Domestic assault in Missouri is a serious crime and also a very delicate situation for both parties involved. A common occurrence that can happen in domestic assault cases is that the victim will want to recant their statements or drop the charges against the defendant by either speaking with the police officer and the prosecuting attorney assigned to the case. Due to this situation, the question arises if whether or not the victim is, in fact, able to drop the charges against the defendant. The simple and most basic answer for this is, no. However, there are some instances when the prosecution or the police officer may drop the case. Additionally, there is also the chance that a claim may be dismissed by a judge.
If you’ve been charged with domestic assault, contact Missouri Legal to speak with a domestic assault attorney in Springfield, MO. Hiring an experienced attorney is the best chance you have at winning your case.
This article discusses why the victim of a domestic assault case is unable to drop the charges against the defendant as well as who has the power to either drop the charges or dismiss the case and in what specific situations this can occur.
Dropping Domestic Assault Charges is Not Up to The Victim
Typical domestic assault cases begin with a phone call to the police either by the victim or a witness which results in law enforcement officers showing up to the scene. At the scene, even if an arrest is not made, statements from the defendant, victim, and any other witnesses will be taken along with any evidence that is found. If the victim calls the police but doesn’t wish to press charges, they may have little say in the matter if the attending police officer believes that a crime was committed. In other words, if the officer believes that a crime has been committed, it is the duty of the police officer to report it because a crime has been committed against the State.
On the other hand, if the victim of a domestic assault case does wish to press charges and then wishes to drop the charges at a later date, they will most likely be unable to do so. This is because, in most counties and jurisdictions, prosecutors have a “no-drop” policy, meaning the prosecuting attorney will not drop the case at the request of the victim. Despite this policy, there are some circumstances, such as insubstantial evidence, that may cause the prosecuting attorney to drop the case.
Who Has The Power To Drop Domestic Assault Charges?
Once a crime has been committed against the state, it is up to the prosecution to determine whether or not to press charges even if the victim requests to drop the charges. Unless the prosecution believes there isn’t enough evidence to proceed with the case, in most cases, the prosecution will push forward with the charges. Only the police officer (before the case is filed) or prosecuting attorney is able to drop the charges against a defendant in a domestic assault case. Alternatively, some cases are dismissed due to the lack of substantiating evidence provided by either the prosecuting attorney and the domestic assault attorney in Springfield, MO. A criminal domestic case dismissal can only be done by a judge or prosecuting attorney.
In What Situations Would A Domestic Assault Case Be Dropped?
Apart from insufficient evidence for the alleged crime, there are other reasons why a prosecuting attorney in a domestic assault case might decide to drop the case. These include, but are not limited to:
- Inconsistent statements from the victim, defendant, or witnesses. The statements made by all parties during the time of the arrest or when the crime was allegedly committed, will all be taken by the police officer on site. If these statements are inconsistent with the written statement or if the comments do not match the physical injuries (if there are any). This may be reason enough for a prosecuting attorney to drop the case.
- The victim is not a credible source. This may happen in cases where the victim has been known to make false accusations in the past, suffers from a mental illness, or may have a motive to fabricate the alleged crime, such as a child custody battle.
- Lack of physical injuries. While the lack of physical injuries is usually not enough reason to drop the charges against the defendant, if the injuries are the main piece of evidence in the case, they may be enough. Similarly, if the lack or absence of physical injuries causes the statements from the victim to be inconsistent, this may be reason enough for a prosecutor to drop charges. Even if you believe a case against you will be dropped due to a lack of physical injury, it’s still important to discuss the specific circumstances of your case with a Springfield domestic assault attorney.
- Dismissal of Charges Letter. When criminal charges are placed against you, your domestic assault attorney in Springfield can compose a letter of Dismissal of Charges to the prosecutor. This letter is an attempt made by your defense team for the prosecution to either drop or dismisses the charges filed against you. In this letter, your Springfield domestic assault attorney will outline certain conditions and circumstances of the case that negate any evidence the prosecution believes that they have. Depending on the specific situation of each domestic assault case in Missouri, this may be enough for the prosecution to discontinue their case.
Hoping that the prosecution will drop the charges instead of getting a domestic assault attorney in Springfield, MO, to fight for you is never a good idea. For the best chance of getting the charges against you either dropped or dismissed entirely, call Missouri Legal to schedule a free consultation with us today.