Can a Domestic Violence Case Be Dropped in Georgia? A Comprehensive Guide
Can a domestic violence case be dropped in Georgia? Find out in this comprehensive guide from our top-rated criminal defense team.
Can a Domestic Violence Charge Be Dropped?
Unfortunately, domestic violence cases tend to be more common than what people would like to believe. However, it is critical to note that many family violence charges are dropped and never go to trial.
In some instances, a domestic assault case may be settled outside court, and the alleged victim and the defendant come together to request the prosecution to drop the case.
In other instances, the accuser may refuse to cooperate with the prosecution, or the prosecutor might not have sufficient evidence to prosecute the family violence charge.
Whatever the reason, it is critical to work with a skilled criminal defense attorney if you have a family violence charge. With their experience, they can help you find options to settle disputes outside the court and avoid harsher punishments such as jail time that may result from prosecution and conviction.
How Can a Domestic Violence Case Be Dropped?
It is usually very difficult to get such a case dropped regardless of the alleged victim’s cooperation. While family violence victims often ask the state to dismiss the charges, it is usually up to the prosecutor to decide whether to go forward or not.
In instances where the alleged victim has become uncooperative, the court may issue subpoenas to compel them to testify in court even if they are unwilling to do so.
If you have a family violence case brought against you, you should secure the services of a domestic violence lawyer as soon as possible. By working with an experienced lawyer from The Waltman Firm, you get the legal advice and representation you need to get favorable outcomes for your case.
How Can a Domestic Violence Case Be Dismissed in GA?
In most family violence cases, an intimate partner or spouse is usually not the one who calls law enforcement to the scene. Most of the time, the witness is a person or neighbor who hears a disagreement, who thinks they need to get involved.
While you and your partner might tell the police that there is no need to do anything, the police may still arrest and charge you with domestic assault. These are usually serious charges that could hugely impact your life.
It is very common for the alleged victim of the crime to be the one who bails you out as they may not believe themselves to be a victim or do not think your actions warrant a court case.
Given the alleged victim’s unwillingness to cooperate, they may try to get the state to drop the charges.
How to Drop Charges Against Someone for Domestic Violence
Under the law, the only people that can determine if there are grounds for a family violence charge are the law enforcement officers who report to the scene and the prosecutor who reviews the police report.
If the police officers believe a crime was committed, they will write a report and send it to the prosecutor even if the accuser says otherwise.
According to the law, victims of family violence can neither insist that charges are dropped nor ask the state to press charges. The accuser has no power to convince the prosecutors or the police to press charges.
Nonetheless, they can still play a massive role in your defense strategy, given that they can work with defense attorneys to present a version of events in court that shows a criminal act was not committed.
Domestic violence cases can be quite complex, which is why you require the services of a domestic violence attorney. A lawyer will provide you with the advice you need on the many options available to you. By working with the lawyers at the Waltman Firm, you can get the legal advice and representation you need in your case.
Common Reasons Domestic Violence Cases Are Dismissed
There are several reasons why prosecutors may decide to not prosecute family violence cases that include:
- Insufficient evidence – Prosecutors and defense attorneys will conduct investigations into the accuser’s case to determine if there is enough evidence to support a family violence charge. The critical things the police and prosecution will look into are the 911 call, the report by the responding police officer, and other evidence such as photo and video evidence, witness account, and cuts and bruises. The case may collapse if they cannot find sufficient evidence to hold up the alleged victim’s account.
- Inconsistencies in the Victim’s Story – The 911 call or the initial report will be what the prosecutors will be used as primary evidence to prove their story. The defense attorney can get the charges against the accused dropped if they can latch on to the inconsistency between the police report and the accuser’s account.
- Victim’s History of Making False Accusations- If the accuser is known for making false accusations, an attorney might question the accuser’s version of events. Combined with inconsistent or insufficient evidence, the attorney might get the case dropped in the preliminary stages.
- Uncooperative Victim – In many instances, the prosecution’s case hinges on the victim cooperating with the prosecution. Their testimony is what the prosecution has to build their case. If the alleged victim refuses to attend the trial or be interviewed as a witness, charges might be dropped.
- The Alleged Victim Convinces the Prosecution to Drop the Charges – Sometimes, the defendant and accuser may come to some sort of agreement. In rare cases, the victim’s testimony might implicate both of them, or they might agree that they were both responsible for the fight and hence decide to come to an agreement.
The experienced and skilled lawyers at The Waltman Firm know all the different options available if you have been charged with domestic assault. Using our years of experience, we will do our best to try to get your domestic assault charges dismissed.
When Are Domestic Violence Charges Dropped?
Under Georgia law, a person arrested and charged may get their case dropped by asserting immunity defense or self-defense based on getting involved to protect others.
Either defense will be available to you if you can prove that you were not the aggressor in the case. Moreover, as a response to the initial assault, the accosted person can defend himself.
This defense has been used in Georgia family violence battery charges as one can get the charges thrown out if they claim they were defending themselves or standing their ground.
The most common affirmative defense is self-defense. This is often successful if one can prove that their spouse has either a criminal record, a history of alcohol abuse followed by violent conduct, or incorrigible acts while drunk.
Using this as a defense strategy, one will need to find witnesses, including prior reports of police of disorderly conduct while drunk and accounts of neighbors, relatives, or children.
Similarly, self-defense may extend to standing up to an assailant attacking an elderly parent, child, or another household resident. This can be a valid claim if the intervention is suitably restrained to the extent of the situation.
How to Convince a Prosecutor to Drop Charges
It is impossible to know if a case will go to court before the case moves forward unless you consult with a lawyer. However, there are several things to do to get ready for a trial and protect your rights that include:
- Collecting Evidence – It is critical to collect any evidence, including records, documents, photos, and videos, that could prove your innocence or mitigate the charges if you are convicted.
- Have a Witness List Ready – If any witnesses could readily assert that you are innocent of the charges, you should have their contact information and names handy, even though you should not talk to them without having your lawyer present.
- Refrain From Talking to the Police, Witnesses, or the Accuser – While it may be tempting to try to talk to the accuser or the witnesses, it is not advisable as this may hurt your case. It is always prudent to let the accuser meet their lawyer and consult with yours before opening lines of communication.
- Secure the Services of a Lawyer – The most critical thing to do if you are charged with domestic assault is to work with a skilled criminal defense lawyer in Georgia.
If you are looking to get a domestic assault case dropped, you need to contact the Waltman Firm. We have experience representing clients for TPOs and restraining orders, among many other services. We may help you with your family violence case.
What Happens if I Drop Domestic Violence Charges?
Since domestic violence is a crime, it is not up to you to drop the charges. Most people mistakenly believe that the victim can drop the charges, but this is not the case, given that criminal charges are usually brought by the state and not the victim.
As such, since the victim did not bring forth the charge, they cannot drop it. The only party that can drop the charge is the state through the prosecutor’s office. Still, it is critical to remember that while the alleged victim cannot bring criminal charges, they still have an essential role in the proceedings.
The victim’s role in the case may include testifying against the abuser. It is important to note that the victim may refuse to cooperate with the prosecution, but this could have consequences such as being subpoenaed and being slapped with fines for being a hostile witness.
A victim may get a family violence charge dropped by changing their statement, which happens 80-90 percent of the time. While recanting could get the charges against the accused dropped, it could land one in hot water as you could face criminal charges for lying to the court and law enforcement.
A family violence situation can be emotionally challenging and confusing, so you need to secure the services of a criminal defense attorney. By working with a skilled and experienced domestic violence advocate, you can get the legal advice you need on the options available.
Contact The Waltman Firm if you have been charged with family violence, and we may be able to help you with your case. We have helped many clients who needed representation or to drop cases against their spouses. Call us today, and our domestic violence lawyer will provide all the legal advice you need.