Written by Jonathan Breeden
Disagreements and misunderstandings are common between spouses, partners, and family members. When an argument blows up, the cops may be called. Some of these situations end up with someone walking away in handcuffs and receiving a criminal charge for domestic violence.
You might wonder if you can drop domestic violence charges. While changing your influence on the situation is possible, getting criminal charges dropped completely can be difficult.
In North Carolina, domestic violence involves a crime against a household member, current or former spouse, dating or sexual partner, child or grandchild, or any child under a person’s care. In many cases, a person will be charged with the underlying crime (such as assault) and domestic violence.
There are many reasons a person might want to drop domestic violence charges, including:
Regardless of the purpose of dropping charges, you have a valid right to retract what you said or clarify what happened.
In a criminal case, the State of North Carolina brings charges against a defendant (the person accused of the crime). A person does not file criminal charges against another person.
Thus, only the government drops charges. However, that does not mean that you cannot have any influence over how the case proceeds.
Many domestic violence cases go forward because the prosecutor wants to help the “victim.” If a domestic violence victim decides they want the charges dropped, they must inform the government immediately.
You should make a written request to the prosecutor to drop the domestic violence charges against the accused. You may explain the situation and make an official statement clarifying what happened. You may also indicate that you would like to retract any damaging statements about the individual.
You do not have to explain why you want the charges dropped. However, you can provide a vague explanation involving misunderstandings. You should never say that you lied. However, you could explain that you did not fully understand what was happening due to your own emotional state.
There is no guarantee that the prosecutor will drop domestic violence charges even if the alleged victim retracts damaging statements. In some cases, the person accused may be considered dangerous, and the prosecutor may want to proceed with the charges.
However, you will remove a large part of the prosecution’s evidence by retracting your statements and clarifying what happened. Without that evidence, the government may be forced to drop the charges if they are otherwise unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed domestic violence.
If domestic violence charges are not dropped, you have two choices.
You can remain silent and allow the case to proceed. This would force the prosecutor to obtain other evidence that domestic violence occurred. You can refuse to make additional incriminating statements if the prosecutor requires your testimony.
You can also offer supporting testimony to the defense – the person who was accused. The defense attorney could put you on the stand and ask you to clarify what happened.
You should be careful about what you say if you want the individual to be found not guilty. Make sure you are thoroughly prepared before testifying, though. The prosecutor could question you and scrutinize what you say.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a domestic violence situation, you should have a legal professional on your side. If you want to get the charges dropped, you may be in for a complex process. Breeden Law Office understands that you have many difficult decisions. We can help you understand your rights and assist you in making the best decision possible.