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Can a Domestic Violence Victim Drop the Charges? July 3, 2024

Crime and violence concept with handcuffsSomeone facing a domestic violence charge may experience consequences that have the potential to negatively impact them for the rest of their life.  

As a result, there are instances when you want these charges dropped. Understanding how the legal process works in Florida is crucial for both victims and defendants in domestic violence cases. 

In Florida, once the police are involved in a domestic violence incident, they typically refer the case to the State Attorney's Office. The decision to pursue charges is then in the hands of the prosecutor, not the victim.  

This is because domestic violence is seen as a crime against the state, not just the individual. The prosecutor has the discretion to proceed with the case even if the victim retracts their statement or no longer wishes to press charges. 

However, speaking with a criminal defense attorney can improve your chances of the charges being dropped. Our legal team at will proudly help you every step of the way.  

Steps to Take for a Victim That Wants to Drop Charges 

If a victim decides they want to drop charges in a domestic violence case, there are several steps they need to follow to communicate their wishes to the court and the State Attorney's Office. The following list outlines the steps in detail: 

  1. Inform the prosecutor: The first step is to inform the prosecutor handling the case of the victim's desire to drop the charges. This can typically be done by contacting the State Attorney's Office directly. The victim may be required to provide a written statement explaining their reasons. 

  1. Write a formal affidavit of non-prosecution: The victim may need to complete an affidavit of non-prosecution. This document formally states that the victim does not wish to pursue charges against the defendant. It's important to be honest and detailed in this affidavit, as it becomes part of the legal record. 

  1. Attend a meeting or hearing: The victim might be required to attend a meeting with the prosecutor or a court hearing. During this meeting, the prosecutor or judge may ask questions to understand why the victim wants to drop the charges and to ensure that the decision is made without coercion or fear. 

  1. Legal counsel: It is advisable for the victim to seek legal counsel. An attorney can guide the victim through the process, ensuring that their rights and interests are protected. 

  1. Counseling or support services: Engaging with counseling or support services can be beneficial. This is important not only for emotional support but also to provide evidence that the victim is making an informed decision. 

  1. Cooperation with authorities: Throughout the process, victims should cooperate with law enforcement and court officials. This demonstrates that their desire to drop charges is genuine and not influenced by pressure or intimidation. 

  1. Prepare for possible denial: Be prepared that, despite the request to drop charges, the prosecutor may still decide to proceed with the case if they believe there is sufficient evidence to convict the defendant, or if they believe doing so is in the public interest. 

By following these steps, victims can effectively communicate their wishes to drop charges while ensuring that their decision is respected and considered by the legal system.  

Reasons for Proceeding Without Victim Consent 

Several reasons can lead the State Attorney's Office to continue with prosecution even if the victim wants to drop the charges: 

  • Public safety concerns: Domestic violence is often a repeat offense, so prosecuting the case can prevent future incidents. 

  • Evidence: There might be strong independent evidence, such as physical injuries, witness testimonies, or documented threats that necessitate legal action. 

  • Legal obligations: Florida law obliges prosecutors to protect victims and the wider community, which can override a victim’s wishes. 

Possible Defenses for a Domestic Violence Charge 

Being accused of domestic violence can be distressing and overwhelming. It's crucial to understand that several defenses may be available to challenge the allegations. Here are some possible defenses: 

  • False accusation: Often, domestic violence accusations arise out of personal conflicts, and sometimes, a family member or partner might falsely accuse someone out of anger, jealousy, or revenge. 

  • Self-defense: If you acted in self-defense or to protect your children from harm during a physical altercation, this could be a valid defense. 

  • Accidental injury: If the alleged victim's injuries were accidental and not a result of intentional harm, this might serve as a defense. 

  • Lack of evidence: The prosecution must prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is insufficient evidence to support the claims, your charges could be reduced or dismissed. 

  • Consent: In rare cases, the alleged victim may have consented to the actions leading to the injuries, which can affect the charges. 

  • Violation of rights: Any violation of your constitutional rights during the arrest or investigation process could lead to the exclusion of certain evidence or even case dismissal. 

Discussing these possible defenses with a qualified criminal defense attorney can significantly impact the outcome of your case. At, we are committed to exploring all avenues to achieve the best possible resolution for our clients. 

Strong & Reliable Legal Representation  

If you're involved in a domestic violence case, whether as a victim or defendant, seeking legal counsel is essential for navigating the judicial system effectively and ensuring your rights are protected. 

Understand your rights and the legal processes with a consultation from Our experienced criminal defense attorneys are here to provide the guidance and representation you need.