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Domestic Violence

What Happens in a Georgia Domestic Violence Case When the Spouse Doesn’t Press Charges?

By November 29, 2021November 3rd, 2022No Comments

In 2018, there were 44,900 reported cases of domestic violence in Georgia, but more than 66,000 calls to Georgia domestic violence agencies. 

Although the stark difference in calls for help and documented law enforcement cases is not an accurate representation of the number of intimidated victims or witnesses, it does suggest that many spouses are unwilling to press charges.

At The Frye Law Group, we know that domestic violence is a real issue in Georgia and throughout the U.S. — but we also know that mistakes are made, and couples fight all the time.

A fight may get out of hand and a phone call is made, but that doesn’t mean that one spouse needs to be sent to jail. In fact, in many instances the partner who called the police almost immediately regrets it.

So what happens when the spouse chooses not to press charges? From our experienced domestic violence defense attorney Kim Frye, here’s what you need to know.

How the System Can Dictate Domestic Violence Cases in Georgia

Many spouses call the police if they are assaulted by their partner. The police will, of course, investigate and file a report, but the spouse may decide against pressing charges.

Most people would assume that would be the end of the matter, but that isn’t always the case. In some instances, the prosecutor may feel duty-bound to proceed with the case. It is a common misconception that the alleged victim is the one with the power to issue a domestic violence charge; the reality is that the Georgia criminal system has that authority. 

So even if someone chooses not to formally press charges against their spouse, the prosecutor may file criminal charges, necessitating a trial. 

At this point, it is vital for the accused spouse to hire a criminal defense attorney to have by their side.

How Can a Prosecutor Move Forward with a Domestic Violence Case in Georgia?

The prosecutor may choose not to proceed if there is insufficient evidence to convict the accused. 

In most domestic violence cases, the prosecutor will rely primarily upon the testimony of the accuser, but if the accuser is uncooperative, the case will often be dropped.

In some situations, the accuser may convince the prosecutor to drop the charges of domestic violence. 

This may happen when the domestic disturbance was mutual or if illicit behavior like drug use was involved. In most circumstances when the accuser does not want to press charges, the prosecutor will usually not pursue the matter.

What Happens If the Case Goes to Trial?

If the accuser or the prosecutor decides to press charges and go to trial, then the prosecutor may subpoena the accuser for their testimony. A subpoena is a court order compelling the accuser to appear in court. 

If the accuser does not appear in court and provide the facts of the case, they could be held in contempt of court, which can result in arrest, fines or incarceration. 

If the defendant is convicted of a domestic violence charge, then if it is an initial offense, they could face $5,000 in fines or up to 12 months in jail. Any subsequent convictions would be treated as felonies with up to 5 years in prison.

Contact the Frye Law Group for Domestic Violence Defense in Georgia

Domestic violence accusations and cases should be taken very seriously. If you or someone you know is involved in a domestic violence case, discuss the circumstances with the Frye Law Group as soon as possible. The Frye Law Group has been helping Georgia families fight for their rights for decades, and they can ensure that all of the facts have their day in court. Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation.

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