In the context of criminal domestic battery or domestic violence, a question 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 live testimony in that case was “I do not recall”.
The government’s theory was that the written statement MUST be true because it was written closer to the time of the alleged event. Obviously, it could also be that the witness chose “I do not recall” because the written statement was a lie. 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.
Just because the alleged victim says that they will ask to have charges dropped or not filed, that does not mean the Defendant should proceede without a lawyer. A criminal domestic lawyer may still be required to assist in a domestic violence or battery. In criminal cases, if a person cannot afford a lawyer, then a lawyer should be appointed. Domestic battery can be a felony or misdemeanor, and either way has far reaching consequences. Nobody should fight against the government alone. If you or a loved one has been accused or arrested in a case regarding domestic violence or battery then click, call or fill out the form to hire a lawyer.