As a Houston Assault Lawyer I have worked on many domestic violence cases over the years. Some people are surprised to learn that many people charged with this type of crime are innocent. This particular case was a dismissal, but it ended as a conditional dismissal.
At the end of the day the goal is to get a case dismissed. Sometimes cases are outright dismissed, and sometimes they are dismissed because they “earned” a dismissal. What I mean by earned a dismissal, is that the prosecution asked them to do something in exchange for the dismissal.
This particular case that I handled was a domestic violence case between a husband and wife. I am 100% convinced that my client was innocent. The accusation did not match the evidence, and the “victim” admitted to lying. My advice to my client was to fight the case all the way to trial. However, my client wanted the case over as soon as possible. When the DA offered an anger management class and 12 hours of community service in exchange for the dismissal, he jumped on it (against my advice).
Now why would you ever reject a dismissal? Because sometimes conditional dismissals are not great.
When is a Conditional Dismissal Bad?
- When you are actually innocent. You have to think about the future and realize that this could come back and bite you in the future. If this person picks up another identical case in the future, it is not going to matter to the DA (their opinion) if the case was dismissed. They are going to look at it as if they did him a favor. So if you do choose to do this, you MUST get your case expunged as soon as you can.
- You are not a US Citizen. Sometimes immigration judges look at the reasons on the reset. If a judge thinks you were actually guilty, it might cause them to treat you different, even though legally they should not be doing that.
When is a Conditional Dismissal Good?
- When you could probably lose a trial. If you do not think you can win, then you should probably jump on an offer like this. If your case is 50/50 and you don’t want to gamble, this is potentially a good option. Again, you would want to get an expunction.
- When you are guilty. Obviously if you are guilty, and there is evidence of this, and no defense, you want to jump on a dismissal. This is really when conditional dismissals should be offered. But somewhere along the line, these offers became more common for individuals with a high likelihood of winning their case in trial.
So if you find yourself hiring a Houston Assault Lawyer, make sure that you listen to their advice (assuming they know what they are doing!) and make the best decision for you. Especially on domestic violence cases, where the consequences can extend past the court room. If you have any questions reach out to me, Houston Assault Lawyer Eric Benavides and I will be happy to talk to you.
Eric Benavides is a Houston Criminal Defense Attorney. He is a co-founder of Benavides & Serrano, PLLC. He is a graduate of the prestigious Texas Criminal Defense Lawyers Trial College, and is a proven trial lawyer. He has been recognized as one of the best criminal lawyers in Houston by the Houstonia magazine, and has earned a perfect 10.0 rating on AVVO.