A lot of people misunderstand how domestic violence charges work. They often think that the victims — not the police — control what happens to their cases.
That’s not at all accurate. In reality, once an arrest is made and the prosecutor decides to move forward with charges, the case is in the state’s hands. The alleged victim has no say over whether the case proceeds or not.
So what happens if the victim recants? What if, for example, your spouse has a change of heart and calls the prosecutor to say that she exaggerated what happened, that she was angry when she accused you of actual violence or that she actually struck you first? Well, that won’t cause your case to be dismissed, either.
Victims of domestic violence often recant their claims. Sometimes, they simply feel guilty and blame themselves because their partner or spouse, possibly their child’s parent, now has a criminal case pending. Other times, they worry what will happen if their loved one is convicted — especially if that person is the household’s primary breadwinner. Still others bow to pressure from the accused (or the friends and relatives of the accused).
Prosecutors tend to be aggressive about forcing victims to testify in domestic violence cases — whether they want to cooperate or not. In addition, cases are usually bolstered by evidence like:
- Eyewitness statements about events
- Police reports from the scene
- Photographs taken of the victim’s injuries
- Medical records from the victim’s hospital treatment
Why is all this important to know? Well, if you’re facing domestic violence charges, you don’t want to make the mistake of violating the protection order that’s in place by contacting the alleged victim to ask them to recant their claims. Whether you do so directly or indirectly, you could soon find yourself facing new charges. It’s far smarter to work with an experienced defense attorney instead.