Only a prosecutor can drop a domestic violence charge. But, even though a victim cannot directly drop a charge in Florida, their input is critical. If a victim is willing to sign a request not to prosecute or a request for contact, that can greatly increase the chances that a prosecutor will drop the domestic violence charge.
What is Domestic Violence in Florida?
Florida statute 741.28 defines domestic violence as,
“Any assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense”
That resulted in,
“Physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.
Domestic violence is taken very seriously in Florida. The ultimate decision whether to drop the charge or pursue it is up to the prosecutor. Sometimes, even if the victim wants the charges dropped, the State will proceed with the case. It is always up to them and their discretion.
However, the victim’s input is important. Without a complaining victim, the State will likely find it very difficult to prove the alleged violence.
Common Examples Where the Victim May Want the Charges Dropped
- The victim was drunk/high during the incident.
- The victim slipped, tripped or fell during an interaction, resulting in the misunderstanding that they were hit.
- It was a mutual confrontation.
- The victim’s emotions clouded their understanding of what happened.
- The victim realized the accused acted out of self-defense.
Why Can’t Victims Get Domestic Violence Charges Dropped?
Put simply, victims can’t get domestic violence charges dropped as they may be under pressure from the alleged abuser, and if it were possible, it could entice pressure and manipulation to become common in such cases. The State thus has the decision making authority.
For example, back in March 2021, Coby Harris was arrested on Domestic Violence charges and issued a no-contact order with his girlfriend.
Harris’ court hearing was held via Zoom (due to Covid restrictions). Incredibly, the victim and Harris were just feet away during the call and it became obvious that Harris’ victim was being manipulated into supporting him.
So How Can a Victim Influence a Domestic Violence Charge?
If, as a victim, you don’t want to support the domestic violence charges anymore, here’s what you can do:
File a Document Stating Your Wishes
Victims can file a ‘Waiver of Prosecution‘, stating your wishes for the charges to be dropped. Waiver of Prosecutions are notarized, sworn statements. It is also called a Request Not To Prosecute.
Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer as a Defendant
If you are a defendant in a domestic violence case in Florida, do not pressure the alleged victim. Instead, contact a Florida criminal defense lawyer.
A lawyer can investigate the facts, obtain evidence, interviews and review crucial information to build a defense. We have vast experience handling cases like this where mistakes and tensions became life-changing allegations.
We can work aggressively to get your charges dropped or minimized, without the risk of your pressuring the alleged victim.
Florida Domestic Violence Victim Support and Resources
If you are experiencing domestic violence or abuse, the following resources can help:
- Florida Domestic Violence Hotline
- WomensLaw.org Guide to Finding a Lawyer
- Shelters and Advocates Local to You
Florida Domestic Violence Statistics
- Over 106,000 domestic violence crimes were reported in 2020.
- Which resulted in over 63,000 arrests.
- During 2020-21, Florida’s domestic violence centers provided 412,000 nights of emergency shelter to over 10,000 survivors of domestic violence (including children).
- Over 72,000 domestic violence hotline calls every year.
Contact a Pinellas County Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer Today
If you are facing charges, our criminal defense lawyer can help.
We’ve handled countless domestic abuse cases over the years and can quickly put together a strategy for your defense. We know what needs to be said to victims, the prosecutor, and the judge.
Our criminal defense attorneys in Pinellas County at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., are part of one of Tampa Bay’s most prestigious law firms with over 60 years of experience. We have the reputation and connections to make things happen.
Contact us today for a free consultation to get started or CALL (727) 381-2300