Domestic Violence case against sibling, sibling doesn't want to press charges, pay to get a lawyer or no?

Asked over 1 year ago - Madison Heights, MI

My boyfriend is being charged with Domestic Violence case against his brother. It was a simple fight against brothers(ages 23 and 21) that got blown way out of proportion. Mother called cops because she was nervous. The prosecutor decided to pick up the case. The brother does not want to press any charges and didn't sign any paperwork the police wanted him to when the fight happened. This is the first time my boyfriend has ever been in trouble with the law; not even a simple traffic ticket. Been employed for 3 years with a great, respectable job. Is a lawyer really needed in this case?

Attorney answers (7)

  1. Brian Joseph Prain

    Contributor Level 7


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . In the words of Mick Haller from The Lincoln Lawyer, "don't kid yourself. The state is not going to drop these charges. My sub-concentration is on DV cases, and you should read several of the blog articles I have that are directly on point.

    The bottom line: the brother is just a "witness.' He does not control whether charges are continued or not. In-fact, I'd say in about 80% of Michigan DV cases, the so-called victim doesn't want to press charges. Most calls I get are from the alleged victim wanting to know what they can do to get rid of the charges. They will continue the charge whether the brother wants it or not. If he doesn't show-up for a Trial after having been Subpoenaed, that's another story, but even that won't result in a dismissal with prejudice.

    On the other hand, the prosecutor will know they are fighting an uphill battle if the alleged victim is now claiming that their original story was a lie or an exaggeration. Still, though, they won't drop the charges. Prosecutors have a book called the Domestic Violence Trial Book, and it trains them how to get a conviction even after the alleged victim has recanted their original accusation.

    Unfortunately (or fortunately, perhaps), other than the fact that this is two brothers, rather than a male and a female in a relationship or married, there is nothing unique about this Domestic Violence case. I would get a lawyer and fight this case like any other criminal charge. Domestic Violence in Michigan is just a variation of Assault based on who the victim is. The "Blog" link is on the upper right-hand corner of my site. All your questions are answered in detail there.

    - Brian J. Prain, Michigan Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer - (248) 763-0641

  2. Howard M Lewis


    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyers agree


    Answered . Most likely if the brother/victim will not testify and there is not other indep proof the case will be dismiessed.

    Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to... more
  3. Scott Matthew Aaronson


    Contributor Level 13


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Absolutely. Just because the brother doesn't want to prosecute does not mean that prosecutor will give a deal or dismiss. Ultimately it is the states decision. There are also situations where they can proceed without the brother's testimony. Your brother can also get in trouble for not showing up to court.

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  4. Gary Francis Kennedy II

    Contributor Level 11


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your boyfriend needs to hire an attorney as soon as possible. The Prosecutor is not going to drop the charges. Most attorneys, including myself, give free initial consultations. Make sure he at least talks to an attorney.

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  5. J. Matthew Catchick Jr.


    Contributor Level 16


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes! Especially if your boyfriend wants to try and get the case "dropped." To effectively do so, your boyfriend's brother should retain his own separate counsel to try and "convince" the prosecutor he will be an "unavailable" or uncooperative witness. Please note this particular strategy is aggressive, and should ONLY be done with BOTH your boyfriend and his brother having their own separate and independent counsel. Your boyfriend also has the option, depending on his criminal history, to plead "under advisement" (per MCL 769.4a), however he will then have to pay a fine and be on probation and probably take anger management counseling. Warmest regards, Matt Catchick.

  6. Tracy Torni Gaudenzi

    Contributor Level 12


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes, he should definitely seek the assistance of an attorney. Your boyfriend has everything to lose...his clean record, his character, his relationships, and potentially, his employment.
    The fact that the brother did not sign the paperwork, and the prosecution still charged your boyfriend is an indication that the case will move forward. The mother is a witness (and made statements to the police during the phone call), and the city can attempt to compel the brother to testify. An attorney may be able to work out a resolution and/or explanation that will satisfy the prosecution and your boyfriend.
    Good luck.

    My answer to this question is for general informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client... more
  7. Charles K. Kenyon Jr.


    Contributor Level 19


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Yes. This charge, and certainly a conviction for it can have lifelong consequences.

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