Can I drop domestic violence charges?

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Can I drop domestic violence charges?

My boyfriend and I were involved in a drunken altercation. Someone heard us arguing and called the police. I had a slight fat lip when the police arrived. My boyfriend is not an abusive person whatsoever. This has never happened before. He and I were both very intoxicated and I was being rough with him. He hit me in the lip with his elbow. The police put a warrant out for his arrest for domestic violence charges. I was very upset and intoxicated when I gave my statement to the police. I’d like to ensure the charges are dropped, but I’m not sure of how to go about doing so.

Asked on November 15, 2011 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

There is something that you need to understand - whether or not to drop a case (i.e. prosecute it) rests with the prosecutor and not with the victim. So your case may be prosecuted even if you object. While the state's case would be stronger if you cooperated, if there is other strong evidence to support the charge, the case can still go forward.  

However, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to use the fact that you do not want to cooperate to obtain a favorable result for your boyfriend. They may possibly even be able to talk the prosecutor into dismissing or educing the charges. Thathaving been said, prosecutors can be unwilling to drop these types of cases. They do not want offenders to think that they can intimidate a victim and can get away with this behavior.

Note: You should also be aware that if you are subpoenaed to testify at trial (if there is one), you must appear or risk being found in contempt of court.


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