drop domestic violence charges

Post: How to Drop Domestic Violence Charge

Sometimes, after a household argument has turned physical and police have arrested a spouse or partner, the apparent victim of the attack may wonder if it’s possible to drop domestic violence charges. Under Florida law, the victim of domestic violence cannot decline to press charges. But an experienced and aggressive domestic violence attorney may be able to help the accused avoid criminal charges if it’s in the best interest of both parties.

Once police are involved and someone is taken into custody, their fate is in the hands of prosecutors. The state reserves the decision to prosecutors because the risk is too great that an aggressive partner will coerce, intimidate, or otherwise force a partner to try to drop domestic violence charges.

However, there are legal steps that can be taken to potentially have the charges dismissed or reduced. There may be implications to working to have charges dismissed, so it’s best to talk to a domestic violence attorney to discuss the dynamics of your particular situation.

Ways to Drop Domestic Violence Charges

Domestic violence cases in Florida are considered crimes against the state rather than just crimes against the individual victim. This means the decision to pursue charges lies with the state prosecutor, not the victim. The rationale behind this is to protect victims from potential coercion or intimidation by the alleged abuser, as well as to prevent the recurrence of violence in the future.

The Role of the Prosecutor

Once the police have made an arrest in a domestic violence case, they forward the investigation to the state prosecutor’s office. At this stage, known as the “pre-filing” stage, the prosecutor reviews the evidence and determines how to proceed with the case. If the prosecutor finds that there is insufficient evidence or other compelling factors, they may choose to drop domestic violence charges entirely.

Filing a Waiver of Prosecution

Although the victim cannot unilaterally drop the charges, they can file a legal document known as a “Waiver of Prosecution” or “Declination of Prosecution” to express their wishes to the prosecutor. A Waiver of Prosecution is a sworn statement in which the alleged victim states that they do not wish to press charges against the alleged perpetrator. While filing a Waiver of Prosecution does not guarantee that the charges will be dropped, it can significantly influence the prosecutor’s decision-making process.

Factors Considered by Prosecutors

Prosecutors carefully evaluate the evidence and circumstances of each case before deciding whether to drop domestic violence charges. While the alleged victim’s wishes are taken into account, prosecutors also consider other factors, such as:

  • The severity of the alleged abuse
  • The presence of any prior incidents or history of domestic violence
  • The availability of other evidence, such as witness statements or medical reports
  • The overall public interest in prosecuting domestic violence cases

Building a Strong Defense

Even if the alleged victim indicates a desire to drop domestic violence charges and chooses not to cooperate with the prosecution, it is crucial to build a strong defense. Your defense attorney will examine the evidence, interview witnesses, and explore potential legal strategies to challenge the prosecution’s case. They may seek to suppress evidence obtained unlawfully or present alternative explanations for the alleged abuse.

Consequences of Domestic Violence Convictions

Domestic violence convictions can have severe consequences, including jail time, fines, mandatory counseling or therapy, restraining orders, and damage to personal and professional reputations. It is essential to take these charges seriously and seek qualified legal representation to protect your rights and future.

Why It’s Best to Talk to a Domestic Violence Attorney

If you are trying to decide whether to drop domestic violence charges in Florida and wish to explore your legal options, it is crucial to consult with a knowledgeable domestic violence defense attorney. The Orlando Domestic Violence Attorneys at the Rivas Law Firm in Winter Park have nearly 30 years of combined experience in handling domestic violence cases. They understand the complexities involved and are dedicated to providing aggressive and effective defense representation. Call 407-644-2466  for a free consultation and take the first step towards protecting your future.

Remember, the decision to drop domestic violence charges lies with the state prosecutor, but with the help of an experienced defense attorney, you can navigate the legal process and work towards the best possible outcome in your case.

Criminal defense attorney The Rivas Law Firm