In Virginia, a Domestic Assault charge will not be automatically dropped simply because the alleged victim says that’s what they want. In many instances, a prosecutor will force a domestic assault to go forward in direct contradiction of the alleged victim’s desires.
Why would they force an alleged victim to court?
In Virginia, the prosecutor represents the community, not just the alleged victim. Often, they are concerned that an alleged victim is being influenced by their abuser. By dropping the charges, a prosecutor is concerned that they are simply furthering the abuse.
Therefore, when considering what to do, the prosecutor will hear the victim out. But ordinarily, they’ll look at the case as a whole before making a decision. Things they’ll consider including the following:
- How bad was the alleged assault and did the victim suffer any injuries?
- What was the circumstances of the assault and where there any children present?
- Has the accused assaulted the victim before, even if charges were dropped previously?
- Is there sufficient evidence, even without the victim’s testimony, to prove the assault (such as the accused’s confession, independent witnesses, etc.)?
What should an alleged victim do if they want the charges dropped?
To be clear, in Virginia, an alleged victim has rights to be heard and represented by counsel. However, if you’re charged with domestic assault, it is not your place to give the alleged victim legal advice.
Indeed, you can end up making your situation worse by committing obstruction of justice. Also, inappropriate influence may be used against you (click here to learn about Cody v. Commonwealth, where that’s exactly what happened.)
I trust the alleged victim. Do I really need to hire an attoreny?
We’ve received multiple calls from potential clients tell us that they are truly innocent. And that the alleged victim is lying in their domestic assault case. But they now trust that the victim is going to do the right then and tell the prosecutor to drop the charges.
The reality is that if you truly are innocent, and a person lied to law enforcement to get your charged, it is unwise to then trust that same person to suddenly be truthful. Further, as discussed above, you cannot simply rely on that person’s intentions to drop the charges.
It doesn’t have to be us, but you should seek counsel in any domestic assault charge. The risks are simply too high not to.
Still have questions?
Make sure to review our other articles and videos on our Virginia Domestic Assault Page. Then reach out to Abrenio Law for your Free Consultation. You can call us at Ph. 703-570-4180.