Dropping Domestic Violence Charges in New York

My Wife Wants To Drop the Charges

On approximately 75% of the domestic violence cases that I handle (e. g., Assault, Aggravated Harassment, Contempt, etc.), my clients inform me that their wives/girlfriends/baby’s moms want to “drop the charges.” Unfortunately, the District Attorney’s Office will not play along. In fact, on certain cases, the D.A.’s Office actually will attempt to win a trial without the star witness ever coming to court. This is how crazy domestic violence cases have become in the New York metropolitan area in the early part of the 21st Century.

The Process

Criminal Procedure Law section 30.30 states that the D.A.’s Office must file a corroborating affidavit/supporting deposition within 90 days of the arraignment or the case will be dismissed. This is a simple piece of paper which states that the complainant (in a domestic violence case, that’s usually the wife, girlfriend or baby’s mother) has read the Complaint and that the allegations contained therein are true and accurate. Thus, shortly after the arraignment, the assigned assistant district attorney (“ADA”) will either mail the paper to the complainant or schedule an appointment to meet with the complainant face-to-face.

If the ADA convinces the complainant to sign the document, then the ADA will file it with the court. If the complainant refuses to sign, then the ADA will try to utilize the Domestic Incident Report (“DIR”) that most complainants fill-out and sign when the police arrive at the scene. Most judges accept the DIR in lieu of the corroborating affidavit. Once the affidavit or the DIR has been filed with the court, the D.A.’s Office can go forward with the case WITHOUT the help of the complainant. You read that correctly. I’ve seen it done on dozens of cases.

At the time of trial, the D.A.’s Office will try to scare the complainant into cooperating by serving her with a subpoena. The subpoena will have big, bold language on the bottom stating that failure to comply may result in an arrest on criminal contempt charges. This, quite naturally, presents a big problem, especially if her husband/boyfriend/baby’s daddy actually kicked, punched, smacked or pushed her.

What You Can Do

That is why people arrested on these types of charges need to have an experienced domestic violence defense attorney by their side. These types of cases have become very complicated and require a certain level of expertise. I have helped hundreds of people escape from this tangled web. Contact me now to schedule a free consultation.