Can a North Carolina Domestic Violence Charge Be Dropped or Dismissed by the Accuser/Victim?

gavel and cuffs

Can a Victim/Accuser of Domestic Violence Drop/Dismiss the Charges?

Although many spouses and family members love each other unconditionally, disagreements can still occur. Sometimes an argument that is emotionally fueled can develop into the cops being called. Once the cops show up and someone walks away in handcuffs the question often arises “Can the alleged victim of the domestic violence drop the charges?”

If you are a person charged with a crime of domestic violence such as assault, assault by strangulation, or communicating threats just to name a few, you may wonder whether the alleged victim/accuser can drop the charges against you. If you are the alleged victim/accuser of a crime of domestic violence you may ponder the same question “may I drop the charges.”

What is Defined as Domestic Violence?

In North Carolina, domestic violence is broadly defined as a crime against any of the following: a member of a person’s household, a current or former spouse, a dating or sexual partner, or a child/grandchild or a child under a person’s care. A judge in their discretion can also find a domestic violence relationship was involved based on the evidence and order additional penalties or protections.

Can the Alleged Victim Drop the Charges?

Many of these situations result in instant regret and forgiveness, which often leads to an alleged victim wanting to drop the charges. It is important to understand that the State of North Carolina is responsible for bringing domestic violence charges against an alleged offender, not the victim. Therefore, the alleged victim does NOT get to decide if the charges are dropped. More specifically alleged victims/ accusers cannot drop the charges despite their desire to dismiss the charges against the accused. As long as there is evidence to establish a case in court, North Carolina prosecutors may still choose to move forward without the cooperation of a victim. The fact that the victim is reluctant to press charges doesn’t matter to them.

Why are courts and Police Departments Hard on Domestic Violence?

The courts and police departments look at domestic abuse as something that can worsen over time. They feel not only does such abuse involve physical harm, but also psychological and emotional manipulation. They feel if they DO NOT step in and intervene the vicious cycle of domestic violence will continue and the perpetrator’s actions could hinder a victim’s ability to leave an abusive relationship.

If you have been accused of domestic violence in Charlotte, contact Jetton & Meredith today at (704) 931-5535 and schedule a free consultation.