Can avictim drop domestic violence charges?

UPDATED: Dec 25, 2011

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Can avictim drop domestic violence charges?

My husband was abusing me (verbally mostly) within 2 years of marriage. He started his rage by screaming and destroying our property (things inside the house). This last time I had enough and I was trying to call the police. He took cell phone while I was dialing 911 and broke it. Then he grabbed me on the neck and pushed me. He’s now charged with family assault and interfering with an emergency call. He asked me to drop the charges. He tells me that it in my interest since his lawyer told him that they will blame me in court and I can be charged with something. Is that true? I am a victim not him. What to do?

Asked on December 25, 2011 under Criminal Law, Texas


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First of all, a victim files a complaint; it is the prosecutor who decides whether or not to file charges. So you can't drop them even if you want to. Also, if you try to withdraw your complaint, it must still be investigated once made. If the prosecutor is of the belief that other evidence exists sufficient to obtain a conviction then the case will proceed, with or without your cooperation. Although the state's case would be stronger with it. The fact is that in these type cases, prosecutors are often very unwilling to simply drop them because they do not want to send the message to offenders that, if they can intimidate or otherwise unduly influence a victim, they can get away with what they have done. 

At this point, you have no choice but to wait to see what action the prosecutor decides on. You may also want to contact the prosecutor to let them know what is happening.

Note:  If you are subpoenaed to testify, you must show up or you can be held in contempt of court and risk jail.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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