October 27, 2021 | Domestic Violence
Domestic Violence cases often involve star-crossed lovers that get each other in trouble then immediately regret it. Because of this, defense lawyers often hear “but she doesn’t want to press charges.” This is good to hear since it can influence what a prosecutor does, but it is not a home run like defendants often think.
Ultimately the charging decision is up to the prosecutor. Those accused of Domestic Violence should never discuss the case with a victim, or there could be serious repercussions.
Victims Can’t Drop Charges in Cincinnati, Ohio
Unfortunately, it is a myth that victims must want to press charges for you to be prosecuted. Even if the victim tells the prosecutor and police that they do not want to press charges, a domestic violence case can still be pursued against you.
In fact, it is illegal in Ohio for a judge to dismiss a case solely at the request of a victim. While a victim can’t drop the case, their request is considered by the prosecutor. Prosecutors consider a victim’s wishes when negotiating a resolution with the defense and when evaluating whether they want to take the case to trial.
Even if the victim won’t testify or doesn’t want the case prosecuted, the state can often still prove a Domestic Violence case at trial with evidence such as:
- 911 recordings
- Police & witness testimony
- Dash or Body Cam footage
- Medical reports
A victim who has told the prosecutor they don’t want to press charges or won’t testify is a huge weakness in the state’s case. The prosecution may be more willing to play ball if they think they will lose at trial due to an uncooperative witness. However, a witness who is subpoenaed could face perjury charges if they lie on the stand. Additionally, you should never ask a victim not to testify, as discussed later in this article.
What is Prosecutorial Discretion in Cincinnati, Ohio?
Prosecutorial discretion is a cornerstone of the criminal justice system in Ohio and throughout the United States. Prosecutorial discretion is the idea that all charging decisions lie with the prosecutor.
A term that defense attorneys love to hear is “No Pros.” A “No Pros” means no prosecution. This is when someone is arrested, but the prosecutor decides not to press charges. This is exclusively up to the prosecutor. The prosecutor can proceed with or without the cooperation of the victim.
What is Witness Tampering in Cincinnati, Ohio?
You should never ask a witness not to press charges in Ohio. In fact, you should never discuss your case with any victims or witnesses. This could implicate you in a serious crime called “Intimidation of a Witness or Victim.”
Intimidation of a Witness or Victim can be charged as either a First Degree Misdemeanor or a Third Degree Felony. It is a misdemeanor if the state can prove you knowingly attempted to intimidate or hinder a witness from testifying or pressing charges. A First Degree Misdemeanor is punishable by up to 180 days jail.
Intimidation of a Witness or Victim is a Third Degree Felony if the state can prove you knowingly used force or a threat of harm to influence a witness or victim. A Third Degree Felony is punishable by 9 months prison minimum and 3 years prison maximum.
Prosecutors are always on the lookout for possible witness/victim intimidation. They are quick to file these charges in Domestic Violence cases especially. Prosecutors are highly skilled at taking any conversation about a case and turning it into illegal witness intimidation. This is why you should never, ever discuss your case with a victim or witness.
You need experienced legal counsel to fight for your best interest. Going it alone is a recipe for trouble. Get in touch with a Cincinnati criminal defense lawyer for help with your case.
Contact the Cincinnati Domestic Violence Lawyers at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Cincinnati
600 Vine Street, Suite 1004
Cincinnati, OH 45202