In North Carolina, a common scenario that prompts the prosecution of a domestic violence case is one where neither side wants to be involved or press charges. Often when people call the police during a domestic dispute, they are not looking for someone to get arrested, they are simply trying to get assistance or a short-term reprieve, this is turned upside down once the police decide that someone is going to jail.
It is important to know that while you or your spouse may be the victim or prosecuting witness in the case, it is not up to you or your spouse to drop the case. In North Carolina, once criminal charges are pending, the only person who can dismiss the case is the District Attorney’s office. In most cases, the District Attorney’s office will not deal with these kinds of requests or entertain these kinds of matters until the court date, and even then, they are not required to do so.
This does not mean that you are helpless and have no control over the situation, there are still several things you can do that can affect the outcome of the case. These options vary and should be discussed with an attorney before you make any decision. It is important to know that you can hire your own attorney to advise you as the victim about what course of action is the best option for you in your particular case. Furthermore, because every county or jurisdiction is different it is important to hire an attorney that practices locally and not only knows the local rules but also knows how each individual prosecutor and judge handles each type of situation.
One reason that it may be beneficial to hire an attorney to help you as the victim is that if you choose to do something to get the case dismissed, depending on what you do and the jurisdiction you are in, you may be opening yourself up to criminal prosecution. The district attorney’s office may seek criminal charges against you such as filing a false police report, resisting or delaying a public officer, misuse of the emergency system, or other charges. Furthermore, the court may issue a show cause order which would require you to show up and prove to the Judge why you should not be held in contempt. Criminal contempt is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $500.00 fine.
If you or your spouse are the alleged victim in a crime and you don’t want to continue to press charges, it is important to know that you have options and that you can hire your own attorney. If you find yourself in this kind of situation, reach out to the attorneys at Jetton and Meredith today.