How Domestic Violence Charges Get Dropped
You are in a contentious situation with your ex, and during a heated argument, you push her. While you had no intentions of harming her, nor did you, she calls the police and reports domestic violence. She exaggerates the story, tells law enforcement you did more than you did, and now you are being arrested and charged for domestic violence without your story being told.
While it is true there are instances of genuine domestic violence; sadly a vast majority are situations just like this where one party falsely accuses another to be vindictive. Now you face serious criminal charges, prison time, and the rest of your life could be permanently scarred all because someone wanted to get back at you.
In this instance, you might wonder if there is any hope of having the charges dropped. What if your ex changes their mind and decides to tell the prosecutor she exaggerated? Would that succeed in getting the case dropped?
Domestic violence defense attorneys have been in the very situation you are. They have helped clients who face serious criminal penalties, and they know how to act when a case like this arises. While there is no guarantee your case will be dismissed, or you will have the charges dropped, an attorney significantly reduces the odds against you.
How Attorneys Work to Get Domestic Violence Charges Dropped in Albuquerque
Your attorney has several methods that they will use to help reduce the charges you face and ultimately get you out of jail.
Collecting Evidence that Proves You are Innocent
The best, and most used, way to have the charges dismissed is proving that you are innocent. Your attorney exercises your right to call witnesses and testify, presents evidence, and examines the state’s evidence and witnesses to poke holes in their case.
The first step is to secure evidence. That might include police reports, which mainly focus on the alleged victim’s story, but can still help show what happened. Also, if you create a written record as quickly as you can after the incident, it will help when you need to recall specifics from the alleged incident.
Other evidence you should collect includes video, pictures, text messages from the victim, and any social media posts that the victim has made about the incident or your relationship – which may prove that they exaggerated.
Hire an Attorney
If you have not done so, hire an attorney the moment you are suspected of domestic violence. The charge of domestic violence is a very dire one and one that has long-term consequences including:
- Jail or Prison Sentence: Depending on whether you are charged with a misdemeanor or felony, you could spend up to one year or more for incarceration sentences.
- Court Fines: In addition to your jail and prison sentence, which you would pay for financially, you also pay the court fines. These fines are not retribution, but part of your punishment.
- Retribution: In some cases, the court may require that you repay the victim for their losses, especially if personal property was damaged in the commission of the domestic violence.
- Gun Ownership: You cannot own a gun if you are convicted of domestic violence in the United States. If you were to be found in possession of a weapon, you could face up to ten years in prison and be charged with a federal crime.
- Permanent Criminal Record: The most significant setback you would face with a domestic violence charge is that you will have a permanent criminal record. That means you will show an arrest and conviction on background checks for employment, housing, and government programs. This may exclude you from numerous opportunities.
Show to All Court Appearances and Dress Nicely
Most importantly, do not scoff at the charges. Even if you know the victim is not a “victim” you need to show for the court hearings. Showing up tells the court that you care about your case. Also, if you dress nicely for the court, it tells the judge and prosecutor that you take the charges you face seriously.
When you appear in court, it can also speed up the process. Attorneys can communicate, negotiate early in the case, and you may receive a deal that lowers the charges. Also, if a prosecutor sees you at court, they know that a judge will look at you like you are a stand-up citizen in the community, which will help your case too.
Have the Victim Admit their Wrong
Eventually, the victim might come around and realize that the argument was not an act of domestic violence and even admit that they exaggerated the incident. When the victim changes their mind, they have no control over the prosecution. The prosecutor has filed the charges on behalf of the state; not the victim. Therefore, regardless of how the victim feels, the prosecution can move forward and prosecute.
The best step to take in these situations is to have the victim sign an affidavit of non-prosecution. This is a document that tells the prosecutor the victim does not want the case to move forward, and it can outline the reasons why. In some cases, the prosecution will drop the charges or lower the charge.
Do Not Approach the Victim
While you may want the victim to sign an affidavit, have your attorney speak with their attorney instead of you attempting to handle this alone. You approach the victim and requesting anything could result in you being charged with witness intimidation. Furthermore, there may be a temporary restraining order in place that prohibits you from approaching or even contacting the victim. Therefore, while your intentions may be innocent, you could go to jail for violating your restraining order.
Hire a Domestic Violence Attorney Immediately
The best thing you can do for yourself and your future is to hire a domestic violence defense attorney immediately. Domestic violence charges are serious and carry long-term consequences. Therefore, you need an attorney by your side to help defend your rights.
Schedule a free case evaluation with the defense team at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices. We have helped individuals just like you find the most favorable outcome to a domestic violence charge.
Schedule your appointment now at 505-375-4664 or request more information online.