No Charges Filed Domestic Violence: What It Truly Means for Your Case

No Charges Filed at Arraignment

3 Important Points

  1. Charging Discretion and Process: If no charges are filed on your domestic violence case during the arraignment, it doesn’t necessarily mean the case is dismissed. The reasons can range from the agency not receiving a police report, the case still being under review, or it being sent back for further investigation. It’s your responsibility to periodically visit the prosecutor’s office and check the status of your case.
  2. Factors Influencing the Decision: For a domestic violence case to proceed, several elements need to align. These include the credibility of the victim, sufficient evidence to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, and consistent statements from all involved parties. Any inconsistencies or lack of credible witnesses can prevent the case from moving forward.
  3. Statute of Limitations and Case Follow-Up: Even if a case isn’t filed immediately, it can still be filed within the statute of limitations which is typically one year for misdemeanors. If your case isn’t filed on the day of court, it’s essential to proactively follow up, either by calling the prosecutor’s office every couple of weeks or seeking legal consultation.

Navigating the intricacies of a domestic violence case, especially when no charges are filed, can be a daunting experience. Understanding the prosecutor’s discretion, the various factors influencing their decision, and the importance of the statute of limitations is crucial. This article dives deep into the realm of domestic violence cases, shedding light on the various scenarios and implications that one might face.

How Prosecuting Attorneys Make Charging Decisions on You Domestic Violence Case

The prosecutor has discretion to decide whether to charge you with a crime and you may have been given a citation when you bailed out with a court date. A few things could happen on your arraignment date (first day) at court. Your case may be on calendar but on the other hand you may not see it and it is not filed on your arraignment date. If you found out no charges were filed on your domestic violence case it can mean a number of things. You will most likely be sent to the Orange County District Attorneys’ office to get an information sheet to show that you showed up to court.

1) When you showed to court you were told that there was no case. It may take months before they file charges against you and they have not received any paperwork from the agency.

2) They are currently reviewing the case

They will likely ask the court for another date and have you show up. If don’t show up then you will get a warrant for your domestic violence case.

3) The case got sent back for further investigation. –

DA No File Notice

What does it mean when you are arrested or had police contact but no criminal charges were filed?

Insufficient Evidence

Often times when there is a domestic violence incident the evidence can be very weak. For example, it was only a slap and there was no mark. In addition, the accused denied slapping or did not make any statements. These types of facts lends itself to cases not being filed. This lack of evidence makes it hard to  prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial in the criminal courts. 

If they cannot meet this burden, then the defendant must be acquitted. In many cases the prosecutor will just chose not file the case in the first place instead of going thru with the hassle of putting it on calendar to dismiss it later. 

The Victim Is Not Credible

Domestic violence charges may not move forward with formal charges if the prosecutors feels that the victim is not credible.  This can include the history of the victim and the number of times they called in the past in regards to domestic violence offenses. Whether the victim has faked physical injuries by hitting themselves and tried to use it to push forward with formal charges. 

 These things all come together in a calculus the prosecutor and law enforcement officers call the totality of the circumstance. They will  form an opinion on whether there is sufficient evidence to make a case that a domestic violence arrest was justified and whether they can prove a domestic battery in court beyond a reasonable doubt.  At the end of the day, if the answer is yes then they will file the case and your case will be on calendar on the arraignment hearing date, if not then the case will result in no charges being filed. 

Inconsistent Statements

In some cases, it may be difficult to prove whether a person has committed domestic violence if they give inconsistent statements. A skilled criminal defense attorneys will be able to take advantage of this common domestic violence issue. One of the more common Domestic Violence Defenses are using inconsistent statement problems often manifest themselves in an uncooperative victim. The victim would often take the 5th and or chose not to testify in court against the accused. This is a strong defense strategy to counter the physical assault. California Penal Code 1219 is available for victims of domestic violence and allows caps the penalties for not testifying in court. Prosecutors will recognize this and take this into consideration when making a decision to consider if they can make a domestic violence conviction or not. If they not then they will not file the domestic violence case. 

Common examples, if a woman says she was assaulted by her husband but then later tells police he never touched her, this could weaken the prosecution’s case.If a man claims his wife attacked him in self defense but later admits he pushed her away, this could mean he doesn’t actually believe she was acting in self defense.

Lack of Independent Witnesses

If you were assaulted by someone who has a history of violence and often says they are the victim , it may be difficult to find independent witnesses to testify. In some cases, the prosecutor will not take action unless they receive corroborating witness statements.

Compelling Reject Request Letter Written By Attorney

The letter should be written by an experienced defense attorney  who has experience writing letters like this one. It should include details about why the case should be sent back for further investigation , the holes in the investigation, what additional information is needed for filing, what the police officer should have done (inquired more about the visible injuries),  and what steps they need to take to correct it to get it ready to file so it can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt under the existing domestic violence laws. If the letter resonates with the filing prosecutor then they may make the decision not to file the case. 

Cases can be filed anytime within the Statute of Limitations of each Crime

The statute of limitations is the amount of time after which a person cannot be prosecuted for a crime. In California for misdemeanors the period is 1 year and it can vary for felonies. There are a number of reasons whey cases are not filed on time. Domestic violence charges are cases that often fall into this category and are not filed on time. 

If your case was not filed on the day of court then it is important to know that it can still be filed anytime within the statue of limitations. For misdemeanors it is 1 year and for felonies it will go higher. In Orange County, you will can go to the District Attorney’s Office or give their office a call to check on your case every 2 weeks. Alternatively, you can also speak with a criminal defense attorney at 714-589-3063 about getting your arrest sealed.

What does it mean when I am told “no charges filed” at my arraignment for a domestic violence case?

At your arraignment for a domestic violence case, being told that no charges are filed means that at that specific date and time, there’s nothing on file for you in the courtroom. However, this doesn’t signify that the case is rejected. It might indicate that the agency hasn’t received a police report, the case is still under review, or it was sent back for further investigation.

If no charges were filed on my initial court date, is my case completely dismissed?

No, if no charges were identified on that date, the process might still be ongoing. This could be due to police officers occasionally underestimating the workload at the local prosecutor’s office. Sometimes they set a date too early, preventing the prosecutor from preparing in time for the court date. In Orange County, there’s a 25 to 40% chance that a case won’t be filed on the date of citation. If this occurs, it’s your responsibility to visit the prosecutor’s office periodically, check the status of your case, and follow up with the District Attorney’s office every two weeks.

What are the common reasons prosecutors might decide not to file charges in a domestic violence case?

If a decision is made not to file a case regarding domestic violence, various factors might be at play. The alleged victim might lack credibility, or the police documentation could be incomplete. If the paperwork is lacking or insufficient, the prosecutor might send it back for further investigation. The police might then complete the report, conduct follow-up interviews, and provide additional information before the case is reassessed.

How does the credibility of the victim influence the prosecutor’s decision to charge someone?

A victim’s credibility in a domestic violence case is crucial for establishing proof. If they’ve previously filed a false police report or had numerous calls that resulted in no action, their truthfulness might be questioned. If a victim is deemed untruthful, it influences the ability to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. If a prosecutor believes they can’t establish this level of proof, they might opt not to file the case.

What are inconsistent statements, and how do they impact a domestic violence case?

Inconsistent statements in a domestic violence context refer to contradictory declarations. These discrepancies, evident during interviews or past interactions, suggest two implausible sides of a story. Such contradictions can make listeners doubt the speaker’s truthfulness, especially if the person is a victim accusing the defendant of physical harm.

What happens if a victim chooses not to testify in court against the accused?

If a victim decides not to testify against the accused, it can weaken the prosecution’s case. However, this doesn’t invalidate the prosecution’s case if the defendant has made certain admissions. The Crawford family of cases permits certain statements if made during emergencies. Courts often have a more inclusive definition of emergencies than defense attorneys might prefer.

How can a “Reject Request Letter” from an attorney influence the prosecutor’s decision?

A reject request letter can highlight the weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, potentially saving time by preventing the advancement of a case that would be dismissed anyway.

What is the “statute of limitations,” and how does it apply to my domestic violence case?

The statute of limitations is the timeframe during which the prosecution can charge a defendant. For misdemeanor cases, it’s typically one year. However, for potential felony domestic violence cases, it extends to three years.

If my case wasn’t filed on the day of court, when should I expect it to be filed?

If your case wasn’t filed on the court day, anticipate it being filed within the year. The exact timing within that year is challenging to pinpoint. Generally, you’ll receive a notification by mail when your case is filed. Since mail can be lost, it’s wise to call the prosecutor’s office every two to three weeks. On average, cases are usually filed between 45 to 75 days after the initial date.

How often should I check with the District Attorney’s Office about my case if charges aren’t immediately filed?

It’s recommended to check in every two to three weeks.

Can I get my arrest sealed if no charges are filed against me, and how would I go about doing that?

Yes, if no charges are filed against you in your domestic violence case, you can have your arrest sealed. To proceed, consult with an attorney and inquire about sealing your case under Penal Code 851.91.

A “No Charges Filed Domestic Violence” case isn’t necessarily the end of the road. Whether you’re a victim or accused, it’s imperative to understand the multifaceted nature of these cases. Proactivity, from checking with the District Attorney’s office to seeking skilled legal counsel, can significantly influence the direction and outcome of your case.

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