Domestic violence cases are usually handed by a prosecutor training in handling these specific cases and are taken extremely serious in Maryland. Domestic violence cases are considered to be cases in which there is a relationship between the parties. It does not have to be a romantic relationship, but it is most often current or former couples, or family members. Often the victim mistakenly believes it is their choice as to whether charges are filed. While an individual can go to the commissioner’s office and apply for criminal charges, the police can also file charges.
Further, it is a common misconception that the victim decides whether the charges are dropped or if the case goes to trial. In fact, only the prosecutor has the authority to decide the direction of the case. The state can force the victim onto the witness stand and compel their testimony. The only exception to this is when the parties are married and the spouse has never previously refused to testify in an assault case involving the same defendant.
Even without the victim’s testimony, the prosecutor can still go forward with the case using the remainder of the evidence. For example, there may be a 911 tape, witnesses, photographs of injuries, statements made by the defendant, and other facts that can be used in court.
Therefore, it is very important that if you find yourself facing these allegations, you hire a strong and knowledgeable attorney to defend and protect your rights.