Domestic violence cases are, unfortunately, more common than many people think in Georgia. However, not all of these cases go to trial, and many are dropped altogether.
In some cases, the dispute is settled outside of court, and the defendant and the alleged victim come together to ask the prosecution to drop the charges. In other cases, the alleged victim might be uncooperative, or have insufficient evidence to proceed with the case.
Whatever the reason, an experienced criminal defense attorney can help those accused of domestic violence pursue these options to settle their disputes outside of court and avoid prosecution altogether. From the Frye Law Group, here are 5 of the most common reasons why domestic violence cases are dropped in Georgia.
Why are domestic violence cases dropped in Georgia?
While this list is incomplete, here are some of the reasons why a prosecutor may choose to drop a domestic violence case.
- There is insufficient evidence: Defense attorneys and prosecution alike will investigate the accuser’s case to see if there is sufficient evidence to corroborate their story. They will be looking for physical evidence like bruises, witness accounts, video and photo evidence, and the initial police report or 911 call. Between all of these types of evidence, if there is insufficient evidence to support the accuser’s account of events, the case might be dropped.
- The accuser’s story is inconsistent: The prosecution will also likely use the accuser’s initial police report or 911 call as evidence to corroborate their story. If the defense attorney can show that there is enough inconsistency between these two accounts of the events, it may be enough to cast doubt on the accuser’s story and get the charges dropped.
- The accuser has made false accusations before: A history of false accusations on the part of the accuser can already cast doubt on their claim. Combined with insufficient or inconsistent evidence, this can be enough to get the court to drop the charges in the early stages of the case.
- The accuser is uncooperative: In domestic violence cases, the prosecution’s case often rests primarily on the cooperation of the accuser. Their testimony, physical evidence, and other key contributions are the primary pieces of evidence that the prosecution will use to convict the defendant. If the accuser fails to provide a witness interview or even show up for trial, the prosecutor might drop the case entirely.
- The accuser persuades the prosecutor to drop the case: Sometimes, after the dust has settled, the accuser and the defendant may reach an agreement about their dispute. In some cases, the dispute in question was a mutual fight, and the accuser’s testimony may incriminate them in illegal behavior as well. Whatever the circumstance, if the accuser decides they no longer want to press charges, they can usually convince the prosecutor to drop them.
Although this does sometimes happen, it’s crucial that the defendant does not try to contact the accuser and persuade them to drop the charges– this is technically attempting to influence a witness and is a crime.
What should you do if you’ve been accused of domestic violence in Georgia?
There’s no way of knowing whether your case will be dropped until you’ve consulted with a defense attorney, and probably the prosecution as well. But in the meantime, here are some things you can do to protect your rights and prepare for a potential trial.
- Collect evidence: Gather together any photos, videos, documents, records, or any other pieces of evidence that might prove you did not do what you are accused of, or mitigate the extent of the charges.
- Make a list of witnesses: If there are any witnesses who can testify that you did not do what you are accused of, or that the accuser’s account is misrepresenting the events, write down their names and contact information– but don’t contact them without a lawyer present.
- Don’t talk to the accuser, witnesses, or police: You may be tempted to reach out to any of these witnesses, or even the person accusing you of the crime, to try to persuade them to drop the charges. This is a bad idea that can only hurt you in court. Wait until you’ve consulted with an attorney, and your accuser has had time to meet with their attorney, before you try to open a dialogue.
- Hire an attorney: The most important thing you can do to protect yourself from a domestic violence charge is to secure the services of an experienced criminal defense attorney.
Hire a criminal defense attorney in Georgia today
A criminal defense attorney with experience and knowledge of the law will be able to help you navigate the tricky waters of a domestic violence case.
They will know how to talk to witnesses, open a dialogue with the prosecution, and present evidence to help get your case dropped, or at least get you the best outcome possible.
Contact the Frye Law Group today to schedule a free consultation.