She Doesn’t want to Press Charges. Why am I Still in Trouble?

It seems like a victim could decline to press charges for domestic violence if they change their mind. However, that is not the case. Once a victim calls the police (or someone else calls the police to report domestic violence), the matter is out of the victim’s hand.

What can the ‘victim’ do to drop charges?

The victim may contact the prosecutor’s office to inform them that they do not wish to press charges. However, that is the extent of the victim’s power over domestic violence charges. Only the prosecutor can decide whether to drop the charges.

How does the prosecutor handle a ‘victim’ who does not want to cooperate?

Most domestic violence cases could depend heavily on the testimony of a victim. If the victim refuses to cooperate, the prosecutor could choose to drop the charge. However, that is not always the case.

If a victim refuses to testify in court, the prosecutor can subpoena them. If the victim ignores the subpoena, the prosecutor can request the court hold the victim in contempt of court for refusing to appear and testify.

What about “no contact” orders?

If you were arrested for a domestic violence charge in Utah, there is almost certainly some form of a “no contact” order in place. This could be a jail release agreement, a protective order, or a stalking injunction. All of these prohibit contact with the alleged victim until a judge says otherwise.

Contacting an alleged victim with a “no contact” order in place will result in additional charges.

Fortunately, an alleged victim does have more say over whether or not a “no contact” order remains in place. An alleged victim can ask the court to drop the “no contact” order, allowing them to maintain contact with the defendant.

Remember, the order IS IN PLACE until the judge issues an order removing it.


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