How do I get the charges dropped in a domestic violence case ?
3 attorney answers
Neither you nor the victim can get your charges dropped. Only the DA can drop the charges.
And , in domestic violence cases, it’s very, very common for victims to recant their stories after charges have been filed. It happens all the time and DAs know exactly how to handle it.
Victims don’t have to come to court except to testify and sometimes not even then. (DAs lack victim testimony at murder trials, so why can’t they use similar techniques at other kinds of trials??) So the fact that the victim hasn’t come to court yet means nothing. It’s not unheard of for a victim to come to court a lot in a Domestic violence case, but mostly they only show up when subpoenaed which is only one or two times per case.
Periodically, a domestic violence victim fails to show for trial even when subpoenaed. But usually they do.
The good news is that jurors don’t like recanting victims and domestic violence cases with recanting victims have a good acquittal rate.
But DAs know all this and still feel duty bound to move ahead. They feel they know better than the recanting victims. And domestic violence victims have difficulty breaking the cycle of violence and go back to abusers over and over, so DAs think they are helping victims who don’t always want to help themselves.
As always, trial is a risk. If convicted, you are at the mercy of the court for sentencing. Your fate is completely in someone else’s hands. Or you and your attorney can take all the pros and cons of your case and work a deal that you can accept.
But don’t think a DA will dismiss a case because they have witness problems. They deal with witness problems all the time. It’s just a fact of life for them and they know how to overcome it (usually).
The worst thing you can do is to make a decision thinking you know the dynamics of a jury trial. You don’t. Domestic violence trials are some of the most common trials that occur and the DAs have a lot of experience with them. And your situation is very common. Talk to your attorney about all these dynamics.
Are you talking to your attorney about this? There are ways to expedite this process so your case is handled appropriately. If you are looking for private counsel, let me know -- I practice in Fresno and have tons of recommendations.
Sounds like you will have to go to trial. If the witness does not show up for trial then it gets harder for the DA but not impossible. If there are 911 tapes and other statements made during or immediately after the incident the DA will argue they are admissible under exceptions to the hearsay rule. Talk with your attorney. They know more than we do. If you are unhappy with them then hire a new one.
This answer does not establish an attorney client relationship. There is no confidentiality as it is posted on a public forum. The answering attorney does not have all the facts of the case.