In California, domestic violence is treated as a serious criminal offense with potential long-term implications. If you’re facing allegations of a domestic violence crime, you may wonder whether these charges can be dropped and what circumstances allow for this.

It’s also helpful to understand potential legal defenses to domestic violence charges in the case that your case is not dismissed. 

When Can Domestic Violence Charges Be Dropped?

Once an arrest for domestic violence is made in California, the decision regarding whether or not to continue with prosecution lies with the district attorney. 

The prosecutor can choose to dismiss the charges. However, both police officers making arrests and prosecutors handling cases tend to err on the side of caution when dealing with domestic violence cases because of their goal to prevent any potential harm against possible victims.

That doesn’t mean that charges are never dropped; they are sometimes dropped for the following reasons: 

Lack of Sufficient Evidence

Prosecutors have the burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is not enough evidence supporting the allegations, they may choose to dismiss the charges.

Recantation by the Victim

Victims sometimes recant or take back their initial statement, weakening the prosecutor’s case and sometimes leading to dropped or downgraded charges.

Inadmissible Evidence 

If core evidence has been gathered illegally (violating a defendant’s rights), it may become inadmissible. This could weaken or destroy a prosecutor’s case, leading to charges being dropped. 

Discretion of the Prosecutor

The prosecutor has discretion over the course of domestic violence charges. If they determine that carrying through with prosecution isn’t in sync with public interests like justice and victim safety, they can choose to drop them.

Plea Bargain 

Sometimes, plea bargain negotiations between your defense team and the prosecutor result in reduced penalties or even a dismissal, depending on the specifics of your case.

When facing domestic violence charges, it’s essential to work with an attorney to give yourself the best chance of having these charges dropped. 

A Victim Cannot Unilaterally Drop Domestic Violence Charges

When it comes to domestic violence charges, the alleged victim does not maintain control over the prosecution’s course of action. Once an arrest is made and a case has begun, it falls on the prosecutor, and victims cannot unilaterally drop charges on their own accord, despite this common misconception.

While victims can express their desire for dropped or reduced charges and choose not to cooperate by withholding testimony, they have no power over the decision to move forward with charges or not. 

The Importance of Hiring a Criminal Defense Attorney When Facing Domestic Violence Charges

If you’re facing domestic violence charges, it’s critical to hire a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Here’s why: 

Case Assessment 

Your attorney can quickly and accurately assess the strengths and weaknesses of a case against you, predicting possible outcomes that provide an understanding of what to expect. They’ll scrutinize the evidence and spot any violations of your rights by law enforcement to give you the best chance of having your charges dropped or obtaining a not guilty verdict.

Protection of Rights

Your defense attorney will ensure that your constitutional rights are upheld from start to finish, helping you avoid self-incrimination and ensuring you receive a fair trial. 

Negotiation Skills

Hiring an experienced attorney will also be advantageous for negotiations with the prosecutor. An attorney knowledgeable in domestic violence laws may be able to negotiate a plea deal with thе prosеcutor, potеntially leading to reduced chargеs or lenient sеntеncеs. 

Accеss to Rеsourcеs 

An еxpеriеncеd lawyer also has various rеsourcеs that arе critical to fighting your chargеs, likе privatе investigators and еxpеrt witnesses that could further strengthen your legal defense

Emotional Support

Facing accusations and chargеs of domestic violеncе can bе еnormously stressful and еmotional. A dedicated attornеy not only brings lеgal skills to your cornеr but thеy also offer much-needed еmotional support during a difficult timе. 

Lеgal procееdings can fееl overwhelming. By explaining thе procеss clearly and providing objective and competent advicе, an attornеy acts as a guidе through this difficult situation. 

Contact an Experienced California Domestic Violence Lawyer For Help With Your Defense

If you need help with a criminal charge, don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a free consultation with a California domestic violence defense attorney. 

For more information please contact the San Diego domestic violence attorneys at Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers for a free consultation, give us a call at (619) 357-4977 or visit our convenient location:

Blair Defense Criminal Lawyers – San Diego Criminal Defense Law Firm
255 Broadway, Ste 1740. San Diego, CA. 92101