Can I Contact the Prosecutor to Ask Them to Drop the Charges?

When you’re charged with a crime you really want the case to be dismissed whether it’s assault or DWI. You just want to turn the clock back to a time before getting arrested, having court dates, having to deal with bail bondsman and pretrial services. Almost everyone who comes to my office looking for help tells me they want their case dismissed when I ask what they want. If you’re being wrongfully charged this is especially true.

It can be tempting to believe that if you can just talk to the person in charge or prosecuting you and tell your side of the story they will understand what happened, that you’re not a bad person, and dismiss the case.

They May Not Be Able to Talk To You

There’s nothing preventing you from contacting the prosecutor. You could call them, mail a letter, or approach them in court. There are rules that may prevent a prosecutor from talking to you. If you’re represented by an attorney, a prosecutor is prohibited from communicating to you about your case. They must go through your attorney. This doesn’t prevent them from reading a letter that you send to them, but they can’t have two way communication.

Why It’s Usually a Bad Idea

From a practical standpoint, reaching out to the prosecutor is a bad idea. The prosecutor’s role is to prosecute the case. In most circumstances, that means that the prosecutor is going for a conviction against you. It’s tempting to believe that if you can just tell your side of the story this will all go away. In fact, if you spoke with the police before you were arrested, that’s the feeling they want to give you. They want you to think that if you just tell what happened, everything will go better for you. This is not true.

As a defense attorney, there’s no worse feeling than finding out that your client sent a letter to the judge or the prosecutor. Every time that has happened to me, there has been information in the letter that hurt my client. There’s a lot of strategy in defending a case and it’s important to discuss decisions like this that can effect the outcome of your case with your attorney.

What if a Victim Wants to Contact the Prosecutor

A variation of this question that I hear is if the victim should reach out to the prosecutor to let them know they want the case dismissed. The situation here is different. If the alleged victim in the case wants the case dismissed, there’s nothing preventing the prosecutor from talking with them. In fact, it’s part of their job to reach out to witnesses, including the victim, when preparing for a case. It’s also the job of the defense attorney to reach out to witnesses to prepare for the case.

Before we go into what a victim can do to help, it’s important to mention that tampering with a witness is a felony in Texas. If you do anything to persuade a witness not to testify, to testify differently, or not to cooperate with the prosecutor, you are committing tampering with a witness. This could result in new charges. If your already being charged with a crime, you don’t want to be charged with another crime.

If the victim does want your case dismissed, there may be things that they can do. It must be their choice though to avoid tampering. If you’re the victim and you want the case dismissed, you should contact the defense attorney. The role of the defense attorney is to try and get the best result for the defendant in their case. The attorney should know the facts of the case and should be able to let you know what you can do if you want the case dismissed.

If you have any questions about contacting the prosecutor or the judge or if you’re being charged with a crime in San Antonio, schedule a free strategy session where we can discuss your case and a game plan to move forward.

The Law

Texas Rules of Professional Conduct

Rule 4.02. Communication with One Represented by Counsel (a) In representing a client, a lawyer shall not communicate or cause or encourage another to communicate about the subject of the representation with a person, organization or entity of government the lawyer knows to be represented by another lawyer regarding that subject, unless the lawyer has the consent of the other lawyer or is authorized by law to do so.

Texas Penal Code

Sec. 36.05. TAMPERING WITH WITNESS. (a) A person commits an offense if, with intent to influence the witness, he offers, confers, or agrees to confer any benefit on a witness or prospective witness in an official proceeding, or he coerces a witness or a prospective witness in an official proceeding:

(1) to testify falsely;

(2) to withhold any testimony, information, document, or thing;

(3) to elude legal process summoning him to testify or supply evidence;

(4) to absent himself from an official proceeding to which he has been legally summoned; or

(5) to abstain from, discontinue, or delay the prosecution of another.



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Sean Henricksen

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