Wake County Domestic Violence Case Dismissed
Domestic Violence (DV) cases are difficult for everyone. Prosecutors often have trouble determining issues such as self-defense, and in the domestic context there is almost always more to the story. I have won acquittals in several jury trials on Domestic Violence allegations, successfully arguing on one occasion that the complaining witness was biased and couldn't keep her story straight, and on another occasion that the arrest was based upon a misunderstanding by the arresting officer.
More common than trial wins, though, are cases where the necessary witness/alleged victim for whatever reason decides not to come to court in support of the charges. Without admissible testimony, there is no way for prosecutors to prove any criminal charge- in most cases the only witness besides the alleged victim is the responding officer, who usually did not witness any act of violence. If the witness/ alleged victim does not come to court, the case must eventually be dismissed. In Wake County, at least, the Court is usually keen on providing the State at least one continuance to try and get their witness to court; sometimes they get two. After two prosecution continuances, it is rare that a Court will allow another government continuance over the Defendant's objection.
Recently both my client and his longtime girlfriend were arrested after an incident involving alcohol. Although the arresting officer could not make that determination immediately after the dustup, the prosecution decided my client was the aggressor. However, the alleged victim was unable to remember the details of the incident, and the prosecutor chose to dismiss the case. If the matter had proceeded to trial, we expected the evidence to show that my client was in fact the victim and only used force necessary to restrain his girlfriend to prevent her from continuing to hit him.
DV cases exist in their own world. Even if an alleged victim decides that he or she was not in fact assaulted, the prosecution may proceed to trial based on the availability of other evidence. The most important first step in one of the cases is addressing the issue of bond- it is very difficult to adequately defend a case from inside a jail! Other important issues may be the existence of outside witnesses, or evidence that might be routinely destroyed (such as surveillance camera video that is often recorded over). For these reasons, it is important to get an experienced defense attorney involved in your case as soon as possible after an arrest. If you or a loved one is facing a DV accusation, give us a call at 919-828-1456 for a free short telephone call to determine whether we can help!
Practice area(s): Criminal Defense
Court: Wake County District Court