California's No Drop Policy

Posted by Neil Shouse | Mar 23, 2010 | 0 Comments

Contrary to popular belief, it is the prosecutor, not the victim who determines whether to file or drop California domestic violence charges. Many California prosecuting agencies go so far as to subscribe to a “no drop” policy. This means that even if the victim doesn't want to “press charges”, the prosecutor will not “drop” the case.

There are two main reasons why prosecutors follow this protocol. The first is purely political. Due in large part to the O.J. Simpson murders trial, this state has vowed to take an aggressive stance on domestic violence charges.

The second has to do with a common phenomenon known as the recanting victim. “Recanting victims” are alleged victims of domestic abuse who change their stories once charges are officially filed.

The fact is that many victims initiate false spousal abuse charges and then decide they want to come clean. Unfortunately, by then it's too late. Prosecutors and the “no drop” policy oftentimes proceed on the incorrect assumption that the original report is true and that the victim is only changing her mind because (1) she is scared of the abuse she will face after testifying, and/or (2) she doesn't want to lose her financial support.

Because of this policy, it is a good idea for all parties involved in a domestic abuse case to consult with a skilled California domestic violence lawyer who knows the most effective ways to reconcile spousal battery cases before they get out of hand. (The law is similar in Nevada: Read our article, "Can a recanting victim stop a battery domestic violence criminal charge in Nevada?")

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Comments have been disabled.

Free attorney consultations...

The attorneys at Shouse Law Group bring more than 100 years collective experience fighting for individuals. We're ready to fight for you. Call us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 855-LAW-FIRM for a free case evaluation.

Regain peace of mind...

Shouse Law Defense Group has multiple locations throughout California. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Office Locations

Shouse Law Group has multiple locations all across California, Nevada, and Colorado. Click Office Locations to find out which office is right for you.

Call us 24/7 (855) 396-0370