Can the victim have the case dropped? 20 Answers as of October 09, 2010

I was one of two people who made amends after a domestic violence case. The victim no longer wants to the other person to be prosecuted. The victim wants to help the person charged in any way possible. Can the suspect have the victim contact the DA to drop the case?

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The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
As a victim you do not have the power to have the case dismissed however if you are unwilling to cooperate in the prosecution typically the DA will not go forward with trial.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/7/2010
Law Office of Cotter C. Conway
Law Office of Cotter C. Conway | Cotter C. Conway
Anyone charged with a domestic battery should be very cautious about advising the alleged victim to contact the DA about dropping the charges. Such action could result in more serious charges including the dissuading of a witness. And, more importantly, once domestic battery charges have been filed by the DA, it is no longer the victims decision whether charges will be prosecuted. Even when a victim recants her statement of abuse, the DA can still prosecute the case based on her prior statements to police. Although the victim should advise the DA that he or she is no longer interested in pressing the charges, that should never come from the person charged with the offense. Contact me for a free consultation.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 10/7/2010
Anderson & Carnahan
Anderson & Carnahan | Stephen Anderson
In Colorado a complaining witness may convey their wishes to the DA, however, the DA does not have to drop the charges.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 10/7/2010
The Law Offices of Robert A. Levine
The Law Offices of Robert A. Levine | Michael G. Levine
The State has charged the individual with the commission of a crime. It is not the victim versus the defendant, but rather the State versus the Defendant. The State will not necessarily dismiss a charge because the victim no longer wants the defendant to be prosecuted. Especially in domestic violence situations, it is not atypical for a victim to recant or inform the State that they do not want the individual prosecuted. The State however, will likely proceed against the defendant despite the victims wishes. That said, depending on the evidence the State has, a majority of the time, the victims cooperation is necessary to get a conviction. This is for informational purposes only and should not be understood to be legal advice.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 10/7/2010
Law Office of Jeff Yeh
Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
The victim can contact the DA, but it is entirely up to the DA whether to file charges or to dismiss something that has already been filed. Keep in mind that prosecutors deal with this situation everyday in DV cases, so chances are, you will need a lawyer to represent you in court, because the charge(s) will not be dismissed outright.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/6/2010
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    Law Office of Geoffrey M. Yaryan | Geoffrey M. Yaryan
    No, the victim cannot have the DA drop the case. However, under a specific code section the victim can refused to testify and may not be found in contempt and incarcerated. This would result in the case being dismissed if there were no other witnesses to the alleged domestic violence.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/6/2010
    The English Law Firm
    The English Law Firm | Robert English
    With respect to California law, the victim in domestic violence does not have the ability to drop the case. Once a crime is reported, there is a state interest in the proceedings. A victim of domestic violence may request, however, not to be protected by a restraining order.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/6/2010
    Law Offices of Ramona Hallam
    Law Offices of Ramona Hallam | Ramona Hallam
    Customarily, the victim is the"complaining witness." The District Attorney decides whether to charge a crime or not, based upon the strength of the evidence.If there is enough to convict, the charges will likely not be dropped. Some people advocate meeting with the DAs victim advocate to advance any legal or emotional theories regarding why the case should be dropped. It is difficult to tell whether the DA will be swayed. It is certain that a crime has been committed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/6/2010
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    The victim can recommend something to the DA, but the decision is still up to the DA as how to proceed. You cannot tell a witness not to cooperate or show up, that is a crime. You can get into trouble by tampering with a witness, offering a benefit, or threatening a witness. The witness cannot be told not to show or change their story. You need a lawyer to talk to the parties and wok things out in a legal fashion to protect all parties to a criminal action or you could get into a lot of trouble. Call me to discuss if you need a lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/14/2010
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    They can try, but the DA and police policy is to vigorously prosecute, over the objection of recanting victims. Too many victims are intimidated into recanting.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/13/2010
    Smith & John
    Smith & John | Kenneth Craig Smith, Jr.
    The victim can be persuasive in the decision to dismiss the case but the prosecution is not required to follow the victims wishes.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 9/11/2010
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    Not really. The victim most likely would not be able to have the case dropped.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/10/2010
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Only a prosecutor can charge a case and only a prosecutor can dismiss a case. Although the case is made weaker by a reluctant victim or witness, it generally will not result in an automatic dismissal. This is particularly true in cases of domestic assault.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 9/10/2010
    The Pakneshan Firm
    The Pakneshan Firm | Pezhman Pakneshan
    That depends on several factors. Most importantly, is there an active emergency protective (EPO) order to prohibit communication between the accused and the alleged victim? If so, any communication could be a violation of that EPO. One must also be cautious not to be accused and charged with Penal Code 136.1 (dissuading a victim or witness). That offense can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony.

    Other practical considerations for the DA is whether or not there was an independent third party witness who can be relied upon to testify. If the DA can prove the case without the victims testimony, perhaps they will proceed with the prosecution despite the victims reluctance to have the case proceed. In my opinion, the accused needs to get competent legal representation immediately. Domestic violence offenses are very serious charges.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/10/2010
    Law Office of John Stanko
    Law Office of John Stanko | John Stanko
    The victim technically cannot drop the case as the DA represents the state and the state is prosecuting. However, the victims desire to drop the case may assist in having it dismissed.

    No, the suspect cannot have the victim do anything. The victim must do what he/she wishes on her own accord. If it is ever intimated that the suspect told her to do or not do anything he could possibly be charged with dissuading a witness.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/24/2010
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