Dropping domestic assault charges.
Can I drop domestic assault charges? I called the police to file a report and they arrested my boyfriend without my wanting to press charges. He faces loosing everything: house, job. How can I drop charges without incriminating myself? The allegations are legitimate, but he's just had a hard time since returning from war (Iraq veteran) and needs counseling. His court date is in December and since I wasn't the one who pressed charges, I guess the state or police officer did, then even if I don't show up that won't help him. Please advise. Thanks.
As you have learned, the decision whether or not to arrest and/or prosecute a defendant rests with the officers and the prosecutor, not with the alleged victim. Criminal charges are often prosecuted in spite of (or over the objection of) the alleged victim, as you have further learned. That being said, there are ways that you may be able to influence a favorable resolution of this matter. First, your boyfriend should hire an attorney, and they can then discuss how your cooperation may be used to obtain a favorable resolution. For example, if you indicate that you would plead the fifth if called to testify (due to the fact that changing your story would incriminate yourself) the prosecution may be forced to drop the charges if they are relying wholly, or in large part, upon your testimony. In any event, your boyfriend needs an attorney to help him to develop a strategy to defend this matter. Good luck.
Whether or not to prosecute a case (i.e. whether or not to drop charges) is a decision that rests with the prosecutor and not with the alleged victim. What that means, from a practical standpoint, is that a case may be prosecuted over your objection. While the states case would be stronger with your testimony, if there is other evidence to support the charge the case may still go forward. However, all that having been said, a skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to use the fact that you do not want to cooperate as leverage to obtain a favorable result for the defendant (i.e. to potentially have the charges dismissed or otherwise resolved favorably). However, prosecutors are often very unwilling to simply drop these types of cases, particularly, because they do not want to send the message to offenders that, if they can intimidate or otherwise unduly influence a victim, they can get away with what they have done. Note: If you are subpoenaed you must show up or you can be held in contempt of court and jailed. Bottom line, you will need to speak with an attorney as to all of this.