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Criminal Cases of Domestic Battery - Can the Victim Drop the Charges?

In the context of criminal cases involving domestic battery or domestic violence, a question I'm often asked is whether a victim can drop the charges. The short answer is No. Only a prosecutor has the discretion whether to charge a person with a crime. The victim to a domestic battery can request that the State not press charges, however it is simply a request.

Recently a case wherein the victim requested to have charges dropped was litigated and the defendant was convicted. Not only did the State prosecute notwithstanding the victim's request to drop the charges, the State had the alleged victim declared a hostile witness and then sought to introduce her written statement as an exception to hearsay. The written statement was shown to the jury and the defendant was convicted. The defendant appealed that the jury saw the victim's written statement and lost that too.

Whether and under what circumstance a written statement of an uncooperative witness are admissible now depends on where the case is located because of a split in the District Courts. Fortunately, the Supreme Court should resolve this conflict soon. The live testimony was "I do not recall".

What astonishes me is the theory that the written statement MUST be true because it was written more close to the time of the alleged event. It could also be that the witness chose "I do not recall" because the written statement was a lie. Hopefully the Florida Supreme Court will choose to side with the Constitution, the protections against our government and the Districts requiring stricter standards for admitting this type of evidence.

If you are reading this then hopefully, you now realize that just because the alleged victim says they will ask that charges be dropped or not filed, you still may need a lawyer to assist in a domestic violence or battery. Domestic battery can be a felony or misdemeanor, and either way has far reaching consequences. Do not fight against the government alone. If you or a loved one has been accused or arrested and has a criminal case regarding domestic violence or battery then click or call today for a consultation.

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