Can the “Victim” Drop Domestic Assault Charges?

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The most common misconception about domestic assault charges is that the "victim" holds the power in their hands to press charges or not press charges. In most other cases the "victim" does have the power to press charges or not press charges.

As an example say your neighbor throws something at your house and breaks your window. The victim calls the police. The police ask the victim if they want to press charges. You can say "Yes, I want to press charges." Afterward, you can speak with the prosecutor "I worked it out. I don't want to press charges." The prosecutor will consider dropping the charges in a property crimes case.

Krupp Law Firm

This is not true for domestic assault charges. The victim, in almost all cases, will not be able to pressure or persuade the prosecutor to drop charges. Especially if this is not the first domestic assault charge. The prosecutor will take the victim's statement and continue forward. The theory is that the victim has some sort of battered spouse syndrome. The prosecutor believes the victim is trying to drop the charges because they are in an abusive relationship.

In many circumstances domestic assault charges will arise out of a heated debate of passion between partners, someone will be arrested and there is a lot of initial anger or animosity. Sometimes the alleged victim will change their mind as to whether they want to press charges, especially where the two parties have a child together and do not want to see one of the parents incarcerated or hurt the family’s earning potential.

There are a variety of reasons that an alleged victim would no longer want to press charges and, in some circumstances, the alleged victim doesn’t want to press charges, to begin with.

These cases are not the alleged victim against the defendant, they are the State of Missouri against the defendant.

Therefore, in St. Louis and St. Charles counties, sometimes the state prosecutors will do their best to move forward with the prosecution despite the wishes of the alleged victim. This creates an interesting scenario that should be handled by someone who understands how the courts work in these situations which are very delicate.

Non-prosecution Affidavit

An affidavit is a sworn statement from the victim. Often times the Non-prosecution Affidavit says I don't want to press charges anymore. In most circumstances, not all, and we have done them before but too many lawyers that practice domestic violence law is obsessed with Non-prosecution Affidavits.

We believe many times prosecutors feel that you and your lawyer are trying to manipulate them and/or tamper with evidence. Prosecutors are not happy with that and they're not going to drop charges. That's why we are very weary to file non-prosecution affidavits in domestic assault cases.

For more information visit our Domestic Assault page

What Is a Domestic Victim Under Missouri Law?

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