In Florida, domestic violence is a serious offense. Domestic violence includes stalking, sexual assault, kidnapping, false imprisonment as well as any other offenses that result in the physical injury of a family member by another family member within the household.
Often, the police are called to the scene in the heat of the moment. Sometimes, after tempers have cooled, a victim may wish to retract their statements. For numerous reasons, they may decide they don’t want the other party to be prosecuted.
Is this their decision to make?
Victims cannot directly drop the charges
Legally, the crime of domestic violence is an offense against the state of Florida. Consequently, the state of Florida has the final say on whether criminal charges are pursued or dropped. The state of Florida will consider the circumstances and all of the surrounding evidence before making a reasoned decision as to whether to prosecute or not.
What if the victim refuses to cooperate?
If a victim refuses to cooperate with the State, then it can be harder for the prosecution to secure a criminal conviction. Cases will sometimes be dropped because the victim has refused to meet with prosecutors or attend pre-trial hearings.
However, those accused of domestic violence offenses cannot always rely on the non-cooperation of victims. Often, the presence of other witnesses or evidence could be enough to secure a conviction. Plus, if the accused intimidated the alleged victim into dropping the charges in any way, that could lead to additional legal consequences.
Getting to know the law relating to domestic violence is an effective way of ensuring that you are best placed to protect your legal rights in Florida.