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If a domestic violence victim recants, does that close the case?

Many domestic violence charges boil down to one person's word against another's. Unfortunately, in these cases, police usually do not find clear evidence that a suspect violently touched a victim. As such, they have to rely on the testimony of the victim.

However, alleged domestic violence victims often recant their statement. In other words, they state that the domestic violence did not happen in the way originally described. Some may simply be reluctant to appear in court. While prosecutors normally claim this is because they are frightened, the reality is that some victims do not want to testify because they do not want to get in to trouble for lying to the police.

Unfortunately, for those accused of these serious allegations, an alleged victim's saying that the violence never happened, refusing to testify or even requesting that the charges be dropped will not automatically end a domestic violence case. Spokane County prosecutors are the ones who get to decide whether to charge someone with domestic violence once a police report is made. A victim cannot stop a criminal case from going forward.

Prosecutors also have ways of getting alleged victims to appear in court, including threats of contempt charges. Finally, police are aware that domestic violence reports are recanted, and they therefore make it a point to collect as much additional evidence as possible.

The fact a victim recants his or her statement does not automatically end a domestic violence case. But, it is still something a skilled Washington domestic violence defense attorney can use for building a solid defense against the charges.

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