Can the Alleged Domestic Violence Victim Drop the Charges? (2023)

If you have been identified as a victim in a domestic violence case, you probably do not need your own attorney if the crime occurred as alleged, you have made truthful statements to the police, and you want the accused to be prosecuted for the crime.

If the defendant pressures you to drop the charges, that behavior could constitute another crime known as "witness tampering."

If you feel unsafe in your home and are concerned that additional violence may occur, you may need to apply to the court for a civil "protection order" against domestic violence, dating violence, repeat violence, or stalking violence.

But what if you don't need help and just want the charges dropped immediately?

Not everyone who is identified as a "victim of domestic violence" actually feels like a victim. Some people are not afraid and do not need help from the prosecution or the court system. An injustice occurs when the voice of the alleged victim is not heard.

The remainder of this article addresses the problems that arise when the alleged victim wants the charges dropped and that decision is made voluntarily, without threats or coercion from the person accused of the crime, their family or friends.

The alleged victim could tell the officer at the scene that they don't want anyone arrested. Or the alleged victim might decide that they do not want the charges to be prosecuted in the days or weeks after the arrest.

Attorneys at the Sammis law firm in Tampa, FL are frequently contacted by the individual identified as a victim in a domestic violence case with questions about how to have the charges dropped.

Sometimes the alleged victim wants us to help them through the process so that their wishes are known and their rights are protected at every stage of the case, especially in cases of domestic violence.

Because this creates a conflict, one lawyer cannot represent both the accused and the alleged victim. Everyone needs their own lawyer. Our lawyers have represented both men and women in such cases.

Note that this information does not constitute legal advice. Criminal defense attorneys have very important ethical considerations whenrepresenting the victim of a crime. These ethical considerations are far too complicated to fully discuss in this article.

But the bottom line is that sometimes the alleged victim needs their own attorney to ensure their interests are protected.

Attorneys for Victims of Domestic Violence in Tampa, FL

A criminal defense attorney is often in the best position to explain a victim's rights and the consequences that may come with trying to exercise those rights. For example, in one case, a witness might choose to "take the fifth" so that they are not prosecuted for a false police report.

We believe that information should be made available to the alleged victim if requested. The alleged victim may need their own attorney to explain each of their options so that an informed decision can be made.

Law enforcement officials and prosecutors often adopt a “hide the ball” approach when dealing with an individual who has been identified as a victim in a domestic violence case. Finding your own legal counsel can often help you make the best decision about how to proceed.

For more information on hiring a lawyer, please call TelDomestic Violence Attorneys in Tampa, FL, at the Sammis Law Firm.

Phone call(813) 250-0500.

Why does the alleged victim need his own lawyer?

If you are identified as a suspected victim in a domestic violence case, you have several options, including:

(Video) Will A Prosecutor Drop Charges If A Domestic Violence Victim Recants?

  • Proceedings without a lawyer in cooperation with the prosecutor or defense counsel; or
  • Hire your own attorney who can help you decide the best course of action.

Recently, prosecutors across Florida have been more aggressive, threatening to charge the plaintiff witness with making a false report to a law enforcement officer under Florida Statute 837.05. In some of these cases, the prosecutor actually carries out this threat.

If you have been threatened by a prosecutor after exercising your rights, call us for help. Over the years we have taken these cases on onepro bonowhen the alleged victim is penniless and cannot afford to hire their own lawyer.

If you made a statement to the police about the incident and that statement was NOT true and accurate, then you should be very careful about giving a second statement to the judge, the prosecutor, a victim/witness counselor or anyone else without your make your own statement Lawyer at your side.

You have the right not to incriminate yourself. At the same time, you have an obligation to ensure that another person is not unjustly prosecuted or unjustly convicted. We can help you find the best way to solve the problem.

You have the right to be represented by a lawyer at any stage of the proceedings if you wish.

Can you be accused of making false statements?

Most of the time, the victim doesn't even get a copy of the police reports or recorded statements, so they have no idea if the police or prosecutors could claim that their statements contradict each other.

As an alleged crime victim, you are also entitled to a copy of the police reports and other information in the case before you decide to testify.

It is particularly important to speak to your own attorney if you choose to provide a voluntary written statement and are concerned that it may conflict with a previous statement.

The most important thing is to ALWAYS tell the truth when you decide to speak up, but if telling the truth could get you in trouble, you can exercise your legal right to remain silent. You could choose to exercise your right to remain silent if the statement could incriminate you.

The bottom line is that the prosecutor will have a very hard time proving the allegations beyond reasonable doubt if you don't believe you are a "victim." Everyone in the system should understand and consider your wishes.

If you make a statement, you certainly have the right to say that you do NOT wish to pursue the prosecution and the reasons why you feel that way.

Working with the defendant's defense attorney

If you don't want to hire your own attorney, you can contact the criminal defense attorney for the person accused of domestic violence to express your will instead of going to the prosecutor's office.

Although the criminal defense attorney is not representing you, you both have a common goal to have the charges dropped.

If you provide the defendant's defense attorney with a written statement setting out your position, the defense attorney may present this form to the prosecutor and use it to attempt to drop the charges.

Many criminal defense attorneys have their own forms that they allow the alleged victim to fill out on a voluntary basis.

The criminal defense attorney will instruct his client NOT to discuss the case with you at all. In most of these cases, blocking contact will absolutely prevent the defendant from contacting you for any reason.

Regardless of what the court orders, it is never a good idea for the defendant and the alleged victim to discuss the facts of the case during the indictment.

If the no-contact clause has been entered in the case, you should not attempt to contact the accused. Although the no contact provision does not specifically prohibit you from doing anything, you should respect legal process sufficiently to comply with the judge's order that the parties have no contact until the case is resolved.

(Video) Can your wife / girlfriend / spouse / ex drop domestic violence charges against you?

You can also ask the defendant's attorney to petition the court to have the no-contact provision lifted. Or, you can hire your own attorney to file a request to have the no contact rule lifted.

Summons to the "invest appointment" at the public prosecutor's office

In some cases, you may receive a letter from the Victim Assistance Program at the District Attorney's Office at 419 N. Pierce Street in Tampa, FL.

The letter includes the defendant's name, case number, and department to which the case is assigned. The serial letter provides:

A report has been filed with law enforcement listing you as a victim. Before action (prosecution) can be taken, it is important that you come to our office to discuss the matter. The enclosed subpoena gives you information about the date, time and place of your planned appearance.

The Prosecutor's Victim Support/Domestic Violence Program was established to provide comprehensive services to victims of crime. We are available to help you through the criminal process and with any issues you may have as a result of this crime. You can also find the brochure Information for Victims of Crime on our website.

If you are unable to show up at the agreed time or have any questions about our services, please contact our office.




You may also receive a "witness subpoena" that includes:



Visitors to the Attorney General's Office MUST present a valid photo ID to receive a visitor badge

INVESTIGATION 2019-0000000





(Video) Can A Victim Of Domestic Assault Drop The Charges?

Service of this subpoena is requesting you to appear to testify truthfully in a pending and undetermined matter being investigated by the office of Andrew H. Warren, Attorney, 13th Circuit. You must appear at the location, date and time specified below.

VAP CONSULTANT: ____________

DATUM: ______________


ADDRESS: Attorney's Victim Assistance Office, 419 N. Pierce St., 3rd Floor, Tampa, Florida 33602-4022

Failure to comply with this subpoena may result in a penalty from the court.


DATED, on this __ day in September 2021.


Typ: SAO (CF)2 (CJ)3 (CT)5 (CM)8

Release Date: TS PL CN NP OT
Witness: mileage jc

File an Affidavit for the Victim of Domestic Violence in Hillsborough County

We recently received a form provided by the district attorney's office to a victim of a domestic violence case in Hillsborough County. These forms are used in both the Tampa and Plant City offices.

Although the form states that it should only be completed by prosecutors or the victim's attorney, the alleged victim could choose to write their own affidavit and submit it to the prosecutor's office or the defendant's criminal defense attorney.

The standard template for filing a domestic violence affidavit in Hillsborough County is as follows:







I, ________, the complainant in the above matter, swear or certify that I am asking the prosecution to discontinue this case for the following reason(s): __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.

With respect to the following four paragraphs, you must initial each one to indicate complete understanding.

_____ I am applying for this voluntarily. No threats or promises were made to get me or any member of my family or friends to make this request.

_____ I hereby release the Attorney General's office, its staff and the Assistant District Attorneys from any legal liability that may arise as a result of the Attorney General's compliance with this request.

_____ I have been told that domestic violence is rarely an isolated incident; it increases in frequency and severity, often leading to death; and that defendant is likely to act violently against me without intervention and/or prosecution.

_____ I fully understand that this is just a request from me. Only the prosecution decides whether or not to bring charges, and the signing of this document does not absolve me or the defendant from participating in any scheduled court hearings.


________________Name printed clearly


State of Florida / County Hillsborough

Signed and sworn (or certified) before me on this __ day of ____, 20__.

from _______________________ (name of person making the declaration)

_________________________(Signature of the notary)

_________________________(Name of notary in block capitals, type or stamp)

[ ] Known personally [ ] Produced identifier [ ] Type of identifier

Victim Counselor Notes: ________________

Statistics on Victims of Domestic Violence in Florida

According to the Florida Senate BILL ANALYSIS AND FISCAL IMPACT STATEMENT prepared by the Professional Staff of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services for SB 1598 dated February 21, 2022, data from 2000 through 2018 showed about 26 percent of women were impacted have been subjected at least once in their life to physical or sexual violence by a current or former husband or male intimate partner.

(Video) Can A Domestic Violence Victim Drop Charges and Recant Their Statement?

The report also cites a national study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showing that approximately 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime, including sexual violence, physical violence or stalking.Seethe cdc,The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2015 Data Brief - Updated publication, p. Nov. 7
2018, available at The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2015 Data Brief – Updated Release ( (last accessed January 19, 2022) (hereinafter referred to as the “CDC Study”).

This article was last updated on Thursday December 15th, 2022.


How do most domestic abuse cases end? ›

The vast majority of domestic violence defendants are first time offenders who have never been arrested before and are facing their first blush with the criminal justice system. Although it may seem very confusing, frustrating and stressful to go through the process most cases end with a dismissal of all charges.

Can you drop assault charges in Michigan? ›

Unfortunately, once the charge is in place, the prosecutor is the only one who can drop it.

How do I drop a no contact order in Iowa? ›

You can do this by filing a “Request to Cancel of Change a Protective Order.” This form is available for free on the Iowa Judicial Branch website at:, under the tabs “Domestic Abuse or Violence” and “Sexual Abuse” or at the clerk of court's office.

Can a victim drop charges? ›

A victim does not have the power to drop charges. Charges are brought by the prosecutor, upon recommendation of a police officer.

How do I dismiss a DV case? ›

The domestic violence case can be quashed by the apex court when the wife filed an vague allegations domestic violence case or the husband has all appropriate evidence to prove his quashing case by telling the apex court that all allegation is false and vague in nature by producing the supporting evidence.

Can you drop charges against someone before court? ›

Although you may have been arrested or investigated by the police for a criminal offence it does not necessarily follow that you will be charged. In fact, with an experienced criminal defence solicitor on your side, the charges may be dropped before the court date.

How do I get charges dropped before court date? ›

There are two main ways charges against you may be dropped:
  1. Formal acquittal. ...
  2. Discontinuance. ...
  3. Lack of evidence. ...
  4. Evidence against you was illegally obtained. ...
  5. The prosecution is not in the public interest. ...
  6. To buy time to prepare for a later trial.
Jul 20, 2021

What happens if charges are dropped before court? ›

What happens if charges are dropped before court? If the CPS decide to drop the sexual offence charges against you because the prosecution have offered no evidence in court, you will be formally acquitted.

What is one reason prosecutors may decide to dismiss cases? ›

Inadequate Proof of Guilt

The evidence must show that you are guilty of the offense for which you are being prosecuted. For this reason, your charges may be voluntarily dropped before trial if the prosecution determines there is inadequate evidence to proceed with a case against you.

What happens if the victim violates a no contact order Iowa? ›

Violation of No Contact Order in Iowa

If the court finds you violated the orders, you can face anywhere from seven days to 180 days in jail for each violation. You are required to pay for each night in jail as well.

Can the victim contact the defendant in a no contact order in Iowa? ›

Any contact with the defendant is considered a violation of the No Contact Order. If you, the victim, were to contact the defendant, through any of the means mentioned, while the No Contact Order is in place, you would be violating the Order and may be held in contempt of court.

Can you drop allegations? ›

But charges can be dropped any time before the trial or up until the point where the prosecution is done with presenting their side of the case. If charges are dropped after the trial begins, the prosecution must request the court to allow the charges to be dropped, and the court may or may not give their consent.

Can police prosecute if victim doesn't press charges? ›

When an assault has allegedly taken place, it is not always up to you as the victim if you want to press charges. In fact, even if you decide that you do not want to press charges from the outset, or you decide you no longer want to, the Crown prosecutor may still pursue the case.

Who can press or drop charges? ›

First, though, we'll answer a few common questions. It's worth noting that not all criminal charges go to trial. Indeed, many charges are dropped prior to trial during negotiations between prosecutors and defense lawyers. But it is only the prosecutor who can drop such charges.

Can a domestic violence case be withdrawn? ›

Advocate Sunil Kumar Bakshi

If you wants to withdraw your DV case then it can not be withdrawn because may be FIR is registered then you apply for quashing of proceeding and then apply divorce as per your Muslim custom.

How long does a DV case run? ›

Hi, Once you have filed the complaint, the court should take up to 3 days maximum to hear the case. Th Magistrate will further take up about 2 days to issue the notice of hearing to your husband and in-laws.

Who can dismiss criminal cases when they are filed? ›

The Crown Prosecution Service can take over any criminal prosecution, and may then carry out the prosecution. It may end (or 'discontinue') the prosecution if it does not believe that it should have been brought.

What happens if you retract a statement? ›

If you withdraw your statement, the case might still go to court if the police think they have enough evidence to prosecute the suspect. If you want to withdraw your statement because you're worried about giving evidence, you should tell the police how you feel.

What makes a criminal case weak? ›

a lack of evidence, few or no credible witnesses, mistakes in the criminal complaint, and. a valid legal defense for the defendant.

Can a victim ask the CPS to drop charges? ›

Remember, you cannot ask the CPS to drop the charges without good cause. You might know you are innocent, or regret your actions, or have been reconciled with the victim. But the CPS will still say that justice must be done. The CPS cannot decide whether you are innocent or guilty – only the courts can do that.

What is it called when the prosecutor decides to drop the charges? ›

Plea deal: The prosecutor could decide to drop charges if the defendant agrees to cooperate in another case. Usually, this is done in matters involving minor offenses. Some charges might also be dropped if the defendant agrees to plead guilty to one or more of any additional charges they faced.

What happens when charges are dropped? ›

If a prosecutor drops a charge against you, it means: he/she will no longer pursue the charge against you, the case does not advance to trial, and. you do not have to face any penalties for the alleged offense.

Can charges be dropped at an arraignment hearing? ›

Judges generally do not have the authority to dismiss charges at either a preliminary or a formal arraignment. However, prosecutors can decide to dismiss charges at arraignment, but they will only do so if they have a compelling reason why the charges should be dropped.

What does drop the charge mean? ›

If criminal charges are dropped, there will be no trial, and no repercussions will be imposed for the alleged offense. If you are convicted and charged with a crime, the arresting officer will provide the prosecutor with information on your case.

Why does prosecutor need to prove the accused is guilty? ›

The prosecutor bears the burden of proof because, based on the protections of the U.S. Constitution, a criminal defendant is presumed innocent. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is the highest burden of proof applied in any legal proceeding because the stakes – a defendant's liberty – are highest.

What factors may influence the prosecutors decision when filing charges? ›

The decision to prosecute is based on the following factors:
  • The sufficiency of the evidence linking the suspect to the offense.
  • The seriousness of the offense.
  • The size of the court's caseload.
  • The need to conserve prosecutorial resources for more serious cases.
  • The availability of alternatives to formal prosecution.

Why do prosecutors sometimes choose not to prosecute? ›

Prosecutors may decline to press charges because they think it unlikely that a conviction will result. No matter what the prosecutor's personal feelings about the case, the prosecutor needs legally admissible evidence sufficient to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

How long do you go to jail for violating an order of protection? ›

A violation of an order of protection or no-contract order is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 11 months and 29 days in jail, and a fine between $100 and $2,500.

How can I get around a no contact order? ›

A no contact order can only be lifted if the victim asks for it. It is the victim's motion, not the defendant's. A victim has to contact the judge's assistant, get a court date and appear in court. The judge hears from the victim first.

Does a restraining order go on your record? ›

It would not be disclosed on basic or standard criminal record checks but may be disclosed under Police Intelligence on an enhanced check, if it is deemed relevant.

Is a restraining order a criminal charge? ›

Once the police have been alerted for violations of the order, they will sign a criminal complaint meaning the abuser is in contempt of court. The breach of any court order, including a restraining order, is classed as a criminal offence.

What is the penalty for contempt of court in Iowa? ›

If a party is found to have violated a court order, the court can find the party in contempt and may require the party serve up to 30 days in jail. The court also has alternative measures to try to gain the party's compliance with an order. See Iowa Code section 598.23.

What is a civil no contact order in Iowa? ›

A Civil No-Contact Order is a domestic violence case, an order forbidding the defendant from having any contact with the protected party. This order is issued at the request of the protected party according to Iowa Code 236.3A (PDF).

How long does domestic violence case last? ›

Legislature set a time limit of 60 days for a Domestic Violence case to be disposed as prescribed under sec 12(5) of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

Whats the longest you can get for domestic violence? ›

The prison sentence for a domestic violence charge can include more than a year in state prison. Depending on the individual situation, a sentence for a felony conviction can include up to 10 years or more in prison.

Do all domestic abuse cases go to court? ›

A police chief warned this week: “Too few victims are seeing their cases go to court.” An analysis of figures from 2017 up to the start of the first lockdown last March reveal that 65.8 per cent of domestic abuse allegations in London were prosecuted after being handed to the CPS.

How many times does it take a victim to leave? ›

Leaving is not easy. On average, it takes a victim seven times to leave before staying away for good. Exiting the relationship is most unsafe time for a victim. As the abuser senses that they're losing power, they will often act in dangerous ways to regain control over their victim.

Is domestic violence case bailable? ›

When the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), was amended in 1983, Section 498A was inserted. Section 498A deals with 'Matrimonial Cruelty' perpetrated on a woman. Matrimonial Cruelty in India has now been made a cognizable, Non- bailable and Non-Compoundable offence.

What is the sentence for domestic violence in the US? ›

Penalties for misdemeanor domestic violence

If charged with domestic battery, you will be required to pay a fine of $2000 and/ or serve a prison sentence in county jail for up to 1 year. An attorney could get charges for Spousal battery reduced to lower or no prison time and fines.

Do first time domestic violence offenders go to jail in California? ›

Most first-offense domestic violence charges won't include any jail time, but rather probation with certain conditions. However, an exception of course would include cases where the victim sustained significant injuries.

What is the lowest charge of assault? ›

Class C Misdemeanor

Is domestic violence a big deal? ›

Domestic violence is a serious social problem and a national health concern with significant negative impacts on individuals and our communities. It is a primary cause of injury to women in the United States.

How long will you be in jail for assault? ›

Common assault carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison and/or a fine or community order. A prison sentence is generally reserved for cases where serious injury was caused, and higher culpability is present.

Do you have to go to court as a victim? ›

You might have to go to court as a witness in a criminal court if: you're the victim of a crime - in which case you'll be a witness for the prosecution. you witnessed a crime - you could be a witness for the prosecution or the defence.

What percentage of domestic abuse cases go to court? ›

Almost 90 per cent of domestic abuse victims don't get any support through the family courts. 71 per cent of victims don't get any support through the family courts or criminal justice system (crown courts or magistrates courts)

What evidence is needed for assault? ›

Otherwise good reliable eye-witness evidence or good quality photographs accompanied by descriptions of the extent of the injuries will suffice for other summary assault cases.

How do you get out of a victim? ›

Here are 7 powerful ways to overcome the victim mindset that have helped me and many of the students we work with:
  1. 1 – Recognize Martyrdom in Yourself. ...
  2. 2 – Forgive Others. ...
  3. 3 – Forgive Yourself. ...
  4. 4 – Meditate or Pray. ...
  5. 5 – Manage your Mood. ...
  6. 6 – Find a Victor's Mantra. ...
  7. 7 – Take Action.

What are the consequences of being a victim? ›

In general, victimization often impacts people on an emotional, physical, financial, psychological, and social level. Shock, disbelief and denial – Initially, victims may find it difficult to believe they have become a victim of crime. They may even pretend that it did not happen at all.

How do you get out of a victim's role? ›

  1. Take ownership and responsibility for your own needs and wants. ...
  2. Practice saying “no.” If you don't want to do something and don't (realistically) have to do it, don't do it. ...
  3. Stop blaming. ...
  4. Become aware of the root of your sense of powerlessness. ...
  5. Be kind to yourself. ...
  6. Turn your focus to helping others. ...
  7. Practice gratitude.
Jan 12, 2018


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