Domestic violence cases are fraught with complicated emotional and legal implications. Often, domestic violence arrests and allegations are not initiated by the alleged victim at all. In fact, sometimes domestic violence arrests and charges can lead to expensive and heart-breaking legal proceedings that further complicate household relationships. Families can be split up by no contact orders and legal fees can drain family finances. If you or your spouse has been arrested or accused of domestic violence, you might be wondering if the charges can be dropped so your family can get back to some kind of normal.
Can an Alleged Victim Drop the Charges?
Domestic violence is a criminal matter, which means that the charges against an alleged offender are filed by the state – not an individual. When the state files charges in a criminal matter, the prosecuting attorney or district attorney in the area where the alleged crime occurred generally decides what happens with the charges, and the judge decides how the case will proceed. If you’re caught up in a domestic violence allegation or criminal proceeding, that might seem like bad news – but the situation is not totally out of your control.
Even though you or your spouse cannot unilaterally make the decision to drop charges in a domestic violence case, you still have some options. In fact, if the case has not yet gone to trial or the prosecuting attorney has not yet filed charges, there are some factors that can lead to the charges being dropped pre-trial or never being filed at all. These cases are rare, but a qualified and experienced attorney can advise you on how best to avoid further lasting financial, emotional, and relational damages that come with a domestic violence criminal proceeding and potential conviction.
How Do Domestic Violence Charges Get Dropped?
In most cases, the prosecuting attorney or district attorney decides whether the domestic violence case will go to court for a trial. Most often, domestic violence charges are dropped due to insufficient evidence. That means that the prosecutor does not believe he or she has enough evidence to convict the alleged offender in a court of law. Usually, a prosecutor needs the cooperation of the alleged victim of domestic violence to gather this evidence. However, if the alleged victim does not wish to cooperate with the investigation or provide further evidence, the prosecutor may not be able to form an ironclad case against the alleged offender. You should consult with a criminal defense or family law attorney if you or your spouse no longer wish to cooperate with prosecutors building a case.
A prosecutor might decide that there is insufficient evidence to proceed with a case if there are inconsistencies in witness or alleged victim statements taken by police at the time of the alleged offense and statements given during a deposition or questioning by the prosecutor. A lack of visible injury to the alleged victim could also introduce doubt as to whether or not domestic violence occurred or what type of charges might be successfully prosecuted. Finally, a prosecutor might decide he or she doesn’t have enough evidence to proceed if there are no independent witnesses to the alleged incident of domestic violence.
A qualified and experienced attorney can provide the best advice on how to get domestic violence charges dropped or how to defend against unwanted domestic violence charges and police involvement. Your attorney can help you or your spouse draft a compelling letter to the prosecuting or district attorney to persuade them to drop the charges altogether. If the charges can’t be dropped or the case is already proceeding in some way, your attorney could also help you secure a plea deal to a lesser offense that will have a much smaller impact on your future employment prospects and criminal record.
Call Bobby Digby for Expert Advice
When you’re facing unwanted domestic violence charges, the Bobby Digby Law Firm is here to help. Our team of attorneys is qualified and experienced and will help you navigate this difficult situation. Whether you need someone to help communicate with the prosecuting or district attorney or an advocate in the courtroom, the Bobby Digby Law Firm is your top choice. Our attorneys always stand up for your rights and to protect your best interests. Contact us today for a consultation.