Workers Compensation 101

« Back to Home

The Dangers Of Recanting A Domestic Violence Report

Posted on

You and your significant other got into a fight and the police ended up at the scene. You either said something in a moment of anger or felt pressured into filing a complaint - and your significant other was arrested on a domestic violence charge. You want to straighten out the mess and stop the process. Can you?

Someone Committed A Crime

Essentially, the problem is this: either your significant other committed a crime or you did (at least according to the prosecutor). In many jurisdictions, no matter what the circumstances that led to the arrest, if you try to change your statement, the prosecutor can put you on trial. The official charge is usually filing a false police report. The punishment can range from fines to jail time.

It's Seen As A Preventive Measure

Why would a prosecutor want to file charges against you, when you're the alleged victim of the domestic violence? The threat is a really a heavy-handed way of trying to prevent actual victims from recanting their testimonies out of fear of further violence by their attackers. The problem is that such tactics can also force a domestic violence charge to go forward by giving alleged "victims" no way out of a situation that's been unfairly escalated.

Refusal To Testify Won't Help

You can refuse to testify in court against your significant other, but you run the risk of being charged with obstruction or contempt of court. It also might not make any difference. Prosecutors in many jurisdictions are able to use the initial police report or anything you said at the scene of the incident in court, should you fail to appear or refuse to testify.

Finding A Defense

You aren't the first person who has ended up in a similar situation, and there may be good explanations for your earlier statements. For example, you may not have intentionally given police a false statement when they arrived on the scene if you were intoxicated and upset. You may have been venting or exaggerating, without realizing that everything was going to be included in a police report. 

Or, in another situation, you may have left out some information that changes the nature of the situation. For example, you may have gotten injured when your significant other tried to stop you from an act of violence -- in which case he or she was acting in self-defense. 

If you find yourself in the situation where you have become the unwitting "victim" in a domestic violence case, you need an attorney to represent you if you hope to stop the case from going forward. Talking to the police or the prosecutor yourself is dangerous, because you can end up charged with a crime, so you want to have a representative who understands the law do it for you. Speak with experts like Jeffrey D. Larson, Attorney at Law.