There is a common belief perpetuated by television and movies that crime victims get to decide whether the alleged perpetrator is prosecuted. It is common to hear a victim say, “I don’t want to press charges,” after which the prosecutor drops the case.
That’s how it works in the movies, but not in real life – especially when it comes to charges of domestic violence. Once law enforcement gets involved, the case will almost certainly be charged. Authorities understand that domestic violence victims may be pressured or coerced into dropping the charges, which is why the decision is taken out of their hands.
The intention of this policy is good, but it can lead to serious problems when police are called inappropriately. Let’s say that two spouses are having a loud argument in their home. Things are thrown and there is a lot of yelling, but neither spouse is abusing the other. A concerned neighbor hears the chaos and calls the police.
When police arrive, they witness the disheveled condition of the room and notice that the wife is bleeding on her hand (perhaps from a glass that she broke). They arrest the husband and charge him with battery/domestic violence. The wife tries to explain that it was all a misunderstanding, but prosecutors won’t dismiss the case.
This particular scenario was fictional, but many real-life cases have played out in a similar fashion. If you or a loved one has been arrested for Domestic Violence, be proactive and get a former Domestic Violence Prosecutor on your side. Contact Premier Domestic Violence Law Group at (619) 736-3375.
What Comes Next?
If prosecutors will not agree to drop the charges, it is time for the accused spouse to seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney. The alleged victim can also work with the same attorney to seek dismissal of the case or reduction of the charges. The alleged victim can fill out and sign what is known as an “affidavit of non-prosecution,” formally requesting that the state not pursue the case. Or the victim may receive a letter as part of a mitigation packet prepared by defense counsel.
In many cases, this may be enough to get the case thrown out, because prosecutors typically do not want to spend time or resources on a case where the alleged victim is actively working against them. If not, however, the attorney will continue preparing the strongest possible defense to the charges to obtain a not-guilty verdict.
If you or a loved one has been arrested for Domestic Violence, be proactive and get a former Domestic Violence Prosecutor on your side. Contact Premier Domestic Violence Law Group at (619) 736-3375.