Many domestic violence charges center on the testimony of an alleged victim. However, in some cases that person does not want to appear in court to testify. If your accuser refuses to appear in court, what impact might that have on the domestic violence charges you face?
The court cannot require an alleged victim to testify.
People can face a variety of penalties for refusing to testify in most cases. However, California Civil Code Section 1219 forbids the court from penalizing an alleged victim of sexual assault or domestic violence for their refusal to testify. As a result, if the alleged victim in your case does not want to testify, that evidence will not be a part of the case.
However, it is important to remember that the course of the case is not determined by the alleged victim. The prosecution may still move forward with the case if the alleged victim refuses to testify or even if they want the charges dropped. Without that testimony, the prosecution may still utilize the testimony of other witnesses, recordings or other evidence to pursue the accusations against you.
How can you respond to an ongoing case?
While the case against you may continue if the alleged victim refuses to testify, you can take steps to defend yourself from domestic violence charges. An experienced attorney can help address any evidence the prosecution has, highlight any inconsistencies that may arise and potentially have the charges against you reduced or dropped entirely.