When you have been charged with domestic violence or general assault and the alleged victim wishes to drop the assault charges, you might think it’s as simple as making a phone call to the police. However, it is not the police who file assault charges, so what can you do to get the charges dismissed? In short, you have no control since these responsibilities fall to another party – the District Attorney, or DA.
In Colorado, the District Attorney (also known as the DA or Prosecutor) can control which charges are filed and which are dropped. It does not fall within the alleged victim’s rights to press charges or drop charges. Consequently, the DA may file and pursue domestic violence charges even if the alleged victim does not agree and wishes to get the charges dropped.
If you were the alleged victim of a domestic violence assault, or if someone you love was unfairly charged with assault, you may want to know your legal options to get the case dropped or dismissed.
While the Colorado attorneys at Wolf Law LLC can’t ensure the end result of any assault case, we can ensure that we will use our compassion, years of experience, and diligence to strive for the best result possible. Contact us today for more information on assault cases.
The Relationship Between Colorado Police and Prosecutors
A criminal case begins when the police find probable cause to arrest someone for a crime and file a police arrest report. The report will contain details about the case, such as dates, times, witnesses, and the alleged criminal behavior. This report is then given to the prosecutor who is responsible for determining what criminal charges, if any, will be formally filed against the accused.
If the case is taken all the way to the courtroom, the prosecutor will represent the state, and a criminal defense attorney can represent the person facing charges. For domestic violence cases the steps are basically the same, with extra attention given to a mandatory protection order.
Additionally, whether the alleged aggressor had faced a trial or jail time previously will be considered, as well as the evidence related to the person’s most recent arrest. If the alleged aggressor has a domestic violence conviction on his or her criminal record, especially one with physical harm or a deadly weapon involved, getting the case dismissed may be less likely.
From the time when a police officer is called to the time when charges are formally filed against a person, the police must file their report, and the DA must make a charge determination. The Police Department and District Attorney’s Office maintain a working relationship, as each criminal case that gets prosecuted in Colorado involves both of these parties. The inner workings of these two entities are often difficult for outsiders to navigate.
Well-established criminal defense lawyers, though, have the advantage of experience when it comes to dealing with the prosecutorial side of Colorado law. They will know what information is especially pertinent to the District Attorney when deciding whether to file charges or drop a domestic violence case, such as whether a case of self-defense could be proven.
The accomplished Denver criminal defense attorneys of Wolf Law offer free case consultations to help you understand your options in the face of a domestic violence assault case.
How Charges for Assault Get Filed
After someone has been arrested for domestic violence or another kind of assault, the District Attorney’s Office generally has about three business days to decide whether or not to file criminal charges.
The DA’s Office will conduct a review of the case details, and this review results in one of the following outcomes:
- Charges are formally filed
- Charges are dismissed
- Additional investigation is needed before a filing decision can be made
Domestic violence cases, like any other criminal charge in Colorado, can only be filed by the District Attorney or prosecutor. While informed by the police reports, the prosecutor has the power to file fewer, different, or more charges as he or she sees fit.
This decision-making process is guided by the “beyond a reasonable doubt” principle, meaning that the prosecutor could convince a jury, in a court of law, that these crimes were committed by this person and secure an assault conviction. It might also be considered whether the lawyer for the defendant could argue self-defense.
While some prosecutors may take witness and alleged victim statements, physical evidence, and certain circumstances into account when making their filing determination, they are not obligated to do so. Neither the person who allegedly committed the assault nor the alleged victim of said assault has the power to make the prosecution drop the charges if they wish to file criminal charges of assault or domestic violence.
However, the District Attorney must believe that the case could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law, which may be difficult if the alleged victim of domestic violence wishes for the charges to be dropped.
Where to Find Answers to Your Assault Questions
When enough evidence stacks up against you, and you find yourself or a loved one facing an assault charge – perhaps filed by the prosecution against the wrong person, or for a crime you did not commit – it can feel like the law is not on your side. That’s where criminal defense lawyers come in.
Even a misdemeanor charge can carry up to one year in jail time, but a criminal defense lawyer can help your charges be dropped, or lowered.
The smartest way to navigate any local criminal defense process involving the courts is to hire a qualified Denver assault attorney with direct experience in a range of domestic violence and assault cases. A defense attorney is a non-prosecution lawyer; we work on your side to build you a proper defense, get your charges reduced, and help you avoid jail for a crime you don’t deserve to be punished for.
Wolf Law LLC has helped others who faced domestic violence charges to defend their rights and seek to get their assault charges dropped. If you’re in the Denver Metro area or elsewhere in Colorado and you need an excellent and compassionate criminal defense lawyer to defend your rights, get in touch with us. Contact us or call 720-479-8574 to schedule a free consultation to talk about your options.