Can Victims of Domestic Violence Drop the Charges? (2023)

Can Victims of Domestic Violence Drop the Charges? (1)One of the most common questions that top Connecticut criminal lawyers get every day from both victims of domestic violence and clients accused of domestic violence is - "Can the victim drop the charges?" The short answer is no they can't. But the situation is a lot more complicated, and I'm going to explain the situation in more detail.

Many Victims of Domestic Violence Want to Drop the Charges

It may seem ironic but usually, the first contact person who calls into our Stamford criminal defense law firm is the victim of a domestic violence case who wants to drop the charges and who is upset because the police and the State's attorney will not listen to them. (Notice I say "them" and not "her" - victims of domestic violence come in all genders, ages, sexual orientations and, races). I can imagine how frustrating it can be for both the victim and the accused when the victim does not want the prosecution to continue and yet the State of Connecticut wants to continue to remain involved in the relationship by continuing the criminal prosecution and the orders of protection. Without a doubt, there are cases where there is a historical pattern of ongoing abuse where the State's attorney should rightfully not listen to a victim who wants to reunite with the abuser due to the obvious public safety concerns that exist. However, the vast majority of domestic violence cases that we defend involve relatively minor, isolated incidents in otherwise happy and problem-free relationships.

Mandatory Arrest is Required

(Video) Will A Prosecutor Drop Charges If A Domestic Violence Victim Recants?

When the police are called to investigate any allegation of domestic violence, they are required to arrest someone if they find probable cause that any crime has occurred - even if the victim does not want to press charges and does not make a statement or speak to the police. For example, if a witness or a neighbor calls the police to complain that they can hear an argument between a husband and wife and the police respond, the husband may get arrested for breach of peace or disorderly conduct even if the wife says that she does not want to press charges if the police can determine that there is evidence that the husband was yelling at the wife in a loud and abusive manner either from witness accounts or the admissions of the husband. This is one of the top reasons why we always advise everyone who is the subject of a domestic violence investigation by the police to always remain silent, refuse to answer any questions and insist on the right to speak with a Stamford domestic violence attorney.

It may seem unfair, overly burdensome and intrusive but the Legislature has elected to take away all discretion from the police departments by requiring mandatory arrests in all cases and letting the courts and the office of family relations sort it all out later.

Of course, a call to 911 is always recommended for anyone who is in physical danger or who has been physically injured. However, we have seen many situations where two people who are in a heated argument that is likely not to turn physical resort to calling 911 as a means of "getting the upper hand" in the argument. This results in the intrusion of the State of Connecticut into the relationship, family and a lot of lasting unintended consequences like the publication of online arrest information that is very embarrassing not to mention the inconvenience and expense of coming to court to resolve the case. Occasionally, these arrests can have employment consequences for the accused, (depending on the type of work they are engaged in) and everyone feels very badly after the fact.

The State's Attorney Prosecutes Domestic Violence Cases Not the Victim

(Video) Can your wife / girlfriend / spouse / ex drop domestic violence charges against you?

The general public seems to have a common misconception that a victim has the right to either press or drop criminal charges in a domestic violence case. This is not accurate. On the contrary, even if the victim wants to drop charges the State's attorney may decide after reviewing all the facts that it is in the State's best interests to continue prosecuting the case. The victim's input is very important and under our Constitution, all victims of crimes have the right to be heard throughout the proceedings and voice their concerns to the court. However, those rights do not extend to being able to drop the case.

Many Victims of Domestic Violence Want to "Drop the Charges"

The reality is that a lot of domestic violence cases are brought in the heat of the moment and when people calm down the following day, they deeply regret the situation and want to undo the damage. This is particularly the case when residential stay-away orders are issued and loved ones have to move out of homes and families are broken up. Understandably, many victims will contact the office of the State's attorney and victim's advocate and request that the case be dropped and the order of protection be removed or modified. With so many victims wanting to have the charges dropped the State's attorney becomes almost numb to these requests as they are so common. At the end of the day, the cases are processed based upon the facts alleged in the police reports and the input of the office of family relations.

The Victim Can Not "Drop" the Charges But the Victim's Input is Very Important to the Disposition of the Case While ultimately the victim can not drop the charges in a domestic violence case, the input from the victim is crucial to the disposition of a domestic violence case. In those cases where the victim is out for blood, aggressively seeking a guilty plea and or a standing criminal order of protection it can be much more difficult to obtain a favorable resolution. Of course, if the facts are on your side and you have a skilled Stamford domestic violence attorney fighting on your side you can still get a positive outcome even if the victim is not "on board" but it makes it so much harder. While the victim does not drive the bus in terms of being in charge of determining what the State's attorney is going to do in a particular case, having positive victim input can be very helpful for your case.

(Video) How A Victim Can Help Dismiss a Family Violence Case

Never Attempt to Pressure or Coerce the Victim into Changing Their Position

Assuming that you do not have any no-contact order of protection in place which prohibits any contact at all with the victim it seems that often a topic of conversation with parties going through a domestic violence case is the criminal case itself. I want to sound a warning about these kinds of conversations, because pressuring or coercing the victim in a domestic violence case can put you in much more serious trouble.

You must never attempt to contact a victim in a criminal case and attempt to pressure or coerce them into altering their position or testimony in the case. First of all, in nearly every domestic violence case there is at least a partial order of protection so if you attempt to pressure the victim you are violating a criminal order of protection which is a serious felony. Also, in every case attempting to put pressure on any victim can expose you to the charge of tampering with a witness which is a class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in jail. I always recommend that defendants in domestic violence cases never even discuss the pending criminal case with the victim. While it may be very tempting to engage the victim in conversations about the case, particularly when the victim is the one who is initiating the conversation, you just have way too much to lose by doing so.

The Same Lawyer Can Never Represent Both the Accused Defendant and the Victim in any Criminal Case While the victim does not need to retain an attorney, often doing so can be helpful to make the case move along quicker. If the victim does not have an attorney then the victim's interests will be represented by the victim's advocate who will read a brief report to the Court upon request indicating the victim's position. If the victim retains an attorney, that attorney can be more proactive in working to push to get the victim's position heard. The victim should always retain their own lawyer to represent their interests in the case. It is an impermissible conflict of interest for your Stamford domestic violence lawyer to represent you and also represent the victim at the same time.

(Video) Arrested for Domestic Violence, Girlfriend Doesn't Want to Press Charges, What Can Be Done?


While the victim can't "drop" the charges in a domestic violence case the input from the victim is a really important factor in the determination of a domestic violence case. Having a cooperative victim who wants to see the case against you go way can go a long way towards achieving a favorable resolution of your case.

Why Choose the Law Offices of Allan F. Friedman?

  • Available 24/7 - 365 days a year/emergency response line
  • 28 years of experience defending domestic violence allegations
  • We fight for your rights and focus on results that work
  • Free initial consultation
  • Reasonable flat fees
  • We will coordinate a bail bond agent to secure your release

The strategy to resolve any particular case depends on the facts of the case itself. With over 28 years of experience in defending domestic violence cases, Attorney Allan F. Friedman will leave no stone unturned to defend your rights and obtain the best result possible. Our Stamford domestic violence law firm offers a free no-obligation case evaluation so that we can review your legal rights and our defense strategy. To schedule your free consultation contact Allan F. Friedman at the Law offices of Allan F Friedman 24/7 at (203) 357-5555.

(Video) Can A Victim Of Domestic Assault Drop The Charges?


Can a domestic violence case be dismissed in California? ›

Alleged victims of domestic abuse cannot drop the charges once the accusation is made. In California, technically, only the district attorney may drop domestic violence charges after an accusation.

Can a victim drop charges in Texas? ›

The most important aspect to consider is that the prosecutor issues the charge, not the victim. This means that the victim of the assault does not have the authority to drop charges. Rather, the victim must appeal to the prosecutor, hoping they will agree to drop the assault charges against their partner.

What is an affidavit to drop charges in Texas? ›

The good news is that if the victim does not want to press charges, the prosecutor can choose to drop the case. Affidavit of This is called an affidavit of non-prosecution, and it is a way to avoid having a domestic violence conviction on your record.

How do I get charges dropped before court date UK? ›

There are two main ways charges against you may be dropped:
  1. Formal acquittal. ...
  2. Discontinuance. ...
  3. Lack of evidence. ...
  4. Evidence against you was illegally obtained. ...
  5. The prosecution is not in the public interest. ...
  6. To buy time to prepare for a later trial.
Jul 20, 2021

How do most domestic abuse cases end? ›

The vast majority of domestic violence defendants are first time offenders who have never been arrested before and are facing their first blush with the criminal justice system. Although it may seem very confusing, frustrating and stressful to go through the process most cases end with a dismissal of all charges.

How do you dismiss a DV case? ›

The domestic violence case can be quashed by the apex court when the wife filed an vague allegations domestic violence case or the husband has all appropriate evidence to prove his quashing case by telling the apex court that all allegation is false and vague in nature by producing the supporting evidence.

Can police press charges if victim doesn't want to Texas? ›

Even if the victim changes their mind about pressing charges against the person they accused of committing a crime, law enforcement could continue the criminal investigation. To have a warrant issued, they would need to establish probable cause that the accused committed a crime.

What happens if the victim doesn t want to press charges in Texas? ›

Yes. Even if the “victim” does not want to prosecute, the State can, and most often will, go forward with an assault charge. In criminal cases, it's not the injured party's (Victim) decision as to whether a case will be prosecuted. It is the State of Texas versus the defendant.

Can you drop charges against someone before court? ›

Although you may have been arrested or investigated by the police for a criminal offence it does not necessarily follow that you will be charged. In fact, with an experienced criminal defence solicitor on your side, the charges may be dropped before the court date.

Can signing an affidavit to drop charges? ›

The complaining witness may drop the charges and recant their statements to the police. In some cases, there may be disagreements in the official story told by law enforcers. In either case, the victim may sign an affidavit of non-prosecution to express their wishes to have the charges dropped.

How do I get a case dismissed in Texas? ›

You may dismiss a case you filed at any time before you have introduced all your evidence, or take a non-suit by filing a Notice of Nonsuit with the court.

How do you write a letter to judge to drop charges? ›

Reiterate your trust in the defendant and your respect for the judge and their position in the matter. Not only do you want to express the defendant's regret in wrongdoing but also suggest ways in which they can better themselves and the community should their case be dismissed.

Can you still get charged if charges are dropped? ›

For a charge to be dropped, the prosecutor will either withdraw some or all charges. If one charge of many is dropped, the remaining charges may still be pursued.

Can I withdraw a statement made to the police? ›

If you withdraw your statement, the case might still go to court if the police think they have enough evidence to prosecute the suspect. If you want to withdraw your statement because you're worried about giving evidence, you should tell the police how you feel.

What happens if a case is withdrawn? ›

The phrase “case withdrawn” denotes a court decision that there is no need to continue the trial and reach a guilty or not guilty verdict after considering the merits of a particular case.

How long does domestic violence case last? ›

Legislature set a time limit of 60 days for a Domestic Violence case to be disposed as prescribed under sec 12(5) of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

What happens after DV case is filed? ›

After the filing of your complaint, in 3 days the court will hear the complaint and then in about 2 more days the notice of of hearing will be issued to your husband and in-laws as per what the Magistrate deems reasonable.

What is the lowest charge of assault? ›

Class C Misdemeanor

Can a complainant withdraw a domestic violence case? ›

Advocate Sunil Kumar Bakshi

If you wants to withdraw your DV case then it can not be withdrawn because may be FIR is registered then you apply for quashing of proceeding and then apply divorce as per your Muslim custom.

What happens if charges are dropped before court? ›

What happens if charges are dropped before court? If the CPS decide to drop the sexual offence charges against you because the prosecution have offered no evidence in court, you will be formally acquitted.

Is DV maintainable after 1 year? ›

DV is not maintainable after 1 year of no-cohabitation.

Can a victim be forced to give evidence? ›

Only a small number of cases end up in court, but as a victim or witness of a crime if you're asked to give evidence in court, you must go. You'll only have to go to court if the defendant (the person accused of the crime): denies the charge and pleads 'not guilty'; or.

Can charges be dropped at an arraignment hearing? ›

Judges do not generally have the authority to dismiss charges at an arraignment, and in practice, they normally do not. With that said, however, the prosecutor can dismiss charges at an arraignment, but only if there is a compelling reason to do.

What rights does Texas provide for crime victims? ›

Victims of crime are afforded certain rights under Texas law. These rights include, but are not limited to, the right to protection, information, notification, to be heard, to participate in the criminal justice system, and to seek financial remedies.

Can police prosecute if victim doesn't press charges? ›

Yes, by giving a statement you have contributed to the evidence they have to take forward, but they're also quite used to domestic violence scenarios where the victim doesn't cooperate but they still prosecute.

How long do you go to jail for assault in Texas? ›

In Texas, an aggravated assault is a second degree felony with punishments including 2 to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. If the assault also involved certain circumstances such as domestic violence, it can be considered a first degree felony with punishments that include up to life in prison.

How long does a DA have to file charges in Texas? ›

In a felony case, depending upon the specific offense, the prosecutor may have up to 5, 7, or 10 years to file charges. For other more serious charges, such as murder, sexual assault, and indecency with a child, the prosecutor does not have any time limitation to file charges.

Can a victim ask the CPS to drop charges? ›

Remember, you cannot ask the CPS to drop the charges without good cause. You might know you are innocent, or regret your actions, or have been reconciled with the victim. But the CPS will still say that justice must be done. The CPS cannot decide whether you are innocent or guilty – only the courts can do that.

What makes a criminal case weak? ›

a lack of evidence, few or no credible witnesses, mistakes in the criminal complaint, and. a valid legal defense for the defendant.

What is it called when a prosecutor drops charges after filing them? ›

legislature. If a prosecutor drops charges after filing them, it is called. C. nolle prosequi. Only $35.99/year.

What should you not say in an affidavit? ›

Avoid providing your opinion in your affidavit. Affidavits should be statements of facts not personal opinions. For example, an opinion statement would be, “I think my child loves chocolate ice cream.”

Does an affidavit stand up in court? ›

The statement is equivalent to standing in front of a courtroom and swearing under oath. It is written in the first person context, where you also identify yourself in the confirmation. In short, you are just acknowledging that you agree to not lie in the affidavit.

Why does a court ask for an affidavit? ›

An affidavit is a type of verified statement or evidence, or in other words contains a verification, which means that it is made under oath under penalty of perjury, and this serves as evidence of its truth and is required in court proceedings.

What causes a case to be dismissed? ›

There are many reasons for a court to dismiss a case, both procedural and substantive. FRCP 12 provides the list of grounds for dismissal in federal court, which includes a lack of jurisdiction, improper service of process, failure to join a party, and a plaintiff's failure to state a claim for relief.

On what grounds can a case be dismissed Texas? ›

Some of the most common reasons charges get dropped and dismissed in Texas are:
  • Lack of cooperation from the alleged victim. ...
  • Lack of evidence. ...
  • Evidence of innocence. ...
  • Fourth Amendment violations. ...
  • The defendant's cooperation. ...
  • Procedural errors. ...
  • Insufficient resources. ...
  • Criminal complaint errors.
May 21, 2021

How long do arrests stay on your record in Texas? ›

15. Question: How long will arrest information appear on my criminal history record? Answer: Criminal arrest information will remain on a criminal history record indefinitely.

How do I convince someone to drop charges? ›

There are multiple ways a defendant or their attorney can convince a prosecutor to drop criminal charges. Examples include lack of probable cause, presenting exculpatory evidence, showing police violated their rights, or partaking in a pretrial diversion program.

How do you ask a judge for leniency? ›

The 5 most common tips in writing an effective leniency letter to a judge include:
  1. write a clear introduction,
  2. introduce yourself and establish credibility,
  3. provide reasons for leniency,
  4. tell a story, and.
  5. provide contact information.
Jul 8, 2022

Does writing a letter to the judge help? ›

These letters can be a very important part of the sentencing process because they help the judge get to know the person they are sentencing in ways other than just the facts of the offense: The letter should be addressed to the Judge, but mailed to the defendant's attorney.

What is one reason prosecutors may decide to dismiss cases? ›

A prosecutor may drop a criminal charge if it is determined that the evidence against the accused isn't strong enough. Or, perhaps new evidence is found which undercuts the prosecution's case against the defendant.

How do I remove dismissed charges from my record? ›

After your charges are dismissed from the court and the statute of limitations has expired for your case, you can ask the court to expunge the arrest record and court files. Getting a case expunged is like taking the trash can containing the dismissed case outside and burning it. All official records are destroyed.

Can I withdraw my statement in court? ›

Can an Affidavit of Evidence once filed, be withdrawn? The Hon'ble Bombay High Court held that once an Affidavit of Evidence is filed it cannot be withdrawn.

Is a witness statement enough to convict? ›

What is reassuring for defendants is that whilst a signed statement from a complainant is enough for a charge, it is not necessarily enough to secure a conviction. The complainant must be able to convince the jury or magistrates that the defendant is guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

Do police have to tell you they are recording? ›

Under data protection legislation, officers must inform people that they're being filmed and will do so unless the situation means it's not possible. Otherwise you'll know you're being recorded when the camera has flashing red lights in the centre of it.

At what stage can a case be withdrawn? ›

Cases withdrawn in court

Cases may only be 'withdrawn in court' by the prosecution service. This happens after the accused has been charged, but before he pleads to the charge. There can be a variety of reasons why the prosecution service might withdraw the charge against an accused.

Can we withdraw the case without going to court? ›

complainant at any time before a final order is passed satisfies the magistrate that there are sufficient grounds for permitting him to withdraw his complaint against the accused, then the magistrate may permit him to withdraw the same, and shall thereupon acquit the accused. (Sec. 257 Cr. P.C)).

Do you get a criminal record if a case is withdrawn? ›

If you do end up in court, you will have a court record even if you are found innocent or have your charges dismissed. This record will not show a conviction, but it will show that you were charged and went to court.

What is the average sentence for domestic violence in California? ›

Sentencing for Domestic Violence Offenses

A misdemeanor will mean up to 1 year in county jail, but a felony conviction has the potential of 2 – 6 years in state prison, and longer sentences for those who have a prior conviction on record.

Do first time domestic violence offenders go to jail in California? ›

It's common for many counties in California to impose a minimum jail time sentence of 30 days for domestic violence convictions. This includes those who have committed a first-time offense and those who are charged with a misdemeanor.

How do I drop a DV case in California? ›

Only the D.A. Can Drop Domestic Violence Charges in California. Technically, only the district attorney can drop domestic violence charges after an accusation in California. This means that the alleged victim cannot change their minds once they call the police.

How long does a domestic violence misdemeanor stay on your record in California? ›

Regardless of the charge, however, there is no expiration time for how long it stays on your criminal record. This means that if you are convicted of domestic violence in California, it will permanently appear on your criminal record unless you have it expunged.

Whats the longest you can get for domestic violence? ›

Sentence Length for Felony Domestic Violence

The prison sentence for a domestic violence charge can include more than a year in state prison. Depending on the individual situation, a sentence for a felony conviction can include up to 10 years or more in prison.

What punishment is awarded on domestic violence? ›

(1) A breach of protection order, or of an interim protection order, by the respondent shall be an offence under this Act and shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to twenty thousand rupees, or with both.

Is domestic violence a big deal? ›

Domestic violence is a serious social problem and a national health concern with significant negative impacts on individuals and our communities. It is a primary cause of injury to women in the United States.

What class of felony is a domestic violence charge? ›

Domestic violence in the form of a first-degree assault is one type of a class A felony charge. You can be found guilty of first-degree assault if you, with the intent to inflict great bodily harm, assaulted someone else with a firearm or another deadly weapon.

Can 273.5 be dropped? ›

You are guilty under Penal Code 273.5 PC corporal injury to your spouse only if you willfully injured the victim. This means that an accidental injury — even one that occurs during a heated argument — is not enough. In this situation, you may be able to get the prosecutor to dismiss the case.

Can you own a gun with a misdemeanor domestic violence charge in California? ›

As discussed below, California generally disqualifies people from purchasing or possessing firearms if they have been convicted of domestic violence-related crimes or while they are currently subject to court restraining orders against domestic violence (or other restraining orders such as civil harassment restraining ...

How long is probation for domestic violence in California? ›

The probation period is typically 36 months under California Penal Code 1203.097 PC. It should be noted that any sentence for a domestic violence offense always depends on whether the underlying crime was filed as a misdemeanor or felony.


1. 5 Reasons Why Prosecutors Might Drop Domestic Violence Charges | Lawyer Explain
(Georgia Domestic Violence Lawyers )
2. Can A Domestic Violence Victim Drop Charges and Recant Their Statement?
(Oykhman Criminal Defence Lawyers)
3. Can a Victim of Domestic Violence in Florida Get the Charges Dropped?
(The Law Office of Matthew Konecky, P.A.)
4. 5 Reasons A Prosecutor Might Drop Charges In A Domestic Violence or Domestic Battery Case
(Diana Weiss Aizman, Esq.)
(Fulgham Law Firm)
6. How to Drop Charges Against Someone for Domestic Violence
(Gustitis Law)
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