Can Domestic Violence Charges be Dropped?
Many domestic violence accusations are simply the result of a disagreement that got out of hand, or an attempt by one party to punish the other for an unrelated wrong. In either case, accusing someone of committing an act of domestic violence can have serious repercussions for all of the parties involved. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get these types of cases dismissed. Even those who were initially the accusers do not have the power to drop a case, so if you were recently arrested for committing an act of domestic violence due to an error or personal grudge and believe that your case should be dismissed, it is important to contact an experienced Seminole domestic violence lawyer who can communicate with the prosecutor on your behalf about your case.
Who Decides to Press Charges?
It is not uncommon, after tempers have cooled, for a person who unfairly accused a family member of domestic violence to regret those actions. However, once a person has called law enforcement with the initial accusation, he or she has no control over whether the state will prosecute a case. Instead, prosecutors are tasked with deciding whether the state will press charges against the accused, even if the alleged victim files a Waiver of Prosecution with the State Attorney’s Office. This means that ultimately, whether a person’s domestic violence charges are dropped will depend on the prosecutor and the results of his or her pre-filing investigation into the case.
Communicating with the Prosecutor
Before officially pressing charges, Florida prosecutors conduct a pre-filing investigation, where they attempt to determine the strengths and weaknesses of a case. Generally, the state is more willing to drop a domestic violence case at this stage, before it is actually filed, than it is to drop the charges later on. For those who have been accused of domestic violence, but who know that the charges are unfounded, their best chance of getting those charges dismissed is at this point, making it especially important for individuals who find themselves in this situation, to retain an attorney who can execute a non-prosecution affidavit and negotiate with the prosecutor on their behalf.
Will I Still Have a Criminal Record if My Charges Were Dropped?
Even if a prosecutor decides not to press charges against a defendant, that individual will still need to have his or her criminal record sealed or expunged. In Florida, a person’s criminal record can only be expunged (even if his or her case was dismissed) if that individual:
- Has never been convicted of a criminal offense in the state; and
- Has never sealed or expunged another arrest record in Florida.
If you need help determining whether your own arrest record could be expunged after the dismissal of your domestic violence charges, please call our office today.
Attempting to Get Your Domestic Violence Charges Dismissed?
For more information on dismissing domestic violence charges in Florida, please contact The Reep Law Firm at 727-330-6502 to speak with experienced Seminole domestic violence lawyer Justin Reep about your options.