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What If The Victim Isn't On Board? How Prosecutors Proceed On Domestic Violence Cases Without A Testifying Witness

On of the most common misconceptions about domestic violence cases is that without an alleged victim, the State Attorney's Office will automatically drop the charges against the accused.

As a former Miami prosecutor, I can tell you that such a statement is untrue, and can often lead accused persons to make uninformed decisions on how to proceed with their cases.
Miami and Broward, for the most part, have adopted a "no drop" policy, where prosecutors will not drop a case due to an alleged victim's unwillingness to testify in court. The reason for this is that prosecutors feel that the alleged victim may not be willing to testify out of fear of the accused. Furthermore, current laws have actually made it easier for prosecutors to present their domestic violence cases to the jury without the testimony of the alleged victim.
I am a criminal defense attorney who has handled a great deal of domestic violence cases in both Miami-Dade and Broward. I can also tell you that knowledge of the law, more so than the knowledge that the alleged victim is "not on board," is a greater asset to the client than anything.
Prosecutors may be able to introduce 911 tapes, photographs, and the testimony of the responding police officer in order to prove their case against the accused. An attorney who has experience with domestic violence cases may be able to exclude certain pieces of evidence. That is often the key to beating these charges...not simply the "wait and see" method many domestic violence attorneys employ, hoping to get a dismissal if the alleged victim doesn't show up in court.
Domestic violence cases can consist of misdemeanors such as battery and stalking, or felonies, such as burglary, aggravated assault, or sexual battery. Misdemeanor domestic violence charges can carry jail sentences from 60 days, up to 364 days. Felony domestic violence charges can carry anywhere from 5 years in prison all the way up to life.
Look, most domestic violence cases are arguments that got out of hand. Maybe someone called the police in a fit of anger, and a day or two later, they simply want to forget what happened, or they realize how blown out of proportion things may have gotten. Unfortunately, most domestic violence prosecutors don't feel that way. They are tough, and they want to see accused domestic batterers locked up. Don't rest on the fact that the alleged victim is not on board. Get advice from someone who has practiced before judges in Miami-Dade and Broward. Call my office today for a free telephone or in-person consultation.