Posted on May 14, 2021 in Domestic Violence
Arizona courts take domestic violence allegations seriously. The consequences of a domestic violence charge can be severe. In many cases, Phoenix courts issue restraining orders to protect victims of domestic abuse.
However, victims may not want to press charges, even after calling the police for help or petitioning for an order of protection. The victim may change their mind because of their relationship with the alleged abuser.
However, once the state files domestic violence charges, only the prosecutor has the discretion to drop the criminal charges. The prosecutor can move forward with the criminal case, even if a victim decides not to press charges.
After the arrest, a prosecutor can drop domestic violence charges if a victim is not cooperative. The prosecutor will consider all of the facts and circumstances of the case. For example, suppose the victim sustained a physical injury that is documented by medical evidence. In that case, the prosecutor may continue with the case because the alleged abuser could threaten the victim and others.
Likewise, if the alleged abuser has a history of domestic violence or other violent criminal charges, the prosecutor may decide that proceeding with the case is in the public’s best interest. If the victim tries to change their testimony at court, the prosecutor can use the 911 call or other statements made by the witness to prove the abuse. The prosecutor can subpoena a victim to testify if they are unwilling to appear in court.
On the other hand, if the victim did not sustain serious physical injury and the alleged abuser does not have a criminal record, the prosecutor could dismiss the charges. Verbal arguments and minor altercations between minors may also result in a dismissal of charges if the victim does not want to press charges.
A victim can drop an order of protection if they change their mind. Orders of protection are not criminal matters. Therefore, the prosecutor does not have a say in whether the victim drops or keeps the order of protection.
However, if a criminal case is pending related to the order of protection, any other court orders would remain in place. For example, if the judge released the defendant with the condition that the defendant does not contact the victim, that order would remain in effect. The victim could drop the protection order, but the defendant is still under a court order to stay away from the victim.
Domestic violence charges are serious. You could go to jail and face other consequences if you are found guilty. A domestic violence conviction can follow you for the rest of your life. It could even impact future custody cases and prevent you from working specific jobs.
Some domestic violence charges are not actually related to abusive relationships. An argument may have gotten out of hand, and a neighbor or other family member called the police. A family member may have been angry and called 911 when the situation did not warrant police intervention.
The problem is that once the police are involved, they often make an arrest. The police do not want to be in the position of leaving a vulnerable person in the home with a potential abuser. They err on the side of caution.
Some charges of domestic violence are false. A person may use false domestic violence charges to retaliate for a perceived wrong or gain an advantage in a family court matter.
Do not resist arrest, even if you did nothing wrong. Because the victim’s story could change, it is best to remain silent. Do not answer questions or make a statement without a domestic violence lawyer present.
You can help your defense attorney by writing down as much information as you can remember about the incident. Include details about the moments leading up to the incident and what the victim said before, during, and after the incident.
Compile a list of witnesses that can testify on your behalf and witnesses that the victim might call to testify against you. If you have texts, emails, or other messages from the victim related to the incident, give those to your attorney immediately.
Do not contact the victim. It is essential that you stay away from the victim and follow all conditions of your release.