If you face accusations of domestic violence, you may believe the worst will happen. It is important to keep in mind, however, that these charges are only one step in the legal process, and the prosecution may choose to drop them before a case goes to trial. Why might the authorities drop domestic violence charges before the matter goes to court?
Charges might be dropped for a variety of reasons.
In California, the prosecutor — not the alleged victim — determines whether a domestic violence complaint will lead to charges. While domestic violence charges are generally out of a person’s hands once they report, if the alleged victim denies that the domestic violence occurred, they may be able to persuade the prosecution not to bring the issue to court.
In addition to the alleged victim’s wishes, a lack of sufficient evidence can lead to dropped charges. Some of the many evidentiary questions that may lead a prosecutor to drop a domestic violence charge include:
- Inconsistencies between witness statements
- A lack of evidence, including a lack of injury
- A lack of witnesses not involved in the reported incident
- The facts and dynamics of the case are such that the prosecution does not feel it will win at jury trial
Because of the variety of factors that could lead to a dropped domestic violence charge, those hoping to have their charges dropped may want to speak to an experienced attorney. Not only can their attorney examine the particulars of their case, but they can also highlight those details to show the prosecution why a charge might not be necessary. An attorney can also help you build a defense that protects your freedom even if the prosecution decides to move forward with the case.