and Wood, LP.
We have extensive experience defending people against misdemeanor and felony assault charges. You may also send us a message.
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