Can An Alleged Victim Withdraw The Complaint & Refuse To Press Charges?
PLEASE NOTE: We can only service cases inside the state of Texas!
Why Would an Alleged Victim Want to Withdraw the Complaint?
The victim may not want to deal with the legal system or be afraid of the consequences of such an arrest. This could range from fear of retaliation to economic losses because the person was in jail for a few days. On the other hand, the “silver bullet strategy” by some divorce attorneys includes alleging domestic violence to kick the other partner out of the house, stop evictions, and get more money. This may sound like a slam-dunk until you learn that the other person has proof you instigated the violence or made things up. If the courts agree, you lose custody of the kids. Or the alleged victim lied to police because you were angry, leading to the arrest. These things happen, and it is why we refer to alleged victims instead of always believing the victim in domestic violence cases.
But can an alleged victim withdraw the domestic violence complaint and refuse to press charges?
The Role of Police
Police generally arrest someone if they think there has been an incident of domestic violence for the safety of the supposed victim. They are supposed to act in a way that guarantees public safety. If the couple was engaged in an equally loud and violent confrontation, separation guarantees safety while hurting no one.
The Role of the Prosecution
Suppose the victim has reported domestic violence. The police made an arrest and file a police report with their understanding of the events that led to the arrest. The prosecutor reviews the police report. The prosecutor decides whether or not to file a criminal complaint. The prosecutor will take the case to the grand jury to determine whether or not criminal charges are filed.
The victim’s desire to press charges or not is secondary to the prosecutor’s decision. However, the victim’s witness statement and cooperation with the police help the prosecutor build a stronger case. After all, the witness statement is only one piece of evidence that can be used. The prosecutor could file criminal charges against the accused without the witness statement and over their stated desire to withdraw the charges. The state can press charges with and without the victim’s cooperation.
On the other hand, someone who wants to press charges though there is insufficient evidence may be told no by the prosecutor. Again, it isn’t up to the victim to decide whether a criminal case goes forward or not. So in response to the question “can an alleged victim withdraw the complaint and refuse to press charges?”, the answer is that you can only request that the prosecution drop the charges.
How Do You Request That the Prosecution Drop the Charges?
If you want the prosecution to drop the charges, you can fill out an ANP or affidavit of non-prosecution. You sign an ANP under oath, listing the reasons you don’t want the domestic violence case to be prosecuted. However, this opens up the accuser to a variety of charges themselves. If you make statements that conflict with the original police report, you could be charged with making a false police report. That is a class B misdemeanor. This is why you should consult with an attorney before you file a police report or ask the prosecution to drop the charges.