Will My Domestic Violence Case Be Dismissed If My Spouse Wants to Drop The Charges?
I have been asked this question by many people over the years. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer as it really depends on several important factors.
First, it depends on the jurisdiction where the arrest occurred and how aggressive the State Attorney Domestic Violence Unit is in that county.
Second, it depends on what the alleged injuries are in the case and if there has been any history of prior violence including calls to the police or other arrests or disturbances. If the alleged incident involves a push or touching without any injury, the accused may stand a greater chance of getting that case dropped versus a situation where there is an allegation of punching or choking and the victim has bruising or sustained bleeding from the incident.
A third factor that could induce the prosecutor to drop charges may arise if the victim fills out a “drop charge” affidavit. In some minor cases, if the victim does not want to pursue the charges, the State Attorney may decide not to file or proceed on the charges. The prosecutor evidences their intent by filing a “Notice of No Information” on the case. In essence, the Prosecutor is not filing information or charges on the matter.
A fourth factor is the lack of cooperation on part of the victim. If the victim does not respond to the Prosecutor or Victim Advocate or refuses to come to court and testify, the State may also contemplate dropping the charges. However, a victim under subpoena should never be counseled to blow off the mandatory court appearance as that can be construed as witness tampering and subject to a felony arrest.
Finally, the State of Florida may file on some Domestic Violence cases, but offer a Pre-trial Diversion program wherein the defendant has to perform certain obligations such as counseling and community service. In exchange, the prosecutor will drop the charges once the accused has met all of the conditions.
At the end of the day, many factors come into play and a criminal lawyer that handles domestic violence cases can help navigate a person through difficult situations like this.