One of the most important things a person accused of domestic violence in Las Vegas would look forward to is getting their charges dismissed. The penalties for a conviction would be severe, after all. As such, defendants aim to get a dismissal or a not-guilty verdict for their cases as much as possible.
For the lucky ones, their accuser may choose to recant their charges somewhere the line. However, this does not automatically mean that they’re off the hook from the law. Let’s discuss why recanting a domestic violence charge does not automatically convert to a dismissal.
What’s a Recantation?
A recantation is a formal withdrawal of previous statements and claims related to a case. It can also mean that the person is formally denying their previous statements and wishing for it to be considered as untrue on the court record. The act does not count unless it is declared publicly.
Recantations follow certain protocols to count as valid. Two of the most common methods are:
- by filing a sworn affidavit repudiating previous statements
- by sworn testimony while on the witness stand during a trial
Why It Doesn’t Mean Dismissal
Recanted statements can severely affect the prosecution’s case against a domestic violence defendant, especially if the plaintiff themselves did it. Repudiated statements weaken any other testimonies already filed, or outright invalidates them as well. This can lead to a domino effect where the entire case collapses and there is no more reason to charge the defendant.
However, a recanted statement, especially from the plaintiff, does not equate to a dismissal because:
- The recanted statement is only part of the entire testimony and the case is still intact
- The prosecution suspects the validity of the recantation and will continue to pursue the case
- The prosecution has other evidence to prove the defendant’s guilt, recanted statement or no
- There are other insinuating circumstances that compel the court to continue hearing the case
Why do parties involved in a domestic violence charge recant their statements? There are a variety of reasons. Some of the most common causes are:
- The party is fearful to testify in court with their statement due to possible retribution from the accused or people related to the latter
- Both parties had an agreement out of court, with or without the presence of their lawyers
- In the case of the plaintiff, they need immediate support from the accused and fear that the hearing will stop that
Prosecution attorneys are astute to these kinds of situations most of the time. As such, they continue to pursue the case as long as there is a chance to secure a conviction.
The defendant should not let their guard down even after the other party recants their statements! Communicate with your criminal defense attorney to better understand how your domestic violence hearing will go moving forward.