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If I Give a Written Statement, Will the DA Drop the Domestic Violence Charges Against My Husband/Wife…?

Caution should be exercised in giving a written statement to the prosecutor in a domestic violence case.

It is not infrequent that an alleged victim wants to drop domestic violence charges.  In fact it is fairly common.  There are many reasons for this, some good and some not so good.

No matter what the reasons, dropping domestic violence charges is not as simple as one might expect.   In fact, the prosecutor will rarely drop the charges until the process has run its course.

This would include the situation where the alleged victim provides a written statement.  In fact, this written statement may do more harm than good, motivating the prosecutor to press on.

Proceed with caution.

Be Cautious in Decision to Give Written Statement

Many times, the alleged victim wants to provide a written statement.  These can be helpful depending on the contents of the statement.  However, if the statement says anything other than there was no act of domestic violence, then it is not helpful.  Instead, these statements can sometimes do more harm than good.

For example, a statement to the effect that the defendant made a mistake, is generally a good guy, this rarely/never happens, we need him back home, I love him and so on will do little to achieve the goal of a dismissal.  Instead, the statements suggesting that there was an act of domestic violence will be used at trial if it gets to that point.  If necessary, these statements will even be used against the alleged victim to impeach any conflicting testimony that he or she may give.

Written statements are generally only helpful if they state that no act of domestic violence occurred.
Again, these statements are generally only helpful if they state that no act of domestic violence occurred.  Yet even then, the statement alone may be insufficient for an outright dismissal.  Judges and prosecutors are extremely reluctant to simply dismiss domestic violence charges unless and/or until they have to.

Reasons Domestic Violence Charges Do Not Just Get Dropped

There are a number of reasons for this.  First, the judges and prosecutors take domestic violence charges very seriously and they take the role of protecting victims very seriously.  Second, as mentioned, there are many reasons for wanting to drop domestic violence charges.  These are not all valid reasons, at least from the court’s and prosecutor’s perspective.  In fact, many true victims of domestic violence may wish to dismiss the charges even though dismissal will put them at risk of further violence.  Out of an abundance of caution, prosecutors often totally discount the stated basis in a letter from the alleged victim.

The best thing for an alleged victim to do in this situation is to get his or her own attorney.
So the question that arises is what should the alleged victim do when in fact there is a legitimate basis for dropping the charges and he or she wants to provide a written statement?  The best thing for an alleged victim to do in this situation is to get his or her own attorney.  This means getting an attorney other than the attorney representing the defendant.  Hiring an attorney can be expensive.  However, if the charges were wrongfully filed and should be dismissed, this is the best course of action if at all possible.

Many Domestic Violence Resources in New Mexico

If you are a victim/alleged victim of domestic violence or a defendant in a domestic violence case, there are many very good domestic violence resources in New Mexico.  These are helpful for both those with and without financial resources.   These are worth exploring no matter where you fit in the wide spectrum of domestic violence charges.