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FAQ: Can Domestic Violence Charges Be Dropped?

By February 18, 2021 No Comments

One frequently asked question is whether domestic violence charges in California may be dropped against an accused.

Domestic violence has a myriad of serious consequences for perpetrators and victims alike. For example, individuals who are not U.S. citizens accused of or arrested for a domestic violence offense may be deported from the United States. This is just one of the many reasons that the assistance of an experienced domestic violence defense attorney is crucial to achieving the best possible outcome when charged with any domestic violence offense, including the following offenses:

Corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant – California Penal Code § 273.5 PC;

Domestic battery – California Penal Code § 243€ PC; and

Criminal threats – California Penal Code § 422 PC.

Reporting an individual for an alleged violation of any of the above three California Statutes has serious ramifications once the report is made to a law enforcement agency. Victims may not simply choose to drop the charges against an alleged offender after calling the police. At the time that law enforcement is contacted about an alleged domestic violence incident, it becomes the decision of the local authority’s attorney, whether municipality or county, to prosecute, despite the victim wishing to the contrary. If the prosecution believes it has sufficient evidence, it may go forward and prosecute even if the victim requests it to drop the charges against the accused.

Because situations where domestic violence may have occurred are often spontaneous, heated, and irrational events, alleged victims may call law enforcement despite not desiring to accuse anyone of domestic violence. A victim may wish to recant his or her accusations but to no avail.

Aside from contacting the law enforcement member in charge of the case to express the desire not to prosecute the defendant, a victim may file an affidavit of non-prosecution that contains a statement by the alleged victim that expressly requests the prosecution to drop the charges pending against the accused. An experienced criminal defense attorney may help anyone accused of domestic violence obtain an affidavit of non-prosecution.

This affidavit may or may not sway the court’s decision to prosecute. If the victim feels no need for justice, does not wish to press charges, and files an affidavit requesting the prosecutor to dismiss the case, it is more likely that the court will also choose not to spend the requisite time, money, and other resources necessary to prosecute the case.

As a California Criminal Trial Lawyer with over 40 years of courtroom experience, John Patrick Dolan has handled everything from traffic tickets to death penalty murder cases. These four decades of experience have helped John Patrick Dolan help his clients obtain the best resolution possible when freedom and reputation are at stake. Mr. Dolan is a recognized California State Bar Certified Specialist in Criminal Law and a true courtroom veteran of domestic violence defense cases. Call us today at (760) 775-3739 or find out more online here.

FAQ: Can Domestic Violence Charges Be Dropped?