Domestic Violence and The Recanting Witness

Domestic violence accusations sometimes come out of the heat of the moment. There might not have been anything criminal that occurred, but the alleged victim perceived there to be. Law enforcement shows up and suddenly, you’re being arrested. You find out that you have a restraining order that prevents you from going around or contacting the victim. All of this is based on that individual’s statements and possibly a bit of circumstantial evidence.

The statements from the victim might be a central point in the prosecution’s case. But, what happens if that person changes their statement about what happened during the incident? When a person changes or completely takes back their statement, it is known as recanting. Some individuals believe that this is a way that the victim can drop the charges against the person they accused of attacking them.

Many people don’t realize that it isn’t up to the victim whether charges are dropped or not. That decision is up to the prosecutor and court. There is a chance that the charges will be dropped if the victim recants, but this isn’t automatic. In some cases, there is enough evidence to move forward with the charges even without the statements.

For the defendant, it is important to remember that the no-contact order, if one was issued, will still be in place even if the victim recants their statement. You still can’t have contact with the individual until the court drops that order or until it expires. Failing to comply with it could mean you have more legal woes to deal with.

If you’re facing domestic violence charges, never assume that you can get the case thrown out by working with the victim. Instead, focus your efforts on building a defense strategy that addresses the prosecutor’s claims.


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