Pros and Cons: Prosecutorial “No Drop” Policies of Domestic Violence Cases

Over the last decade or so there has been a movement to change the way prosecutors handle domestic abuse cases. The prosecutorial policy changes have revolved around a “no drop” policy, which in essence keeps the victim of domestic violence from being able to withdraw the complaint once the charges have been filed. Such policy also gives the freedom to a prosecutor to continue or drop a case, even if a victim no longer wishes or refuses to testify against the batterer.

Domestic violence is a crime that affects people of all ages and the victim can be female or male, although female victims report abuse far more often. It is not particular to any sector and can occur in every social class. Domestic violence includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, assault and battery, verbal threats and stalking. The charges and a conviction of a domestic violence crime are extremely serious, with affects that haunt the perpetrator throughout their lifetime.

No drop policies have had their fair share of support and opposition. Those who advocate no drop policies point to a reduction in the dismissal of domestic violence cases. The dismissal rates of domestic violence cases normally decrease in such states compared to states that have not adopted no drop policies. Furthermore, when a person charged with domestic violence realizes that the victim has no control over whether a case is dismissed, and that the only person that can do that is the prosecutor, guilty pleas are often made.

On the other hand, those who object to no drop policies say they often make prosecutors proceed in cases that they are not likely to win, wasting prosecutorial resources. Another concern about such policies is that victims may be subjected to retaliation because of continued, aggressive efforts by the prosecutor to get a guilty plea or a conviction, even though the victim was not the one wishing to go forward. Finally, there is concern that victims will be subjected to even more violence because no drop policies inadvertently may cause them to refrain from calling police to report battering.

Make no mistake about it: domestic violence is serious business. Judges and prosecutors alike have disdain for individuals who are charged with domestic violence. In Michigan, the prosecutor is the only person who has the authority to drop the charges in a domestic violence case, and judges have considerable discretion when assessing punishment. Depending on the seriousness of a victim’s injuries, and the number of domestic violence convictions that an individual has, they will be charged with a misdemeanor or a felony, involving jail time, fines and a record. That is something that cannot be taken lightly.

If you or someone you know has been charged with domestic violence, you need to take swift and immediate steps to obtain the services of an experienced Michigan criminal attorney who can aggressively defend you to avoid a conviction, keep you out of jail entirely, minimize time spent and keep your record clean.

Scott Weinberg has a proven track record for taking on high profile cases and defending the rights of Michigan residents for 25 years. Not only is he held in high esteem by the judiciary and his peers, he is consistently called upon as an expert commentator on television and radio shows, including having his own show, “Weinberg On The Law.”

Contact us to schedule a confidential meeting to discuss your particular case and how we should proceed.

Other Resources:

Michigan State Police – Domestic Violence Awareness