How to Get Assault Case Dismissed
Example 1: Assault Family Member Case:
You were both drinking at the club. You got into a heated argument over a suspect phone call from another woman, and she shoved you. It didn’t hurt. You shoved her back. It didn’t physically hurt her. Nevertheless, she still calls the police because she’s drunk and mad. The police arrived, and took her report. She exaggerated about the “shoving,” and even lied. The police ignored your side of the story and arrested you for Assault Family Violence. You need a Houston Assault Attorney.
I am a Houston Criminal Defense Lawyer, and I have heard this sequence of events from clients numerous times. Here is a guide for what to do if this happens to you.
Call Assault Family Violence Lawyer, Korey A. Huff anytime at (713) 562-8700.
Step 1–Preserve the evidence proving you did not commit Assault Family Violence
Provide your own Record – If the police ignored your side of the story and didn’t write in their report what really happened, be proactive and make a record of it yourself.
Witness Statements – This is obvious, get statements from people that witnessed what happened. Audio/video recordings & sworn written statements are examples of witness statements.
Was the alleged victim drinking? – Intoxicated people tend to be less credible. Intoxication is a sign to the jury that the victim was not telling the truth or thinking clearly.
Pictures – Pictures that occurred before and after the alleged event can be extremely useful. Pictures can show that an injury did not occur, the alleged victim was the aggressor, or you were the one who was injured.
Text Messages – Text messages are one of the most useful pieces of evidence that I have seen as a criminal defense attorney. Text messages provide a permanent record of a person’s thoughts and feelings during a particular time and thus are powerful evidence to juries.
Social Media – Social media is another powerful piece of evidence. Often after an incident the alleged victim will make posts on social media talking about the incident. I have had cases dismissed after I showed a prosecutor these posts.
Step 2–Hire a Houston Assault Attorney
Having a HOME BASED lawyer will help you in the following ways:
- The lawyer will know the particular preferences of the Judge and how the Judge runs jury trials and pretrials;
- He will understand the reputation of the prosecutors he is negotiating with and will be able to avoid unreasonable assistant District Attorneys;
- Attorney’s charge less money when their office is closer to the court house.
By the way, Do NOT go with an appointed lawyer, especially if the case is a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor lawyers are paid horribly low amounts of money in Harris County. The appointed lawyer simply cannot afford to do as good a job for you as would be necessary in the event of trial. Until Harris County fixes the fees they pay appointed lawyers, you really need to hire someone.
Step 3– Pay to Bond Out, and Maintain All Conditions of Your Bond
It is absolutely necessary that you pay your bond and await your case settings outside of the jail, so that you and your lawyer can have the proper time to prepare the case. When you bond out, you will have to maintain several conditions in order to keep your bond. These are indicated to you orally and often in writing. Do not fail to call your bondsmen or to pay your bond. You will have a warrant for your arrest if your bondsmen revokes your bond. Historically, once a client gets a warrant for his arrest during a pending case, he/she is much less likely to get his/her case dismissed. So again, stringently follow the conditions of your bond if your end goal is to get your domestic violence charge dismissed.
Do You Need a Houston Assault Lawyer in Houston or surrounding counties? Call me (713) 562-8700.
Step 4–Dress in Business Formal Attire
This may come as a surprising step in how to get your assault case dropped; You need to dress in a suit, with a tie for every single court setting. Ladies, you need to dress in a conservative suit as well. Cover tattoos with clothing or tattoo cover cream. Remove facial piercings. I have gotten more dismissals for clients who dress well than for those who don’t. The prosecutors sometimes look directly at my clients, when I am negotiating the case during pretrial conferences. The prosecutors are people. They want to win their trials, just like defense attorneys do. They know that defendants who dress like executives are less likely to be perceived by a jury as criminals.
Step 5–How to Get Assault Family Charge Dismissed: Have a Long In Person Meeting With Your Attorney
This may seem obvious, but you need to sit down and extensively talk to your attorney about this case. This is the conversation that needs to happen after you’ve hired your lawyer, and after you’ve gone to at least one court setting. You must wait until this point, so that your attorney can look at the police report and evidence that is going to be presented against you if you bring the case to trial. During this conversation, your lawyer will come up with the strategy that best suits your particular factual scenario. Questions that should be considered during this meeting are:
- What motivations did the alleged victim have for lying about the case (such as looming divorce);
- Who are the favorable and unfavorable witnesses? What things affect their credibility?
- Determine which unexplored evidence is there to discuss?
Your lawyer will go through the actual event, where you were accused of assault second by second just as meticulously as a jury would. This assessment is the meat and potatoes of your criminal defense. Your lawyer will use these details to help you get the case dismissed.
Step 6–If the Alleged Victim is Willing to, Have Him/Her Sign an Affidavit of Non-Prosecution
Many defendants who lie to the police, later feel remorse and wish that they could simply call the police and have the charges dropped. Unfortunately, once the report is made, there is no way to stop the case from rolling through the Harris County prosecutor’s system. It is possible that the intake department will decide not to pursue the case, but that is left to the discretion of the City, and is not in the hands of the reporting victim. This is the biggest misunderstanding I see in assault family violence cases–that the victim can get the case dropped whenever she desires it to be. However, a skilled defense attorney can work to ensure the state follows the law in these circumstances which may ultimately result in the case being dismissed if the facts support it.
Step 7–Have Your Lawyer Request a Dismissal on the Assault Charge
You will have a court setting about every 30 days in Harris County when you are facing an assault family violence charge. Once the above 6 steps have taken place, your lawyer is ready to make his/her request for the prosecutor to dismiss the charge. The lawyer with have all of the helpful evidence you have provided, and a vast amount of knowledge on the case itself including important weaknesses and strengths. The lawyer should approach the prosecutor and tell the prosecutor a good reason why the case should be dismissed. It is important that the lawyer is very polite to the prosecutor, and has some form of documentation to support the reason why the State should drop the charge. In some cases the prosecutor may offer certain deals that result in dismissals like Anger Management Class and Dismiss, Battery intervention & Prevention Class and Dismiss, Pretrial Intervention and Dismiss, etc.. Your attorney will explain and relay all offers to you for your ultimate consideration.
Step 8–Have Your Lawyer File Relevant Motions & Subpoenas On Your Behalf
It is important for your lawyer to timely file motions and subpoenas. These documents will aid your lawyer in preserving your rights in multiple ways. For instance, the lawyer can make a Motion for Discovery of Exculpatory Evidence, which would require the prosecutor to turn over and favorable evidence it has for you on your case. The lawyer should also file subpoenas so that all of the witnesses that are necessary will be timely notified of the trial setting. When prosecutors see that subpoenas and motions are filed, they also see that you are (at least somewhat) prepared for trial.
Step 9–Set the Case For Trial and Prepare for Trial
If the above 8 steps have not worked to get a dismissal, it may be in your best interest to have your lawyer prepare for a jury trial. The preparation for jury trial is an entire topic in its own right. Your lawyer will prepare you for direct examination if you are going to testify. The best thing you can do to get your case dismissed at this point, is to heed your lawyers advice as well as possible. The lawyer will do the rest of the work.
Step 10– Appear for the First Trial and Present One Good (New) Reason Why the State Should Dismiss the Assault Charge
Finally, you are at your trial setting. Everyone is ready to go to trial. At this point, your defense attorney should politely remind the State of the reason it presented during pretrial for why the State should dismiss the charge. The lawyer should consider presenting one additional reason to State before the trial begins in the morning. The reason for the timing is this; The State is in the midst of deciding on which of 40-50 trial cases it desires to have a trial for that morning. If the State can tell that you are ready, and you have presented two strong reasons to dismiss your case, the State may simply choose to dismiss the case. You may have to announce ready for trial before the State will dismiss the charge.
If the State still refuses to dismiss the assault family violence charge, the case must be brought to trial, and leave the verdict in the hands of the jury. I represent defendants who have been wrongfully charged with Assault Family Violence. To see some of my results click on my results page at the top. My Office number is (713) 562-8700. Please print and send this guide to anyone who needs it.