What Happens When a Domestic Violence Victim Doesn’t Want To Press Charges?
December 5, 2022 | Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law
You’ve been arrested and charged with domestic violence. The victim, however, doesn’t want to press charges. Many people believe that domestic violence cases are automatically dismissed in this circumstance, but that’s not always the case. In some instances, the state may choose to pursue charges even if the victim is unwilling to participate in the prosecution.
Decision To Pursue Domestic Violence Charges
The decision to file domestic violence charges and pursue prosecution in a domestic violence case is based on many factors, including the severity of the injuries, the evidence available, and whether or not there are any eyewitnesses.
In some cases, the victim may be hesitant to testify against the alleged perpetrator. In these instances, the prosecutor may still decide to move forward with the case if there is enough evidence to prove that a crime was committed.
While it is possible for a domestic violence victim to request that charges be dropped, it is ultimately up to the prosecutor.
The Alleged Victim Has Some Influence
While it is true that the police will not automatically dismiss a case at the request of the victim, it is also true that victims of domestic violence are often the most critical witnesses in such cases. Therefore, they will have some influence over whether charges are pursued.
In many cases, without an alleged victim’s testimony and cooperation, there is no case. This is true if there’s no other evidence of the alleged abuse.
The Accused May Be Able To Get a Better Offer
While the state may not be willing to drop the charges entirely even if the alleged victim asks them to, the victim’s lack of cooperation may allow your criminal lawyer to get you a better deal.
For example, you may be able to avoid jail time or get a reduced sentence. If you are facing domestic violence charges, it is important to speak to an experienced lawyer who can help you understand your options and make the best decision for your case.
Why Would the State Press Charges If the Victim Doesn’t Want To?
Every day, prosecutors across the country make decisions about which cases to pursue and which to drop. In domestic violence cases, there is often significant pressure on prosecutors to “send a message” and prosecute every case that comes across their desk, even if the victim does not want to press charges. However, this approach can often do more harm than good.
One of the biggest dangers of prosecuting domestic violence cases against an alleged victim’s wishes is that it can lead to wrongful convictions.
In many cases, defendants who are facing domestic violence charges are already at a disadvantage. They may not have access to quality legal representation, and they may not be able to afford to mount an aggressive defense. As a result, they might be more likely to accept plea deals that result in a conviction, even if they’re innocent.
The Impact on Victims
In addition to the risk of wrongful convictions, prosecuting domestic violence cases without the victim’s cooperation can also have a negative impact on the victims themselves. Victims who do not want to participate in the criminal justice system may feel that they are being forced to relive their trauma in order to secure a conviction.
Moreover, even when victims do cooperate with prosecutors, they often feel ignored or discounted by the criminal justice system.
There is no denying that the American criminal justice system is far from perfect. One area in which this is particularly evident is in the realm of domestic violence charges. All too often, innocent people are wrongfully convicted of domestic abuse, resulting in life-altering consequences. This is often due to a combination of false accusations, shoddy police work, and aggressive prosecutors.
It is undeniable that domestic violence is a serious problem. However, it’s also important to remember that sometimes, an alleged victim no longer wishes to pursue charges because they exaggerated what happened.
Contact a Redwood City Domestic Violence Attorney If You Have Questions or Need Help
If you’ve been accused of domestic violence, contact an experienced Redwood City domestic violence attorney to schedule a free consultation and discuss your legal options.
Ahmed & Sukaram, Attorneys at Law – San Jose Office
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