Can a victim drop domestic violence charges in Nevada?
Domestic violence cases in Las Vegas fill Nevada’s courts and many of their outcomes are the acquittal of the defendant because the domestic violence charges were dropped.
Dropping of charges is a common occurrence in many criminal cases and most often, it is depicted in media as a very simple thing carried out by the prosecutor and the court. The actual legal proceedings say otherwise. To help you learn more of this legal issue, here is an article that talks about dropping of domestic violence charges in Nevada and what a victim’s role would be in the entire matter.
Can a victim of domestic violence drop charges?
Straightforwardly, no. While the motivation for the dropping could have started from them, victims have really no power to drop domestic violence charges in Las Vegas and the rest of Nevada as it is now a concern of the court, especially when it becomes a federal crime.
So how are domestic violence charges dropped? They can only be if the prosecutor or the arresting officer decided to do so. No matter how the victim tries to retract their allegations, if there is a clear indicator that the defendant is guilty, the prosecutor will still go ahead with the case. If anything, the prosecuting attorney will be even more determined to do so as a way to fight for the deserved justice of the victim.
Why would victims drop domestic violence charges?
Despite the previous point, the decisions of a victim could still largely influence whether the charges will be taken further into the court. Typically, a victim will recant their previous allegations and back out of the case, usually citing that they were mistaken or the accusations were fabricated. The prosecutor could analyze these actions from the victim and could conclude from there that there really is a strong reason to just drop the domestic violence charges altogether.
Having said that, another reason why prosecutors and plaintiffs drop domestic violence charges is because of lack of evidence. It is a prosecutor’s job to prove that the defendant is guilty of the crime and without enough proof, there is no point on going further with the criminal trial as it will only exhaust time and resources of both parties and the court.
Can anyone stop domestic violence charges from being dropped?
What many might not be aware of is judges can refuse a prosecution’s dropping of a case. However, the majority of them chooses not to. The first reason for this is judges usually do not want to get involved that much on a case and the second reason is prosecutors have strong legal powers under the prosecutorial discretion law and most of them do not want their decisions to be questioned by judges.
Still, a judge trying to stop a charge from dropping is not entirely impossible. A judge can order to withhold the appeal to have the domestic violence charges dropped and get an order for a separate evidence inquiry. If a piece of new evidence is gathered, the judge will offer it to the prosecutor who would then decide if it is worth continuing with the charges.
What happens to the defendant now?
Since the charges were discontinued, the defendant is now acquitted and an acquittal means the person is now free of criminal liability and can get back to his or her normal life. And as we said in our previous blog, a defendant who is acquitted of domestic violence charges cannot be tried again for the same crime as it will cause double jeopardy.
While this is the standard aftermath when domestic violence charges are dropped, the defendant could be tried again in the civil court through related offenses. For example, there is an injury caused by domestic violence, the plaintiff or the family of the plaintiff could file an injury lawsuit under civil law that the defendant will have to face.
There will always be a chance for domestic violence charges to be dropped that would lead to your acquittal. If you are under false domestic violence charges, get the help of a Las Vegas criminal defense attorney that knows how to prove that you are innocent of the claims so the prosecutor will have no other choice but to call off the case!