Will a domestic assault and battery charged be dismissed if my wife does not wish to press charges?

As a Massachusetts criminal lawyer, the most frequently asked question regarding domestic assault and battery charges is will the case be dismissed if the victim does not wish to go forward. Criminal charges in Massachusetts are brought on behalf of the Commonwealth; once charges are brought it is no longer up to the victim to decide whether to prosecute the case.

In the vast majority of domestic assault and battery cases, the alleged victim does not wish to testify. However, the Commonwealth will typically not dismiss the case on the first court date, but will try to prove the case in the following ways:

  1. The Commonwealth may compel the victim to testify; this can occur if the victim does not have any privilege not to testify such as a martial privilege or 5th Amendment privilege;
  2. The Commonwealth may rely on the testimony of another witness who saw the encounter;
  3. The Commonwealth may attempt to offer the 911 call into evidence. If this occurs an objection can be made that this evidence violates your Sixth Amendment Right of Confrontation.
  4. Through admissions or statements made by the defendant.

A domestic assault and battery charge is a difficulty case to resolve given that district attorneys have special prosecutors to handle these cases and the high profile these cases receive in the media.

What complicates a domestic assault and battery charge is that often a prosecutor will offer a very restrictive probation to a defendant that wishes to resolve the charge even if the defendant has little or no record. This probation typically is a supervised probation with the requirement that a defendant complete the Certified Batter's Program, which is a very intensive program that many have difficulty successfully completing.

Any charge of domestic assault and battery should not be taken lightly even if the alleged victim does not wish to prosecute the case.

To learn more about Domestic Assault and Battery charges, you can call 781-686-5924 to discuss your case. You should also read the about other frequently asked questions and the Court Process to understand what lies ahead in defending your case.