Domestic violence involves abuse or threatened abuse against a family or household member. These are some of the most serious charges you could face, as the government will vehemently pursue the case, and you could be penalized with incarceration, fines, and other sanctions.
One of the most common questions asked in domestic violence matters is whether the alleged victim can drop the charges. After all, it may be the case that they made false accusations or realized that they reported the crime because of a misunderstanding and want to recant their story.
The alleged victim cannot drop domestic violence charges regardless of the circumstances. Thus, you may be tried and could be convicted even if the alleged victim has changed their mind. That is why it’s critical to reach out to a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible after allegations are made.
Why Can’t the Accuser Drop DV Charges?
Your accuser cannot drop the domestic violence charges because they are not the one who files them. An Assistant Prosecutor is.
When a criminal complaint is made, it’s up to the Assistant Prosecutor to determine how the case proceeds. They review the crime report law enforcement officials have provided and decide whether enough evidence exists to file charges and take the case to court.
Even if your accuser wants charges dropped and therefore refuses to participate in the case, the prosecutor can still move forward without their cooperation.
Law enforcement officials and prosecutors are aware of the unique challenges of domestic violence matters, especially the possibility that the alleged victim may not want to testify against a loved one. With these obstacles in mind, they are vigilant in investigating and prosecuting the case, seeking to protect the accuser and prevent future harm.
If the prosecutor has filed charges, they believe that they have enough evidence to pursue the matter without the accuser’s cooperation.
They may attempt to tell the alleged victim’s side of the story and prove guilt by presenting evidence such as:
- The crime report;
- The alleged offender’s criminal history;
- Photographs of the scene, including injuries and property damage;
- Records of the 911 call;
- Medical records;
- Witness statements;
- Medical personnel testimony;
- Expert witness testimony.
Your accuser likely has little say in whether the charges against you are pursued. Because of this, trying to reason with them or to get them to drop charges will have no bearing on your case. In fact, talking to your accuser after the case has been opened could negatively impact you.
In many domestic violence cases, the judge will issue a no-contact order as part of bond conditions. The order is made to protect the alleged victim by restricting communication between them and the alleged actor.
If you’re subject to a no-contact order, speaking with the victim – whether through phone, email, text, or another person – would be considered a violation. You could be arrested and sentenced to up to 30 days in jail.
Would a Prosecutor Ever Drop DV Charges?
Prosecutors don’t often drop domestic violence charges. These cases are usually seen through to the end because these matters place other people at risk of harm. Proving guilt can serve as a way to show that an offense committed against family or household members is a violation of the law and not tolerated. And sanctions imposed could help the alleged offender get the services they need to address underlying issues.
That said, it may be possible to convince a prosecutor to drop the charges. But this should generally only be attempted with the help of a criminal defense attorney. Your lawyer can negotiate with the prosecutor before trial to seek to have charges dropped.
A prosecutor may be convinced to drop charges if the defense can show that insufficient evidence exists to pursue the case. For example, law enforcement might have violated the alleged actor’s Constitutional rights, causing crucial pieces of evidence to be deemed inadmissible. The defense lawyer might also demonstrate that exculpatory evidence exists – that which shows that the defendant is not guilty. For instance, surveillance footage might reveal that the defendant was at a different location at the time of the alleged incident.
Because there may be avenues that can be explored to seek a favorable outcome in your case before it goes to trial, it’s important to take steps to avoid giving law enforcement officials and prosecutors fodder to build a strong case against you.
- Remain silent and refrain from discussing the situation with anyone, including friends or family members
- Stick to the conditions of your bond – don’t contact your accuser.
- Obey all laws and remain an upstanding citizen.
- Consult with a defense attorney
Discuss Your Case with a Member of Our Team
If you have been accused of domestic violence, talk to a defense attorney right away. At the Law Offices of Keith J. Nedwick, P.C., we will be your staunch advocates and will vigorously fight to protect your rights and freedoms.
Schedule a consultation in Norman, OK, by calling us at (866) 590-8173 or contacting us online today.