In a domestic violence situation, if the victim does not want to press charges but the state does, is there anything that can be done dismiss the case?

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In a domestic violence situation, if the victim does not want to press charges but the state does, is there anything that can be done dismiss the case?

My son age 19 and his girlfriend age 18 who both live with us had an argument. It got physical on both sides and the girlfriend called her mother who then called the police. Girlfriend didn’t want the police involved but it was too late at that point. The police came and took him to jail and took her statement. She did not press any charges but the state Ohio is. Trial is set for next week. He has a public defender who is doing nothing as far as I can tell. We/he cannot afford an attorney. He is facing up to 6 months in jail, plus fines etc. We feel completely helpless at this point and don’t know what to do. Someone mentioned to us that the girlfriend can sign an affidavit saying that she doesn’t want to press any charges, however the public defender hasn’t mentioned anything about this to my son.

Asked on January 10, 2018 under Criminal Law, Ohio

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that it is up to the state and not the alleged victim as to whether or not to bring charges. The fact is that even without his girlfriend's cooperation, if there is enough other evidence sufficient enough to get a conviction, then the case can still move forward. Further, in domestic violence cases, many times when the victim attempts to dispute that any violence actualy occurred, the prosecutor can introduce conflicting evidence, namely the victim's own previous statements. At this point, your son really needs to consult with his attorney.

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that it is up to the state and not the alleged victim as to whether or not to bring charges. The fact is that even without his girlfriend's cooperation, if there is enough other evidence sufficient enough to get a conviction, then the case can still move forward. Further, in domestic violence cases, many times when the victim attempts to dispute that any violence actualy occurred, the prosecutor can introduce conflicting evidence, namely the victim's own previous statements. At this point, your son really needs to consult with his attorney.


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