Over the last 5 years in Harris County, there has been a rise in the number of cases prosecuted for assault of a family member. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office has a specialized division that deals with Assault of Family Member cases. The division is made up of support staff, case workers, investigators, and prosecutors. The division is geared towards dealing with cases where the victim has become uncooperative as a witness for the State, and instead, wants to help protect the accused from prosecution.
While Assault of a Family Member is similar to simple or aggravated assault, there are a few nuances to the Assault of a Family Member law, which differentiate it from simple or aggravated assault.
Often, a person accused of assault mistakenly believes that the State will drop charges when a spouse informs the District Attorney’s Office that they do not wish to press charges. Unfortunately for the accused, the State does not have to drop the assault charges even if the victim does not wish to press charges.
This often leads to confusion for the accused. If the State’s prosecutor has reason to believe the victim is lying to protect the accused, the State may proceed with the assault charge. Sometimes the State believes the victim is being forced to drop charges, and sometimes they believe the victim is supported by the accused, and doesn’t want to lose their means of support.
The point is that the State can, and often will, carry on with the prosecution even if they don’t have the victim’s cooperation in order to make their case.
If you plead guilty to assault of a family member, you will lose many rights that the rest of us take for granted, including the right to possess weapons. You also may be required by law to disclose your assault conviction on job applications, which may make it very difficult for you to get a job.
If you have a prior conviction for assault family violence, and are charged with a second offense of family violence, the new case can be filed as a 3rd degree felony, which carries up to 10 years in prison.
If you have been accused of assault, we would like to discuss your situation with you. Contact our office today for a free case evaluation.