You may have seen movies where someone is spared arrest or trial because the victim drops the charges. While this is a common scenario on film, the truth is more complicated—especially in domestic violence cases. Certain crimes are considered to be against the state rather than the person, so the alleged victim doesn't have the power to drop the charges. If the state prosecutor has filed charges, your best chance at getting them dismissed is to work with an experienced domestic violence defense attorney.
Asking an Accuser to Drop the Charges Might Hurt Your Case
Abusers don't just hold physical influence over their victims; they could also use their financial position or emotional hold on a victim to get them to change their story after an attack. For this reason, the State of Florida removes the burden of pressing charges from the victim and grants it to the prosecutor.
Even if the alleged victim in your case could be persuaded into excusing abusive behavior, asking them to defend you might do more harm than good. Instead of dropping the case, you could unknowingly:
- Add to the evidence against you. Florida prosecutors and judges are highly protective of alleged victims during an active investigation. If you send a text, email, or phone call to an alleged victim asking them for help, the state prosecutor might use this as evidence of threatening or pressuring the victim.
- Violate an injunction. Attempting to contact the alleged victim could violate a temporary injection or no-contact order, adding to the potential penalties you face.
- Have bail denied. Any attempt to influence, threaten, or even contact the alleged victim could be cause to deny you bail and require you to remain in custody until the hearing.
The Accuser Is Only One Part of the Evidence Against You
If you were falsely accused of domestic violence, the alleged victim could ask to recant their statement to the police. However, giving false testimony to an officer is also a crime, so the alleged victim could face charges of their own—and even if the victim recants their statement, the prosecutor is still free to pursue the case.
On the other hand, there are a few factors that could reduce the penalties you face, including:
- A victim's affidavit. The alleged victim has no control over the case's prosecution, but they can file an affidavit stating their wishes. Input from an alleged victim can influence the prosecution on which charges to file or recommendations for sentencing.
- Mutual accusations. Fights between family members can spiral into domestic violence cases where each party blames the other. While police officers are encouraged to arrest the primary aggressor if they arrive at a scene where domestic violence is likely—or an incident has already caused physical injury to a household member—it's up to the police at the scene to decide which party is most dangerous.
- Evidence in your favor. The best way to fight a false accusation of domestic violence is for your attorney to present evidence that supports your version of events, such as camera footage or witness testimony. Your attorney could also make motions to suppress the prosecution's evidence if it was taken illegally.
The Different Ways to Avoid a Domestic Assault Conviction
There are many points along the criminal process where you could potentially avoid conviction. You might be arrested for domestic violence, but that does not necessarily mean the state will file charges against you. If charges are filed, your attorney may be able to get them dropped or reduced to lesser crimes. Finally, a domestic violence defense attorney can investigate the case, interview witnesses, and submit the necessary evidence to support a not-guilty plea.
If you plead guilty to a domestic violence charge, your criminal record can never be sealed or expunged—meaning the stain on your reputation will follow you for the rest of your life. Board-certified criminal trial attorney Robert David Malove provides aggressive defense services and affordable payment plans to defendants whose lives hang in the balance. Contact us online or call us today at 954-861-0384 for a free consultation on your case.