Like every other criminal charge, a charge of assault is a serious legal matter that demands your immediate attention. Assault charges are usually supported by corroborating eyewitnesses, as well as physical evidence that can include medical documentation and photographs.
Occasionally, circumstances change for assault defendants whenever one or more witnesses decide to take back the statements given to law enforcement officials. This is called an affidavit of non-prosecution, which usually results from a disagreement of the official story told by one or more law enforcement agencies, or by a complaining witness. An arresting police officer might have exaggerated the extent of an injury or simply misidentified the primary players in an assault case. Alternatively, a witness may have exaggerated or lied about the facts in the heat of the moment.
Texas criminal defense attorney Adam Capetillo has helped witnesses in assault cases prepare affidavits of non-prosecution. Filing an accurate and timely affidavit of non-prosecution is essential to protect eyewitnesses, as well as the defendant accused of an assault charge. Knowing when and how to file a compelling affidavit of non-prosecution requires the legal expertise of a highly rated criminal defense lawyer.
Overview for Affidavits of Non-prosecution
In the easiest definition to understand, an affidavit of non-prosecution represents a sworn notarized statement in an assault case that demands the end of criminal prosecution for assault. The prosecutor of an assault case can provide a generic affidavit for an alleged victim to complete that states he or she wants the case to be dismissed. Prosecutors seek affidavits of non-prosecution to bolster their cases for requesting the dismissal of assault charges. Affidavits of non-prosecution also protect prosecutors for assault cases that are dismissed and the defendant subsequently commits a serious crime after the court dropped the assault charge.
Impact of an Affidavit of Non-prosecution
As with most events that unfold in criminal courtrooms, there are competing interests involved with finalizing affidavits of non-prosecution. First, a prosecutor might try to convince an alleged assault victim to reconsider the filing of the affidavit. Even if an affidavit is filed, a prosecutor can try to win a conviction, although his or her case will be significantly weakened. Second, the defendant’s lawyer will be able to present a stronger defense, if the alleged assault victim filed an affidavit of non-prosecution. Finally, the alleged victim’s attorney will have to conduct a thorough review of all sworn statements and other forms of communication to ensure his or her client does not commit perjury.
Filing an Affidavit of Non-prosecution in Texas
The State of Texas does not mandate a formal procedure for the filing of an affidavit of non-prosecution. Instead, the prosecutor’s office might offer a generic form that communicates an assault victim’s wish to have a criminal case dismissed or the request not to testify against the defendant at an upcoming trial. Using a generic form typically does not result in a prosecutor dropping an assault case, especially if the prosecutor possesses other evidence, such as a 911 phone call or physical evidence that links the defendant with the assault.
In every case, the victim of an alleged assault must sign an affidavit of non-prosecution under the confirmation of a notary public. Failing to present a notarized affidavit of non-prosecution will result in the judge presiding over the case throwing out the affidavit. If a generic form does not convince a criminal court of the legal validity of an affidavit of non-prosecution, the plaintiff’s lawyer has the option to file a much more thorough affidavit that gives him or her more negotiating leverage.
Other Considerations for an Affidavit of Non-prosecution
Instead of filing an affidavit of non-prosecution in a Texas courtroom, an alleged victim of assault can simply explain to the prosecuting attorney that he or she does not want to testify against the defendant. However, the prosecutor will probably ask the alleged victim to file the affidavit anyway to provide legal protections. The most important legal protection prevents future litigation that charges the prosecutor failed to perform his or her legal obligations in an assault case.
Contact Capetillo Law Firm
Preparing and submitting an affidavit of non-prosecution is a serious legal matter, primarily because the successful filing of an affidavit might get the defendant off the legal hook. Texas licensed criminal defense lawyer Adam Capetillo understands the many factors that come into play when deciding on whether to file an affidavit of non-prosecution.
Having an affidavit of non-prosecution submitted in an assault case has important legal implications that require the services of an experienced litigator who understands the complexities of such affidavits. Make sure you understand every legal angle of an affidavit of non-prosecution by contacting the Capetillo Law Firm.
You can reach us by submitting the easy to complete online form or by calling our office at (346) 249-5544.