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Domestic violence charges: Can they be withdrawn?

If you are charged with domestic violence, can your alleged victim withdraw the charges? The short answer is no. Domestic violence is a criminal offense, and while the victim may have been asked, "Do you want to press charges?" and answered, "Yes," the charges were actually filed by the state. Therefore, the charge is for breaking the law -- not for assaulting or injuring the proposed victim.

If a victim of domestic violence wants to be compensated for injuries or suffering he or she believes you inflicted, he or she must file a civil suit. However, many times a proposed victim will see the situation in a different light after a conflict is over. At the time of the incident, he or she may have been angry and wanted to see you suffer consequences. In conflicts, people also speak out of emotion, and not the reality of the situation. Perhaps the incident was their fault and they know they provoked you to violence, or you were acting in self-defense, fending off their violence.

Whatever the reason, while the alleged victim is unable to drop the charges, they can retract their statements regarding the domestic assault charge. However, it is still up to the prosecuting attorney to decide whether charges are withdrawn or not. Remember, it is the state that filed the charges for the proposed criminal offense and not the alleged victim.

Charges filed in domestic issues can be complicated, so if you are charged with such, you should seek legal counsel. Between you, your attorney and in some cases, the alleged victim, you may be able to get the prosecutor to withdraw the charges or curtail the consequences.

Source: FindLaw, "Can the Victim Drop Domestic Violence Charges?," accessed Oct. 07, 2015

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