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Can a victim drop domestic violence charges?

On Behalf of | Nov 11, 2019 | Criminal Defense |

It is not uncommon for victims of domestic violence to either try to drop the domestic violence charges or to recant their statements. In fact, in 80% to 90% of domestic violence cases, victims try to undo the legal damage. This is because, though the abused do not want to be subjected to violent behavior anymore, they also do not want to see their spouses get into legal trouble. If the state of Oregon has charged you with domestic violence, you may wonder if the victim can drop the charges. Unfortunately, the answer is no.

According to FindLaw, domestic violence is a crime. Despite popular belief, victims of crime do not issue charges. Instead, the state does. As a result, the state has control over criminal charges and not the victim, meaning the victim cannot choose to drop them. Only the state can do that. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that the state will do so.

In most domestic violence cases, the state does not need the victim’s statement to pursue charges. Photographs, witness testimonies, police reports, medical records and other forms of evidence can all help the state determine whether the alleged battery did or did not occur. For this reason, the state recommends against victims recanting their statements. The only reason a victim should take back his or her statement is if he or she lied to authorities. If that is the case, the person could face criminal charges for providing false information to law enforcement authorities and the court.

You should not use this article as legal advice. It is for educational purposes only.