How can I drop charges for interference with the reporting of domestic violence?

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How can I drop charges for interference with the reporting of domestic violence?

My husband is scheduled to appear in court on Monday for an arraignment for Unlawful Interference with the Reporting of Domestic Violence. When I filed the police report I didn’t understand the consequences. How do I withdraw the charges? My husband has struggled with addiction but has been doing well for nearly 2 years. During a recent relapse I wanted him to leave the house since he was under the influence. I called the police and since the event, my husband has been attending recovery meetings regularly. I called the officer that took the report and explained this and asked if I could drop the charges. He said it’s out of his hands and that my husband could go to jail for a year. The officer has talked with the States Attorney and they intend to send this to the Domestic Violence court. No one ever explained to me that these could be the consequences. I don’t see how taking my husband to jail and jeopardizing his job is going to help me or him.

Asked on December 17, 2010 under Criminal Law, Illinois

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First of all, a "victim" filed a criminal complaint; the prosecutor files charges.  Therefore, whether or not to drop the charges rests with the state and not with the complainant.  What that means, is that a case may be prosecuted over your objection.  The states case would be stronger with your testimony but if there is other evidence to support the charge the case may still go forward.

However, a skilled attorney may be able to use the fact that you do not want to cooperate to obtain a favorable result for your husband. Experienced legal counsel may be able to talk the prosecutor into dismissing the charges. You should be aware though that prosecutors can be unwilling to simply drop these types of cases.  The reason -  they do not want offenders to think that that if they can intimidate a victim and get away with what they have done.

Right now, your husband needs to consult with a criminal law attorney ASAP.


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