Can a Victim of Domestic Violence in North Carolina Drop the Charges?
If you have been charged with domestic violence in North Carolina, you might be wondering if your accuser can “take back” his or her allegations. In many domestic violence situations, emotions run high and one partner or spouse might accuse the other spouse of domestic violence that did not actually take place. Similarly, when law enforcement officers show up to the scene of a domestic dispute, it can be difficult if not impossible for them to tell which person was the aggressor and which person acted in self-defense.
At Arnold & Smith, PLLC our attorneys fight assertively to protect our clients’ legal rights. We understand how difficult facing domestic violence charges can be, especially when orders of protection are involved. We take the time to understand each client’s case, conduct thorough investigations, and develop effective strategies. Contact our criminal defense attorneys today to schedule your initial consultation.Fighting Domestic Violence Charges in North Carolina
In order to understand whether or not a domestic violence victim can “drop” the charges, we must consider the crime of domestic violence itself. Domestic violence crimes occur when the defendant commits certain violent acts against a person with whom he or she has a personal relationship. North Carolina law defines domestic violence broadly as an act of violence or threat of violence against any of the following people:
- A spouse or former spouse
- A current or former dating or sexual partner
- A member of the person’s household
- A former or current partner
- A child or grandchild under the defendant’s care
Typically, prosecutors bring charges based on the applicable criminal statute. For example, if a spouse commits an assault against his spouse, the prosecutor would bring assault charges. If the judge determines that a personal or domestic relationship exists or existed between the victim and the defendant, he may order additional penalties. Judges may also issue orders of protection. Judges in Mecklenburg County, Union County, Iredell County and the surrounding areas often issue domestic orders of protection.Dismissal of Domestic Violence Charges
The victim of domestic violence is not the person who brings charges against the defendant. Instead, North Carolina prosecutors can choose to bring criminal charges based on the evidence. North Carolina law considers domestic violence to be a criminal act against the state of North Carolina. Prosecutors bring domestic violence charges against defendants on behalf of the people of the State of North Carolina. Prosecutors do not bring charges on behalf of the victim of the crime. Thus, a criminal prosecutor has the exclusive responsibility of determining whether to bring charges and the crimes with which to charge the defendant.
Additionally, prosecutors have the exclusive authority to dismiss criminal charges before or during the criminal trial. Prosecutors can dismiss charges up until the time that the jury determines whether or not to convict the defendant. Sometimes prosecutors will offer a plea bargain or plea deal with the defendant. In a plea bargain, the prosecutor offers to lower the severity of the criminal charges in exchange for the defendant entering a guilty plea.When Will Prosecutors Dismiss Domestic Violence Charges?
Convincing prosecutors to dismiss domestic violence charges in North Carolina can be difficult. Nonetheless, the experienced domestic violence defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC know how to aggressively negotiate with local North Carolina prosecutors. We conduct a thorough investigation of our clients’ cases. In many cases, our investigation reveals that law enforcement officers violated our clients’ constitutionally protected rights.
In other cases, law enforcement officers or lab technicians mishandle evidence. Sometimes we discover physical evidence or provide witness testimony that proves our clients’ innocence. Finally, our lawyers work hard to convince prosecutors that they lack the evidence necessary to take the domestic violence case before a jury. When a dismissal is not possible, we fight hard to convince prosecutors to lower the charges or enter into a favorable plea deal, if our clients wish to do so. Whatever happens during the criminal process, we fight assertively for the rights of our clients along the way.Our Domestic Violence Defense Attorneys can Help
If you are facing domestic violence charges, hiring a skilled lawyer is crucial. Those convicted of domestic violence face significant penalties. Defendants accused with domestic violence can face significant jail time and other penalties. Do not take a risk with your future. For skilled legal help, contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC today to schedule your initial consultation.