In the past, domestic violence was something that was largely swept under the proverbial carpet. Society preferred to pretend that it did not occur and law enforcement typically considered it a private “family” matter. As a result, abusers were usually only arrested when the abuse was severe and the cause blatantly obvious. Fortunately, times have changed. Now, however, the pendulum has swung way over in the other direction. If you are arrested for domestic violence in the 21st century it is taken very seriously and prosecuted aggressively by most prosecutors. What happens though if the police over-reacted and there really was no actual abuse? For example, if you were charged with domestic violence but even your wife agrees that she was not a victim of abuse you may be wondering “Can’t my wife drop the charges in my Nebraska domestic violence case?” Unfortunately, the answer is “no.”
Historically, in many jurisdictions it was possible for the alleged victim of domestic violence to “drop the charges” against an alleged abuser. More often than not, however, a victim dropped the charges out of the fear of reprisals for going forward with the prosecution. Even if a batterer was convicted he/she would typically only spend a short period of time in jail and then be right back out and looking for the victim. Knowing this was the likely outcome, most victims simply recanted or refused to cooperate, ultimately causing the prosecution to dismiss the case. Knowing that victims often “dropped charges” out of fear, most jurisdictions eventually began to implement policies that prevented a victim from having a say in how the case was handled.
What most victims and defendants don’t realize is that the victim does not decide whether to press charges in the first place, much less decide whether to dismiss charges down the road. The State of Nebraska charges a defendant and prosecutes any criminal case. Therefore, only the State of Nebraska (through the prosecuting attorney) can decide to dismiss a domestic violence case.
That is not to say that a victim has no voice in how a domestic violence case proceeds. As a general rule, the prosecuting attorney handling the case will attempt to contact an alleged victim to hear his/her side of the story. If the alleged victim is adamant that no abuse occurred, and the alleged abuser has no criminal history of abuse, a prosecutor might very well decide to dismiss the charges against the defendant.
If you have been charged with domestic violence it is imperative that you refrain from having contact with the alleged victim if the court issued a no contact order. The alleged victim and/or you should Contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.
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