Domestic violence is defined in Florida as assault, aggravated assault, battery, aggravated battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, aggravated stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal offense resulting in physical injury or death of one family or household member by another family or household member.
In Florida, domestic violence is one of the most commonly committed crimes. Like many other states, Florida has stricter laws and policies relating to domestic violence often treating it as a serious violent crime. The number of domestic violence cases increases each year in the U.S., and we especially saw a rapid 8.1% increase after jurisdictions imposed pandemic-related lockdown orders starting in the spring of 2020.
If you were arrested for domestic violence in Palm Beach County contact our office at (561) 671-5995 to better comprehend the legalities of the charges against you, and what you need to do to prevent a conviction.
Can a Domestic Violence Victim Have the Charges Dropped?
Arguments can get out of hand and sometimes lead to both serious and violent situations. Florida prosecutors and judges will do everything in their power to guarantee the victim is safe from the alleged abuser during an active investigation. Because of this, a victim alone cannot have the charges dropped. However, the victim’s input can go a long way in a prosecutor deciding to file a case, drop a case, or negotiate a settlement.
In March 2021, Coby Harris was arrested and ordered to have no contact with his girlfriend after he allegedly assaulted her. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Harris' court hearing was held virtually via Zoom and YouTube Live. While you'd expect Harris and his victim to be in separate locations for the hearing, they were actually in the same house just feet away from one another. This is an example of why domestic violence victims cannot have the power to have charges dropped during an investigation as they can still be under duress of the abuser. You can watch the shocking footage here:
Even if a victim of domestic violence in Florida tries to have the charges dropped, it is the State's duty to proceed forward based on evidence despite the victim's wishes to not comply. If someone witnessed the domestic violence called into question, or there is clear evidence such as video footage, these independent pieces of evidence can be considered by the State. Without a complaining victim, however, it is very difficult to prove a case, especially if there is no physical evidence.
Can a Domestic Violence Victim in Florida Change Their Statement?
While a victim cannot drop domestic violence charges by themselves, they can file an affidavit stating their wishes. In addition, they can recant their statement if they choose to do so. An example of recanting is if you told the police that your spouse hit you, but later want to take that statement back. This can come with serious repercussions if your statement was under oath.
Even if the victim recants their statement, it still will not guarantee that the State drops the case. If there is evidence that the victim was assaulted, despite recanting their statement, the State can still press charges against the alleged abuser.
Can I Get a Domestic Violence Charge Dropped?
The process following a domestic violence situation can be confusing and emotionally challenging. It is important to remember that domestic violence cases in Florida are in fact public record and can be viewed by anyone, even an employer. While it may be difficult to have a domestic violence case dropped in Florida, a Palm Beach domestic violence defense attorney can investigate the facts, obtain interviews, and review any pertinent documentation related to your case to best assist in your defense. The Law Offices of Matthew Konecky has handled hundreds of domestic violence cases in Palm Beach County and Broward County and can work aggressively to have the case dismissed or charges reduced. Contact us or call us at (561) 671-5995 so we can review your case immediately.