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    When Would a Prosecutor Drop Domestic Violence Charges in California?

    Posted on: June 22nd, 2020 by Dod Law

    domestic violenceProsecutors represent the State of California in all criminal matters, and they influence nearly all decisions the State makes regarding the legal course of every criminal case. Prosecutors investigate crimes, pursue charges, appear in court, handle post-conviction appeals, and above all, seek justice. Your San Diego criminal defense lawyer, on the other hand, is in charge of protecting your interests when challenging the prosecution’s arguments. If you face a domestic violence charge, Attorney Dod of Dod Law can help you save your reputation and secure your future.

    A prosecutor must decide how to proceed with criminal cases based on the evidence available about each case. Generally, prosecutors may avoid pursuing charges when they believe they lack sufficient evidence to succeed in court; but, there are other reasons that a prosecutor may ultimately dismiss a domestic violence charge. Here are 5 key reasons prosecutors may drop domestic violence charges in California.

    There is Insufficient Evidence

    One of the main reasons a prosecutor may dismiss a case is due to a lack of evidence. Prosecutors must show the court that the defendant is guilty of a crime by proving all elements to the extent that the trier of fact would conclude guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. When a prosecutor cannot establish that the defendant committed all elements of a particular offense, he may choose to quit pursuing charges for that specific crime.

    In a domestic battery, the prosecutor must show the following:

    • The defendant willfully touched another person,
    • The touching was harmful or offensive, and
    • The person whom the defendant touched is a current or former intimate partner.

    In this example, the prosecutor might not believe the first element applies to the particular case. He may feel that “willfulness” was not present. Willfulness is a purpose or willingness to commit an act. So, if the prosecutor believes that he will have difficulty establishing the first element because he cannot prove that the touching was on purpose, he might drop the case.

    There are Inconsistent Statements

    Prosecutors review statements defendants and victims make before pursuing charges. In some cases, victims may make two statements — one to police officers and a written statement. If the written statement tells a different story from the first statement, the witness may be viewed as unreliable. Sometimes, a victim’s story doesn’t line up with his or her injuries. If a witness/victim changes her story, this can also sow doubt in the prosecution’s case. 

    Inconsistent statements may occur when referring to:

    • Why the defendant struck the victim
    • The relationship between the parties
    • When the incident took place
    • How many drinks the parties had
    • Whether the parties used drugs
    • What body part the defendant struck

    There are No Visible Injuries

    Not having visible injuries doesn’t mean that domestic battery did not take place, and it is not a requirement for a defendant to face a domestic battery charge. A prosecutor needs evidence of harmful or offensive touching to charge a person with a domestic violence offense, and this evidence does not need to be a physical injury. With that said, a witness with no visible injuries may make it more challenging to prove an offense occurred.

    There are No Independent Witnesses

    Many violent acts committed between people in a familial relationship go unwitnessed. This doesn’t mean a defendant cannot be arrested since police officers may arrest a person based on allegations or evidence at the crime scene. A prosecutor may have the following evidence to charge a person with domestic violence even if there are no other witnesses, like:

    • New and visible injuries
    • Statements by the two parties involved
    • Signs of a fight at the crime scene

    However, if there are also conflicting statements from the defendant and/or victim, and no independent witnesses — witnesses besides the two parties involved — the prosecutor may have trouble proving a case. 

    Defendant Submitted a Persuasive Reject Request Letter

    Finally, one of the last reasons a prosecutor might drop a case involves a reject request letter. If the defendant has been arrested or charged with a domestic violence offense, his or her attorney may send the prosecutor a letter showing why there may be insufficient evidence to prosecute or that there is considerable reasonable doubt that the defendant committed an act of domestic violence.

    Dod Law Works with Prosecutors to Help Your Criminal Case

    Attorney Dod of Dod Law has extensive practice negotiating with prosecutors to help his clients receive more favorable terms when facing criminal charges. That could mean helping you present evidence that may lead to the prosecutor dropping your case or reducing the charges against you. You can trust Dod to craft a compelling defense for your case, with his more than 17 years of experience defending individuals accused of criminal offenses in San Diego.

    Dod has worked on more than 6,500 criminal cases in and out of the courtroom. This includes more than 75 jury trials and 400 preliminary hearings. He has experience fighting misdemeanor and felony domestic battery charges. The sooner you contact Dod Law, the sooner you can gain a deeper understanding of the charges you face and take action to defend yourself. Call (619) 814-5110 or complete our contact form for a free consultation at any time of day or night. 

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