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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27467
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I was charged with 273.5(a) this is my first offense

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I was charged with 273.5(a) this is my first offense for domestic violence. I have never been arrested before. I grabbed my girlfriend in the arms as we were arguing for financial reason, she freaked out we landed on the bed, I put my hand over her mouth so she wouldn’t scream, but she was so freaked out that (when she was being interviewed by police she said that my hand was covering her mouth and had a hard time breathing). I let go, we both stood up, we calmed down and called the police while i was standing by door in our room. During the time we were arguing, she said that I had threaten her and kids that I would k** her and that I knew where her kids go to school. We both don’t have much recollection of our argument as this was the first time me and her got into it. She went to the station to drop charges but it was too late. The only marks she had were the ones from her arm when I held her, I did not striker, slap her or anything other than grabbing her arm. 2 weeks later she called me, we talked, and we are back living together. I never been arrested and have no idea what to expect, I have a 8 year daughter which DCS already did a case and was dismissed as no proof of my child being in danger while being with me(she was at apt when we were arguing). I have been so nervous because I have no idea what to expect. The police officer was either trying to make sure I stayed calmed that he was telling me that it wasn’t a big deal, that he didn’t see too much, but unfortunately he had to arrest me. Of course I guess on his report, I was charged with the biggest domestic violence charge,(corporal injury) and I understand that is because I left a bruise in my girlfriends arm,, but during the whole arrest, he kept saying not to worry, all I had to do was go to court and they would drop my charge as long as I take some anger management classes. Anyway, this has been so confusing, and every time I think about it, my stomach feels horrible. I know what I did was wrong, I admit I grabbed her so we could talk, but I know I should of never done that. I have apologized to my girl friend and that is why she’s back. She believes in me.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 2 years ago.
My name is ***** ***** I am an experienced criminal lawyer.
Your girlfriend may believe in you, but she went to the police and you are going to have to deal with the charges against you. Just because she apparently has forgiven you doesn't mean that you are not under court mandate. The DA can choose to go forward with this case whether your girlfriend wants to or not.
The fact is that once a person involves the police in a domestic dispute, not only must the police make an arrest but the case does not belong to the complainant any more. It belongs to the DA, and the DA is free to decide for himself what he wants to do about this case.
If your girlfriend doesn't want to prosecute, she has to let the prosecutor know. They are still entitled to press charges, whether you both like it or not, but she is their star witness on the case and so her input is still important.
She should start by contacting the prosecutor's office and finding out who is the DA who is assigned to handle the case against you. Then she should go -- in person is best -- and tell that DA that she is not interested in cooperating in this prosecution, that she doesn't need a protective order, that she is not concerned about safety issues, that you and she want to work this out together without the assistance of the court. She needs to let the prosecutor know that she wants the case against you dismissed.
In my experience, the odds are close to 100% that the prosecutor will tell her that it's too late for that and that once a domestic violence matter is filed with the court, it becomes the state's case and not hers any more. The state can choose to go forward with the case whether the original complainant cooperates or not. He will also tell her that if she refuses to cooperate, he can subpoena her, bring her into court in handcuffs, if necessary, put her on the stand and require her to testify. These facts are perfectly true.
Realistically speaking, however, unless there are other witnesses or medical evidence, prosecutors usually can't win their domestic violence case without the cooperation of their key witness. So if she sticks to her guns and refuses to change her mind, and if she doesn't make herself available to the prosecutor, most of them will eventually opt to cut their losses, once they are sure that nobody has forced the complainant to drop the charges, and once they are sure that the complainant is going to be safe.
To expedite the resolution of this case, you will need a criminal lawyer to defend you in court. Once you have one, she will need to talk to your lawyer. She can let him or her know that she has been trying to drop charges but that the prosecutor won't let her and that she doesn't want to cooperate or go forward with the case. Your lawyer will bring this to the attention of the court, as the lawyer and you want the same thing: for your husband's case to be dismissed.
Not always but usually, when the complainant and the defense lawyer join forces to double-team a prosecutor to convince him to drop charges, something favorable to the defendant, even if it's not a direct dismissal, can be worked out. In part, this is often because the judge will get impatient and eventually get into the act and tell the prosecutor that he ought to resolve this and stop wasting the court's time with a case that is clearly going nowhere.