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Can A Domestic Assault Charge Be Dropped?

Yes, it is possible to have domestic assault charges dropped. However, the complainant or victim are not in control of this process.

The power to withdraw criminal charges is held by the Crown Attorney’s Office, and charges may only be withdrawn at their request. Even if the complainant or victim call the police and advise the authorities that they wish to drop the charges against the accused, the police or alleged victim cannot drop the charges.

How Often are Charges Withdrawn?

The Crown’s Office will often proceed with criminal charges against an accused, even where the alleged victimtakes back their original statement or complaint to the police, or advises they do not wish to proceed.

How can you Increase your Chances of Having Charges Dropped?

Accused’s persons charged with a criminal offence should consult a criminal defence lawyer so as to find out what the chances are of having their charges withdrawn.

A criminal defence lawyer can advise, in your personal circumstances, how to go about persuading the Crown Attorney’s Office to exercise their discretion, and to drop the charges against you.

Influencing Factors in Having Domestic Assault Charges Dropped

Relevant factors that the Crown Attorney’s Office may take into consideration when deciding whether or not to drop domestic assault charges include:

  • Lack of prior police involvement;
  • No prior criminal record;
  • Lack of injuries;
  • Single incident alleged as opposed to multiple incidents;
  • No involvement of a weapon;
  • No children present in the home;
  • No allegations of choking; and
  • No allegations of isolating, stalking or controlling behavior, amongst others unique to each fact scenario.

Complainants or alleged victims who seek to have charges dropped or withdrawn are best served by consulting a criminal defence lawyer for the purposes of obtaining independent legal advice. Great care must be taken when contacting the authorities and requesting criminal charges be withdrawn.

Can the Complainant be Charged for Taking Back their Statement?

Complainants or alleged victims who attempt to change their story open themselves up to potential criminal charges for misleading a police officer. Such potential criminal charges can include:

  • Obstructing a peace officer (punishable by up to 5 years in jail);
  • Obstructing justice (punishable by up to 10 years in jail); and,
  • Fabricating evidence (punishable by up to 14 years in jail).
11 Nov 2014

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