What to do when charged with domestic violence but victims don’t want to press charges?

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What to do when charged with domestic violence but victims don’t want to press charges?

My wife and I got into an argument and her 16 year-old daughter came in to see what was going on. She saw that her mom was crying, so she thought that I did something physical to her mom.. Then she came after me and started hitting me in the face and the head. I pushed her away from me but she came after me again. I pushed her away but this time she lost her balance and hit her hand on the wall. It swelled up so she went to the ER. Now I’m facing 2 misdemeanor domestic assault charges and I have a no contact order. However, neither  my wife or her daughter want charges filed. Should I speak with a criminal law attorney? In Redwood County, MN. 

Asked on November 9, 2010 under Criminal Law, Minnesota

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

A victim makes a criminal complaint, they do not file not charges.  What many people don't understand is that the decision whether or not to prosecute a case (that is, to drop charges) rests with the prosecutor and not with the victim.  What that means, is that a case may be prosecuted over a victim's objection.  The states case would be stronger with their testimony but if there is other evidence to support the charge the case may still go forward.  However, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to use the fact that they do not want to cooperate to obtain a favorable result for you.  A skilled lawyer may be able to talk the prosecutor into dismissing the charges. 

Note:  You should be aware though that prosecutors can be unwilling to simply drop these types of cases; they do not want offenders to think that that if they can intimidate a victim, they can get away with what they have done.


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