Can I get the D.A. to drop domestic assault charges against my wife?

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Can I get the D.A. to drop domestic assault charges against my wife?

The police brought charges for domestic assault against my wife on behalf of me and my 16 year old daughter. We also have a 12 and 8 year old in the house. She is court ordered to stay away from the house and my daughter and myself until she goes to court. I want them to drop the charges and also drop the court order to keep her away so she can take care of the kids. Is this possible? Also, children’s services want to talk to my daughter about the incident. Do I have to let them?

Asked on August 9, 2011 Tennessee

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First of all, children's services has a great deal of discretion as to questioning children who may have been subject to domestic violence or related abuse. You will probably lose any fight to prevent them from interviewing your children.

As for the protective order and dropping the charges, that would not happen, at least just yet. The fact is that whether or not to prosecute a case (i.e. drop the charges) is a decision that rests with the prosecutor and not with the victim. Consequently a case may be prosecuted over a victim's objection.  Admittedly the states case would be stronger with the victim's testimony, but if there is other evidence to support the charge the prosecutor may still decide to go forward with the case.

Note: If you are subpoenaed you must appear in court. If you don't take the stand you can be held in contempt of violating the court's order.  Additionally, you take the stand you cannot "plead the 5th" unless your answer would incriminate you in the crime. Failing to either appear or to answer questions can result in your being held in contempt of court.


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