If you or your loved one are being accused of family violence, you need to speak to a criminal defense attorney immediately. There is no simple way to ‘drop charges’ in a family violence case. In fact, attempts by an alleged victim to ‘drop domestic violence charges’ may sometimes embolden prosecutors to seek harsher punishments and even consider additional charges against the alleged victim.
For that reason, the Awad Legal Team NEVER asks witnesses to directly contact a prosecutor when dealing with family violence charges. Here is what you need to know about your family violence case:
How can I be charged with family violence and what are the consequences?
You can be charged with family violence by committing any felony, or certain misdemeanor offenses, against a past or present spouse, a parent of your child, your parents, your children or other people living or formerly living in the same household. Along with the normal penalties for the underlying offense which can include fines and time in confinement, the family violence charge can lead to additional consequences including:
- A family violence protective order prohibiting you from contacting the other party and prohibiting you from living in the same residence.
- Loss of custody of your children
- Payments ordered by the court for child support or spousal support
- Court ordered anger management evaluations at your expense.
- Court ordered family violence intervention classes for 24 weeks or more at your expense.
- A future felony charge if you are found to have violated the family violence protective order.
If the alleged victim wants to dismiss the charges, does the case get dismissed?
NO. The State can pursue the charges against you whether or not the alleged victim wants to cooperate. It is very common for alleged victims in family violence or domestic dispute cases to ask the State to dismiss the charges, but it is ultimately the decision of the prosecutor whether or not to do so.
Prosecutors can take a case to trial despite having an uncooperative victim. With a court ordered subpoena, an alleged victim can be forced to attend court and forced to testify even if they do not want to be involved.
If the alleged victim says they lied to the police, will the case get dismissed?
NO. Having an alleged victim claim they lied to the police about an incident does not make your case better. Prosecutors will never believe an alleged victim’s claim that he/she lied about being abused. They will believe that the alleged victim is being forced to change their story by the accused. Having an alleged victim give a statement claiming they lied will not help your case and may even lead to new charges against the accused and the alleged victim.
The court ordered me to have NO CONTACT with the alleged victim. But I can still speak to them if they text/call/e-mail me first, right?
NO. A “No contact” condition to your bond or family violence sentence is common, and violating this condition is a common way to get rearrested and charged with aggravated stalking. Even if the alleged victim contacts you first, or asks you to contact them, YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO RESPOND.
If the alleged victim in your case wants to have contact with you, a criminal defense attorney can help you amend the conditions of your bond and sentence so that you can contact them without breaking the law.
If I am the alleged victim of family violence, what can I do to prevent my loved one from going to prison?
The best way to address your concerns and the concerns of your family is to contact a criminal defense attorney immediately. There are many strategies a defense attorney can propose for your family that can help you all get the help you need, without permanently separating your family, causing financial ruin, or subjecting your loved one to a lengthy prison sentence.
Contact the Awad Legal Team today for a free consultation to discuss your case and strategies we can use to help you and your loved ones overcome your domestic disputes while protecting your rights and your family from the criminal court system.