Fri 08 Mar, 2024 Criminal Defense

Can Domestic Violence Charges Be Dropped?

Domestic violence charges can be dropped under certain circumstances. This article discusses the ways that domestic violence charges are typically dropped.

If you are facing domestic violence charges in New York City, contact Cody Warner, P.C. for a free consultation. We can assess your case to determine the best strategy to get your charges dropped.

Common Domestic Violence Charges

In New York, a domestic violence case involves criminal allegations involving family members or intimate partners. Some of the most typical domestic violence charges include:

These offenses have different degrees of severity. If you are unable to get your charges dismissed, the outcome of your case will depend on which degree of the offense you are facing.

For instance, Assault in the Third Degree is a common misdemeanor charge, and even people who are guilty can often avoid getting a criminal record and going to jail with an experienced criminal lawyer. However, Assault in the First Degree is a much more serious felony charge, and jail time often occurs unless your lawyer presents compelling arguments.

Who Controls Whether Domestic Violence Charges Are Dropped?

Many people think that the alleged victim can drop criminal charges.

That is not true.

In other words, the person who told the police that he or she was injured by the defendant cannot force the prosecution to drop the case.

The alleged victim can tell the prosecution that he or she wants the charges dropped. Sometimes, the prosecution will listen to the alleged victim and drop the charges. However, typically the prosecution will make its independent assessment of whether it thinks the defendant is guilty. If it thinks the defendant is guilty, it will usually move forward with the case, even if it is against the wishes of the alleged victim.

So, ultimately the alleged victim does not control whether the charges are dropped.

The only people who can drop the charges are:

  • the prosecutor
  • the judge
  • the jury

The prosecutor may drop the charges if it believes that it cannot prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Sometimes the prosecution may dismiss the case in the interest of justice.

The judge may drop the case if the allegations are legally insufficient or if there are procedural errors in the case.

The jury can effectively drop the charges if it listens to the evidence and reaches a verdict of not-guilty after trial.

Ways to Get Domestic Violence Charges Dropped

Evidence of Innocence

The easiest way to get domestic violence charges dropped is to have evidence of innocence. For instance, let’s say you have video footage of the incident showing that the allegations are false. In that scenario, you should be able to get your charges dropped, and the prosecutor should agree to dismiss the charges. If they don’t, then a jury will decide the case, and strong evidence of innocence makes its likely the jury will find you innocent.

Procedural Violations

Regardless of the merits of the case, domestic violence charges are sometimes dropped because of legal procedure. Some common reasons for dismissal are:

Sometimes multiple procedural issues exist. An experienced criminal lawyer can evaluate your case to make sure your case is handled strategically.

Need Help?

If you are facing domestic violence charges in NYC, contact Cody Warner, P.C. for a free consultation. We routinely handle domestic violence cases, and we can help you navigate your case.