How doI go about charging an individual with an assault charge they committed months ago?

My wife assaulted me months ago but I told the police nothing to try and protect her. I realize in hindsight that this wasn’t the best idea. Months ago she committed both an emotional and sexual affair and defamed my name by telling the adulterer and all her friends that I was a physically abusive husband. She would say that I pushed her into walls and tables and that I would hit her or smack her around; it caused all of her friends opinions of me to be that I was an unfit father/husband. All of this is untrue.

Asked on October 10, 2011 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you had an opportunity to press assault charges against your wife several months ago, but chose not to and said that nothing happened, you can still try to file a complaint with your local law enforcement agency.  Essentially, you make an appointment with the agency to report the offense or continue with the charges that you initially considered pursuing.  However, do not confuse your ability to file charges with the potential for success.  If you told the police several months ago that nothing happened, then those statements will be used against you now.  Even though it seems somewhat unfair, this is a constant frustration for prosecutors who handle domestic violence claims where victims frequently refuse to pursue charges by claiming that “nothing happened”.  Once a victim commits themselves to a story, the prosecutor is usually stuck with the first version, absent some compelling reason.  You seem frustrated by your wife’s current gossiping and defamation, rightfully so, but that type of action on her part is not usually considered a compelling reason for a prosecutor to pick a case back up after a victim has chosen to drop charges.  So your first step is to try to see if the law enforcement agency and prosecutor’s office will pick the charges back up again.  If that doesn’t work, you may be left with only civil options, like filing for a divorce and seeking a restraining order as part of the divorce action.  A family law attorney may be able to help you with both issues if they are familiar with the law enforcement agencies in your area. 


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