In a domestic violence case, what if the victim wants to drop the charges?
The victim in a domestic violence case certainly has a right to request that the charges be dropped, but it’s also important to understand that the state of Florida is also considered a victim of the crime. Therefore, the state of Florida could also push forward with prosecution, even if the person that’s been identified as the victim doesn’t want to press charges. Now, having said that, the state still has to have a witness that’s willing and able to come to court and testify because the two things that they’re going to have to prove are that a crime was committed and that the defendant is the person that committed the crime. If they don’t have a witness that’s able to establish those two elements, most likely the state is going to have to dismiss the case.
So if we have a domestic violence client where the alleged victim wants to cooperate in getting the charges dropped, we’re going to meet with the alleged victim, we’re going to get a statement from them, and we’re going to put the state on notice that they don’t have a cooperative witness and that they need to do the right thing and dismiss the case. If they do, then that’s great. Then we can proceed to the next step of having the record expunged. But if the state refuses to step up and do the right thing, we’ll be prepared from day one to take your case all the way through trial.