Can Victims of Domestic Abuse Drop the Charges In California?

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If your significant other calls the police to report domestic abuse, they might not realize that this call sets in motion events that are likely to result in you going to jail.

This is true even if the accuser does not want you arrested. Now you face serious criminal allegations that carry severe consequences.

Your partner might never have wanted it to go this far in the first place, or maybe the two of you have reconciled.

As a result, your partner might wonder how to drop charges against someone for domestic violence. 

At The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC, attorney Armstrong and our dedicated team of skilled criminal defense lawyers understand what you are up against.

We rely on our extensive experience to find the best defenses for your domestic abuse charges.

Contact our award-winning defense attorneys today online or call 619-304-2058 to learn more about how we could help put you in the strongest position to have your charges dismissed.

Can You Drop Domestic Violence Charges?

No provision in California’s domestic violence law gives an alleged victim of domestic violence the right to drop the charges.

You might wonder why this is true, as it doesn’t make sense to many people. Simply put, the domestic abuse victim is a witness for the prosecution–sometimes the only one.

The District Attorney’s Office, meaning the prosecutor, controls the prosecution. Only they can decide whether or not they want to dismiss charges.

And once a case is in their hands, if they have a way to go forward, they usually do. Not even the judge can dismiss the charges if the alleged victim asks them to.

A judge can only dismiss criminal charges if there is a legal basis for dismissal—and the request of the victim is not a legal basis.

Good prosecutors will analyze the situation and consider the alleged victim’s wishes when deciding whether or not to push the case to trial.

However, the alleged victim’s wishes do not determine how the prosecution does its job. Skilled domestic violence prosecutors know how to handle uncooperative or reluctant victims.

They know that sometimes they can go forward, even without the alleged victim’s testimony.

Therefore, they will look for evidence outside of the victim’s testimony, and if such evidence exists, they can move forward with the case even if the victim does not want to testify. 

Why do they do this? Prosecutors often view a victim’s dismissal request skeptically.

They often believe the request comes from manipulation, intimidation, threats, or coercion from the defendant or his/her family.

Further, no prosecutor wants to dismiss a domestic violence case only to learn that another attack occurred. 

When Can You Drop Domestic Abuse Charges?

Just because the alleged victim cannot dismiss the charges does not mean that domestic abuse cases never get dismissed.

In fact, more domestic violence cases get dismissed than any other type of crime. 

Having a fierce and reputable advocate by your side to argue forcefully on your behalf might give you the edge you need to convince the prosecutor to drop the charges.

A knowledgeable and resourceful criminal defense lawyer can often find a legal reason for the judge or prosecutor to dismiss the case. 

Call or fill out the form to arrange a free consultation with a knowledgeable and experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney.

Do You Need to Know More About How To Drop Charges Against Someone For Domestic Violence?

San Diego defense attorney Kerry L. Armstrong is one of the few board-certified criminal defense specialists in San Diego.

His skill, reputation, and vast experience can give you the edge you need to help you achieve the best result possible for your California domestic violence case.

Contact one of our domestic abuse lawyers today at 619-304-2058 for a free consultation.

Where You Can Find Our San Diego, CA Office

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Kerry L. Armstrong


Attorney Kerry Armstrong opened up his law firm in June 2007. Mr. Armstrong attended Thomas Jefferson School of Law, San Diego, California, and received his B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University. Kerry L. Armstrong became certified by the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization for criminal law in August 2020, making him one of the few criminal defense attorneys with a criminal law legal specialization certificate in San Diego County.  Between 2014 – 2019, Mr. Armstrong was selected for inclusion in the California Super Lawyers list, an honor only awarded to 5% of the nation’s attorneys.