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Can I drop the domestic violence charges against my spouse?

Anytime a spouse must deal with domestic violence in the marriage, it takes a huge toll on the entire family from spouses to children to other relatives. By nature, most people want to avoid public scrutiny about their domestic issues and this often prevents them from seeking legal solutions. Additionally, victims of domestic violence feel a compulsion to continue protecting the abuser, particularly if he or she is a spouse.

These feelings – worry over public humiliation and a desire to protect a loved one – sometimes cause the victim to want to drop the charges filed against the abuser. However, once the authorities become involved and domestic violence charges filed, it is no longer in the victim's power to simply have these charges dropped. Domestic violence is a crime and like all crimes, it will be dealt with by the state of Georgia. Essentially, the office of the prosecutor holds the only power and authority to drop domestic violence charges.

With that said, the victim can play a role in the final outcome of the case. The victim's testimony may be a key consideration in whether or not the prosecution chooses to move forward with the charges. Sometimes, victims are even asked by the court if they agree with decisions the state may make in the case.

While it is understandable why victims often want their domestic violence case to go away as quickly as possible, there could be dangerous repercussions if an abuser is not punished. Speaking with a Gwinnett County attorney about putting a protective or restraining order in place could prevent future violence and help keep the victim safe and the abuser out of jail by removing the opportunity for additional offenses.

Source: FindLaw, "Can the Victim Drop Domestic Violence Charges?," accessed Aug. 19, 2015

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