Will My Case Be Dismissed if the Victim Refuses to Cooperate?

In our experience, one of the most frequent inquiries we receive from clients pertains to Domestic Battery cases. While having a cooperative victim or complaining witness is advantageous, it’s imperative to understand that cooperation doesn’t guarantee case dismissal or a win for the Defendant.

Co-operation Issues

Lawyers Edwardsville IL

The trajectory of your criminal case initiates with your arrest by law enforcement. For misdemeanor charges, the police pursue what they believe can be substantiated in court. In felony cases, the police collaborate with the prosecutor’s office to assess the facts and evidence, thereafter filing appropriate charges. While the victim’s input is often pivotal, it doesn’t singularly dictate the filing or progression of criminal charges. Prosecutors wield discretion and uphold ethical obligations in determining whether to file charges, the nature of charges, or whether to dismiss the case, irrespective of the victim’s wishes. Notably, judges lack the authority to dismiss charges solely due to victim non-cooperation.

Instances like these frequently arise in Domestic Violence cases, where the victim shares a relationship with the defendant and may opt against repercussions for the defendant, consequently not appearing in court. While seemingly advantageous for the defendant, it doesn’t ensure case dismissal or victory. Prosecutors retain the right to proceed without the victim’s testimony, contingent upon other available evidence. We’ve witnessed cases where prosecutors pressed forward despite victim non-cooperation, leveraging alternative witnesses, defendant statements, or video evidence.

Though the victim’s cooperation doesn’t guarantee case dismissal, it typically enhances the defendant’s position. Their cooperation facilitates favorable resolutions through negotiation with the prosecutor. Prosecutors typically prioritize the victim’s wishes when determining case outcomes, as they have a duty to advocate for their rights.

What Do We Recommend?

We advise clients facing Domestic Battery charges to maintain positive relationships with the victim or complaining witness. Having a cooperative complaining witness significantly bolsters the defendant’s stance, particularly in Domestic Violence cases. Additionally, fostering goodwill with the victim bears no downside.

If you are in the Belleville, IL area, contact Elovitz Law Office today for a consultation about your case.

Share This Post

More To Explore

Skip to content