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Can the Alleged Victim Opt Not to Press Charges?

Interviewer:  What happens if the victim doesn’t want to go ahead? Is it out of their hands since the police already arrested their spouse or partner?

Adam: It can be depending on which judge they have, and what the prosecutor feels, and what the set of circumstances were during the initial police investigation.

The Authorities Can Pursue a Domestic Violence Case Even if the Victim Does Not Wish to Participate

Interviewer: I imagine that is because it could be a situation such as the battered wife syndrome. They’re probably afraid that the wife may say, “Oh, he didn’t mean, it it’s fine”.

Do the police they look for certain factors such as a history of violence or if the alleged victim has bruises?

Adam: Yes, they do investigate the defendant for prior charges.

Interviewer: Do the judges and prosecutors tend to not even believe the victim and just evaluate independently for themselves if there’s a case or not? Or do they really take the victim’s statements heavily into account before they proceed against the defendant?

Adam: The course of action will vary according to the court, and the judge, and the prosecutor. They can to a degree, evaluate for themselves. I have never heard a judge declare that a case will go forward as a punishment to the alleged victim because they made an allegation against their partner or spouse.

It does happen –Victims can change their minds after a cooling off period and time away from the spouse or partner.

How Long Might a No Contact Order Last?

Interviewer: How long is the no contact order put into effect for? Is it until the judge rules otherwise or is it a defined period of time?

Adam: It could be in effect for a long time, even after the case is resolved. The judge could order to indefinitely never have contact with this individual again. That order can be changed subsequently by filing a modification of the sentencing.

A Guilty Verdict in a Domestic Violence Case Will Result in a No Contact Order

Defendants will always have a no contact order issued if they’re found guilty.

Interviewer: If someone’s found guilty of domestic violence even on a first offense, you’re saying the judge will issue an indefinite no contact order?

Adam: Yes and typically that will be a part of the sentencing, the defendant is ordered not to have contact with the victim.

Any kind of contact from will be determined to be a violation. The defendant will be held in contempt.

Is a Conviction Likely if No Physical Violence Occurred Between the Two Parties?

Interviewer: If a couple is just arguing and there wasn’t physical violence, would that scenario most likely lead to a conviction or would that be a rare occurrence if a conviction resulted from arguing?

Adam: I would say rarely, especially once the prosecutor speaks to the alleged victim.

To touch back on the no contact order — The victim can be the party to request a cancellation of the no contact order. If the victim is amenable, the no contact order could be modified at that point in time.

By Adam Hunt

Ohio Criminal Defense Attorney Adam Hunt
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