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Points about victim cooperation in domestic violence cases

Many different factors may be involved in a domestic violence charge. In some cases, the prosecution is relying on statements made by the alleged victim. This means that your family member could have to testify against you, in some circumstances, e.g., if the alleged victim decides to stop cooperating. This is a precarious position.

There are several things to consider when the person at the heart of the prosecution's case withdraws from helping to prosecute the case. If you are in this position, here are some things you should realize:

Victims can't drop charges

A big misconception is that the victim can drop the domestic violence charges. Defendants tend to think that if they can work things out with the victims that the charges will be dropped. This isn't at all the case. Once the prosecution picks up a case, only the prosecutor can drop the charges. It is imperative that you take these charges seriously from the moment you find out that you are being charged.

Uncooperative victims can face legal troubles

The only option that victims have when they don't want the charges to stand is to stop cooperating with the prosecution. This might seem easy enough, but there is a chance that they could face criminal charges if they don't handle the situation exactly right. One thing to remember is that a person who receives a subpoena must appear in court or they can face legal action. In these cases, the person will need to find out what options they have to handle the situation without running afoul of the law.

Defendant considerations

As the defendant in the case, there is a good chance that you have a protective order against you. It is imperative that you comply with this order until it is dropped by the court or expires. Violating its terms by going near the victim while the order is still in force can lead to your being arrested. This is a difficult position in which to be, especially if you and the victim work things out or you have children together. You should find out how to handle this situation so that you don't end up facing more legal charges.

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Certified | The Florida Bar | Criminal Trial Law

Andrew M. Coffey has been recognized as a Board Certified Civil Trial lawyer by the Florida Bar. Certification is the highest level of recognition by The Florida Bar of the competency and experience of attorneys in the areas of law approved for certification by the Supreme Court of Florida.

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