It is not uncommon for domestic violence cases to be responded to and for the supposed victim to later want to drop the charges. In some instance, the victim changes his or her mind and doesn’t want to prosecute the person that he or she loves, and in other cases, police responded to complaints about domestic violence filed by neighbors or other people. Regardless of the reason, contrary to popular believe, the victim of a domestic violence crime cannot simply decide to drop the charges in most cases.
Domestic Violence Complaints
Many states have enacted laws that require police officers to respond to domestic violence complaints in a certain manner. For instance, some states require that somebody be removed from the situation, usually in form of an arrest, when they are called to the scene of a domestic violence incident. In such instances, it is police officers’ job to discern who the more aggressive party is and remove that person from the situation. Afterwards, the district attorney’s prosecution office files the charges against the person determined to be the aggressor. Therefore, the DA is the one who possesses the power to dismiss the charges, but convincing the prosecutor to do so sometimes proves difficult.
Victim and Witness Coordinators
People wanting to dismiss domestic violence charges can schedule a meeting with a victim and witness coordinator for their jurisdictions. In the meeting, they can thoroughly explain the circumstances surrounding the incident and why they want to have the charges dismissed. In many cases, the victim and witness coordinator will agree to seek for the prosecuting attorney to dismiss the charges if the defendant agrees to attend counseling or therapy sessions for anger management treatment. Coordinators might also require the victims to enroll in victim awareness classes as well. People who really want to drop the charges should agree to the coordinator’s recommendations.
After each party completes the required counseling, they can request or have their attorneys request on their behalves for court dismissal of the charges. When appearing before the court, victims or their attorneys should focus on making points of why they feel that their safety won’t be at risk if the charges are dismissed. Having reports from counselors to document the victim’s and the defendant’s counseling sessions to present to the court will likely be helpful in getting the charges dismissed.
Getting domestic violence charges dismissed nowadays can be much more difficult than it used to be. However, the key to doing so is for both the victim and the defendant to cooperate with victim and witness coordinators, prosecuting attorneys and the courts.