Can I drop the charges for domestic abuse? 52 Answers as of May 28, 2013

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Law Office of Michael E. Dailey
Law Office of Michael E. Dailey | Michael E. Dailey
No. The decision to file or to drop charges rests solely with the prosecutor. You may attempt to discuss the situation with the prosecutor but most will require a meeting with a domestic violence counselor or victim advocate before making a decision. Some jurisdictions have a no drop policy meaning that every case that is filed will have a disposition through court.
Answer Applies to: Missouri
Replied: 8/20/2012
Larry K. Dunn & Associates | Larry K. Dunn
Once a crime has been committed and reported a victim does not have the power to 'drop charges'. A prosecutor can consider a victim's wishes but only the prosecutor has the power to dismiss the charges. The State has a strong policy and obligation to pursue domestic abuse charges in order to protect victims even if the victims do not wish to pursue the charges which is not uncommon.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 8/20/2012
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
No, because you are not bringing the charges, the prosecutor is. You are only the victim/witness to the criminal act of domestic abuse.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/15/2012
Myles Hahn III Attorney at Law | Myles Hahn III
Discuss it with the States Attorneys Office, their victim advocate, or police department advocate if there is one.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 8/15/2012
Douglas M. Philpott, P.C. | Peter J. Philpott
Yes, but the prosecution must ultimately agree to dismiss the case.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    You don't actually bring the charges, so you can't drop them. The State brings the charges and you, as a victim, are a witness for the prosecution in the case filed. So, no you can't drop the charges without the prosecutor agreeing to dismiss.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    No. The prosecutor makes the decision on whether or not to drop charges. However your wishes/requests could or should factor into their decision.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    No! Once you file charges only the prosecutor charged with the case can request the court to dismiss the charges. Additionally, the Judge can deny the request of the prosecutor to drop the charges. A crime for domestic violence, or any other crime, is not a crime against the iddividual who is the victim, it is a crime against the peace and dignity of the state or municipality where the charge is brought.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Dennis P. Mikko Attorney at Law | Dennis P. Mikko
    Criminal charges are brought by the prosecuting attorney. It is within the sole discretion of the prosecuting attorney to decide if charges will be brought, continued or dropped. If you do not want charges pursued, you should speak with the assistant prosecuting attorney handling your case. In domestic abuse cases often the prosecutor will not drop charges even if the victim does not want to pursue charges.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
    The decision whether to prosecute a criminal case, or not to, is within the discretion of the District Attorney handling the case. You can talk to the D.A. and ask that the case be dropped, but if the D.A. wishes to proceed with the case, there is very little you can do about it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of Brian K. Wanerman
    Law Office of Brian K. Wanerman | Brian K. Wanerman
    Only the D.A. can bring or drop charges. You can certainly tell the D.A. that you are not eager to prosecute. But, that's up to him.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    No. Only the state can dismiss charges. Talk with the prosecutor in the case.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Conway Law Pllc.
    Conway Law Pllc. | B. L. Conway
    Oh that is tough one. It is the state's case. Do not give a statement to anyone or talk about this matter except your lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of James Gandy
    Law Office of James Gandy | James Gandy
    Though you may not wish to pursue the charges, it is not your choice. Criminal cases are considered public wrongs and, therefore, handled by the state. The District Attorney chooses whether or not to pursue a case. Because Domestic Violence can lead to more serious offenses, most D.A.'s do not drop these charges even when the victim is uncooperative or no longer wishes to pursue the matter.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Only with the permission of the prosecutor. You are not the person bringing the charges. It is the government and thye can continue with the charges no matter what you say. Sometimes they will stop the charges or change what the offer is based on your wishes; but they do not have to.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
    That depends upon the local State Attorney's office. Some do, but require you to attend a class before it can be dropped. I assume you are the victim.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
    If you are the victim you can go to court and ask for the charges to be dropped. You would not be required to testify against your spouse, but you must show up in court it would be better to have a separate attorney with you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    Maybe. The prosecutor does not have to agree. But, if you don't cooperate then they may not have a case without a confession.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of Ginger D. Adair
    Law Office of Ginger D. Adair | Ginger D. Adair
    No, you cannot drop the charges for a domestic abuse case. Once the charges have been filed, usually based on a police report, it is up to the City or State to determine whether charges will be filed, and if so, what they will be. You may be called to testify, should the matter go to trial. You can be required to testify, even against you will (*See*, Hostile Witness). The City or State may speak with you to gain your input as to the situation and may take your comments into account when determining what will be their recommendation as to a plea.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Jennifer L. Gottschalk, Esq. | Jennifer Gottschalk
    In New Jersey, you would be able to withdraw the civil Domestic Violence case, but only the prosecutor has the authority to withdraw any criminal charges relating to that.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    VALENTE SCHARG & ASSOCIATES | DEAN VALENTE
    You can certainly try but your success will depend on the judge's and prosecuting authority's willingness to permit it.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Thomas C. Brandstrader Attorney At Law | Thomas C. Brandstrader
    You can but in most places the state can proceed without a complainant.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Amber Lunsford, Attorney at Law | Amber Lunsford
    Unfortunately, no. A lot of people believe that as the victim of an alleged crime, they decide whether or not to "press charges." In fact, the District Attorney represents the People of the State of California. He or she does not represent any individual. Crimes are considered to be offenses committed against the State. As a witness, you may wish to consult an attorney about how to conduct yourself. If you are under subpoena, you do have to appear in court. However, the decision to charge a person with a criminal offense and whether to prosecute a person for the suspected offense solely belongs to the District Attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of Christopher G Humphrey PC | Christopher G Humphrey
    No, the DA can drop them.
    Answer Applies to: Wyoming
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    The Langsdale Law Firm, P.C.
    The Langsdale Law Firm, P.C. | Caleb Langsdale
    Once you make an allegation for domestic violence, and the state or city charges the defendant, you cannot "drop the charges." The reason is because the City or State is prosecuting the defendant in the interests of the community, you (the alleged "victim") is not actually charging and prosecuting the defendant. However, often, a victim will recant or refuse to participate as a witness in the prosecution of the defendant. This makes it more difficult for the state to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. However, the prosecuting entity case (but often doesn't) pursue sanctions or charges against the victim for recanting under oath or not honoring a subpoena to appear in court and testify.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Firm of Martin & Wallentine
    Law Firm of Martin & Wallentine | Jerry Lee Wallentine Jr.
    You can ask the prosecutor to drop the charges. However, it's the prosecutor's discretion. Hopefully, they will strongly considered your wishes.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Arneson and Geffen
    Arneson and Geffen | Mark Arneson
    You can't drop domestic abuse charges in Minnesota. However, depending on your injuries and whether an admission was made by the person charged, the state would need to have your testimony to secure a conviction.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of Gregory Crain | Gregory Crain
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 5/28/2013
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    No.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/28/2013
    James M. Osak, P.C.
    James M. Osak, P.C. | James M. Osak
    Once you file a police report it's up to the prosecutor to drop the charges or not . . . NOT you. You could even be charged with filing a FALSE police report. Think about that the next time you file any police report.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Natty Shafer Law
    Natty Shafer Law | Nathaniel Shafer
    Only the prosecutor has the power to drop charges, such as those for domestic abuse. However, if you tell the prosecutor your intentions known and make clear that you do not wish to testify, it is more likely the prosecutor will drop the charges.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Mace J. Yampolsky, LTD
    Mace J. Yampolsky, LTD | Mace Yampolsky
    You can try, but the state can prosecute without you, if they so choose.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    If you mean in a civil case, yes. If you mean in a criminal case, no.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    No, it's not up to an individual to "press" or "drop" charges. That's up to the prosecuting agency that has jurisdiction over the case. You can make your wishes known, but they can proceed with a case even if you don't want it to go forward.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    William L. Welch, III Attorney | William L. Welch, III
    While you can make your wishes known, whether to proceed is up to the state.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    You can try, but IF the police were called the state determines what they will do with the case.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    You can request that charges be dropped but the State or prosecutor has the option to go forward with the case or not.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    Yes, but due to the risk to police and to you in the future, you will likely need an attorney to accomplish this.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Offices of Mark L. Smith
    Law Offices of Mark L. Smith | Mark L. Smith
    The prosecution will permit it if you belly-ache enough. If the allegations are extremely serious the prosecution will proceed with the prosecution.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of James E. Smith
    Law Office of James E. Smith | James Smith
    No.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 5/28/2013
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    No you can't, unless you happen to be the District Attorney. DA's are trained to deal with recanting witnesses in DV cases. People reconcile and make up all the time. That alone won't get the defendant anywhere. That person needs to hire a good lawyer, and that's the only way to get out of this jam.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    Sorry, not likely to be able to drop the charges. The state is the one who brings the charges against the person, you are just the complaining witness.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Leonard A. Kaanta, P.C. | Leonard A. Kaanta
    You must talk with prosecutor, the charges are brough in the name of the of State of Michigan.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Clos, Russell & Wirth, P.C. | Gary A. Russell
    You can try, but the ultimate decision is up to the prosecutor in Michigan.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Buchholdt Law Offices | Jon M. Buchholdt
    That depends upon the laws of your jurisdiction regarding domestic abuse. If you were the victim in Alaska, yes, so long as no criminal assault charges have been made.
    Answer Applies to: Alaska
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    In Alabama some prosecutors will not drop charges. They have a hard time winning if the victim won't testify. They may come and get you or you could get in trouble for not going to court. Call the prosecutor and try to get charges dismissed. Do not let the person charged force you to drop charges.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Mary W Craig P.C. | Mary W Craig
    You can ask the DA to drop the charges, but that does not mean he or she will. Many DA offices have a no-drop policy because so often, spouses or significant others get into a fight, one calls the cops and makes charges of domestic abuse, then turns around and drops the charges. Several DAs have started bringing charges against the person who reported the abuse if he or she swore out a warrant, and I have seen judges arrest witnesses for perjury. You need to talk to your DA about your situation.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Sometimes, although once the charges are actually brought, dropping the is the choice of the prosecutor.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Tannehill, Carmean & McKenzie, PLLC | Jay P. Carmean
    In Mississippi, many times it is the arresting officer that files the actual charges, not the alleged victim. As a result, it is often up to the officer to agree to dropping the charges as well. That being said, in my experience the judge will agree to a dismissal in the event the alleged victim requests that the charges be dropped, that there is not a history of abuse and that the parties have reconciled.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    No. Only a prosecutor can press charges and only a prosecutor may dismiss charges.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/15/2012
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    You can try, but the DA can still prosecute without you testifying. So better be compelling reason to drop the charges to the DA.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 8/15/2012
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