I don’t want the case to be prosecuted – why won’t DA drop the domestic violence charges?
Commonly, this question comes up in domestic violence charges or a theft from a family member prosecution. After a loved one is arrested; regardless of the validity of the charges, family members tend to want to avoid getting their loved one in any “more” trouble. As a domestic violence attorney, I have heard this question countless times, “how can they (State) charge my (boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife) with domestic violence, if I say it didn’t happen or I don’t want prosecution. This post is simply to explain the criminal justice process as it relates to prosecution of domestic violence charges.
The short answer is no, you cannot have the domestic violence charge dismissed by simply calling the DA or prosecutor. Once officers are involved and determine that there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been committed by the suspect, they will arrest whom they deem to be a suspect. This is not to say that the “suspect” will be charged. There is a presumption of innocence that applies to everyone.
The district attorney will then determine what, if any charges should be filed. The district attorney has an ethical obligation to file only those domestic violence charges that can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Thus, if he/she feels that a crime was committed and is provable, domestic violence charges would be filed and the person will be prosecuted. For more information on consequence of a domestic violence charge, click here.
If the initial reporting party or victim decided that they do not want to press domestic violence charges, the case may still go forward. The district attorney has the power to issue a subpoena for you to testify, even if you do not want to. The rational to allow the DA to proceed with domestic violence charges, even if you do not agree, is for the greater protection of society and/or an abused victim.
Remember, filing of domestic violence charges puts each element of the offense into contention and requires that the prosecution prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. It is not an automatic indication of guilt. Thus, if you believe that you or a loved one was wrongly accused of domestic violence charges, contact a criminal defense attorney to review your case.