What happens if an alleged victim of domestic violence does not want to press charges?

I have a domestic violence charge against me with my niece who is 16. We have been to court once and it was posponed due to the judge being the arresting officer’s attorney in his own domestic violence case, so we requested a new judge. My niece my dad and my nephew were never sent a subpoena. Do they have to go to court and testify? If not, is there a chance that it will be dismissed? My niece has already told the district attorney that she doesn’t want me prosecuted but they are determined on taking it before the judge.

Asked on February 10, 2016 under Criminal Law, Alabama


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

First of all, it is not up to the alleged victim whether or not to press charges; it is up to the prosecutor. If there is other evidence to support a conviction, a domestic violence can proceed even without the cooperation of the alleged victim. While it would be easier with their help, the case can still move forward without it. In the event that the alleged victim does not show up to a court, this doesn't mean that the charges will be withdrawn and the case dismissed. Finally, if the victim is subpoenaed as a witness but they fail to show up to court, since they are violating a judicial order they can be held in contempt of court and an arrest warrant can be issued.

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