Both the defendant and alleged victim involved in an assault on family member charge may ask the same question: “Can a victim drop charges for assault on family member?” The answer is dependent on a number of circumstances:
- The alleged act of assault
- Existence of injuries
- Defendant’s criminal history
- Household history of assault on family member
These circumstances, along with the influence of the court and assault on family member attorney, will dictate if a victim can drop charges in a case of assault on family member.
The Alleged Act
The factual circumstances surrounded the alleged act weight heavily on the case. A prosecutor will be less likely to entertain dropping the domestic violence charges if the act was severe. For example, if there are weapons involved, it will be difficult for the alleged victim to drop the charges. Guns and knives are not the only weapons used in an assault on family member case. Kitchen utensils, books, glassware, clothing accessories and garage materials all have a history of use in assault, and each can be considered a weapon if they are used to cause or threaten harm.
The nature and severity of the alleged act can dictate the direction of an assault on family member case. Pressure from the defendant to drop the charge may gain no traction if the act involved a weapon.
Existence of Injuries
Much like the severity of the alleged act, injuries can place a stop on the victim from dropping charges. Injuries suggest to the seriousness of the alleged act of assault, and point to a deeper problem in the household. Common injuries seen from assault on family member include:
- Broken or lost tooth
- Facial bruises and fractures
- Neck injuries
- Abdominal cuts or bruises
- Genital injury
- Eardrum rupture
Defendant’s Criminal History
Does the defendant have a history of drug and alcohol abuse? Is there a documented history of violent acts? An answer of “Yes” to either of these questions will make it difficult for the court to consider dropping assault on family member charges. In particular, a history of assault on family member incidents is not looked upon kindly and will quickly throw out the option of dropped charges.
In addition to the defendant’s criminal history, the court will also be interested in researching the household’s history of assault. The prosecutor will look back for previous assault charges to any family members living under the same roof. A history of repeated charges will empower the court to push forward with the charges, even if the victim wants to drop the charges.