Updated January 31, 2024 by Sean McQuaid
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 makes it clear that they do not want to prosecute, 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, which is why you should always consult with a criminal defense attorney immediately. Please do not sit back and wait for a court date. The judge and prosecutor look at each case to see what the level of risk is. Often, even if the victim wants the charges dropped, the prosecutor will continue with the case. It is always up to the prosecutor to decide whether to follow through and charge someone.
However, the victim’s input is important. Without a complaining victim or a witness, the State will likely find it very difficult to prove the case.
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.
- 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.
- The victim and the defendant want to repair the relationship
- The victim and the defendant have family or financial ties
Why Can’t Victims Get Domestic Violence Charges Dropped?
Victims can’t get domestic violence charges dropped as they may be under pressure from the defendant or their family or friends. Thus, the State 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. While this is an extreme example, it supports the theory that in some cases there can be pressure or undie influence.
So How Can a Victim Influence a Domestic Violence Charge?
If you are an alleged victim and 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 their wishes for the charges to be dropped. Waiver of Prosecutions are notarized sworn statements. It is also called a Request Not To Prosecute. I like to file them in every case when I can.
Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer as a Defendant
If you are a defendant in a domestic violence case in Florida, contact a Florida criminal defense lawyer.
Most people do not know this, but your lawyer is legally permitted to reach out to the victim even if you have a no contact order. This is a huge advantage to finding out what really happened and if the victim wants to prosecute.
The judge and the prosecutor will often expect you to get either anger management, substance abuse, or alcohol counseling. Starting counseling can be an important reason to get a charge dropped. It is not an admission of guilt and can only help your case. Your criminal defense lawyer can get you a list of approved providers so that you can get started.
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 Florida Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer Today
If you are facing charges, our criminal defense lawyers can help.
We’ve handled countless domestic abuse cases over the years and can quickly put together a strategy for your defense. We know how to talk to the victim, the prosecutor, and the judge.
Our criminal defense attorneys at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A., are part of one of Tampa Bay’s most prestigious law firms with over 65 years of experience. We have the reputation and connections to make things happen for you. Do not risk your reputation and freedom with a lesser law firm.
Contact us today for a free consultation to get started or CALL (727) 381-2300