Criminal Defense

How to Successfully Recant a Domestic Violence Statement

August 22, 2023 by Madison Ferguson in Criminal Defense  
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How to Successfully Recant a Domestic Violence Statement

To recant a statement signifies retracting, withdrawing, or disowning it. There are many different motives for individuals to desire to retract a statement. Maybe the individual, being under stress, uttered something and later acknowledged that they had made some factual errors. At times, they prefer to avoid getting entangled in legal proceedings. Several factors prompt individuals to retract their statements, such as:

  • The police provided an inaccurate account of the witness’s statement.
  • The witness either had a faulty recollection or made an incorrect statement;
  • Witness lied
  • The witness wishes to avoid any participation in the case against the defendant.
  • The defendant exerted undue influence on the witness to manipulate their statement.
  • The witness desires for the case to conclude and things to return to how they were before.

There are numerous motives for an individual to desire to retract a statement about domestic violence given to the police.

The police and prosecutors attach great importance to a witness who attempts to retract or modify their statement. However, prosecutors are generally not inclined to allow individuals to escape justice for their crimes. They might suspect the accused manipulated or pressured the alleged victim into retracting their statements. As a result, depending on the circumstances, it is not uncommon for prosecutors to accuse a witness who withdraws or changes their statement by charging them with a criminal offense. The recanting witness may potentially be confronted with criminal allegations such as:

  • False reporting
  • Interference with law
  • Perjury.

Another consequence for victims who receive a subpoena to testify in court but fail to appear is being found in contempt of court. This can result in the court issuing an arrest warrant, as contempt of court carries potential jail time and fines.

If you wish to retract a statement, it is advisable to seek guidance from one of our legal professionals. You are represented by an independent lawyer, meaning they work for you and not for the defendant. The lawyer can guide the process of retracting a statement and inform you about any potential consequences that might be relevant to your situation.

Tips for Effectively Recanting a Domestic Violence Statement

Despite the challenges, reversing a statement on domestic violence becomes feasible when the purported victim signs a non-prosecution affidavit. This is a legal declaration from the potential victim outlining that they:

  • Decline to testify against the defendant.
  • Oppose the sentencing of the accused.
  • Requesting the prosecution’s dismissal of all charges.
  • Willingly sign the affidavit without having faced any criminal threats or being forced into making this choice.

Submitting an affidavit of non-prosecution doesn’t automatically dismiss the case in California. Nevertheless, the prosecutor will consider this matter while determining the optimal approach for everyone involved. The victim’s decision not to testify can hinder the prosecutor’s chances of winning the case, leading to the possibility of the prosecution dropping all charges against the defendant.

Will recanting a statement end a criminal case?

This is not always true but can happen in cases where the evidence is not sufficient without the victim’s testimony, and the accused had no prior criminal history. Even if you don’t testify, the police and prosecutor might encounter challenges in prosecuting the case, but they could potentially rely on alternative evidence.

Additional forms of evidence could involve:

  • The defendant’s remarks to the authorities,
  • The observations made by the police officer in response,
  • Medical evidence that provides proof of any physical injuries
  • Another recording, such as a 911 call that has been documented
  • Additional testimonies.

When determining whether to proceed with a domestic violence case, the prosecutor will also take into account the defendant’s previous criminal history. The defendant’s previous behavior becomes significant, especially if their prior convictions are related to domestic violence. This becomes even more important if the prosecutor intends to present evidence of these prior crimes to the jury. However, whether these past convictions will be considered admissible during the trial depends on the state law and the prosecutor’s strategy for proving the case.

Even if the complaining witness withdraws their statement, a case will still be prosecuted by a prosecutor if sufficient evidence exists. Furthermore, as previously mentioned, it is possible that you could face legal action for committing an offense. Therefore, increase your confidence by consulting a lawyer before retracting a statement.

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Seppi Esfandi is an Expert Attorney who has over 22 years of practice defending a variety of cases.

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Lara S.
December 3, 2019
Seppi had my case reduced to just an infraction, and thanks to him I was able to keep my job. Jorge was extremely helpful too, the reason I went with this law firm. Overall pleased.

How to Win Your Case

We cannot stress enough that you read, understand and follow these 10 basic rules if you are criminally charged or under investigation:

  1. Don’t ever talk to the police
  2. Do not discuss your case with anyone
  3. Everything you tell your lawyer is confidential
  4. Tell police you need to contact your attorney
  5. Never consent to any search by the police
  6. If the police knock on your door, don't answer!
  7. Realize the consequences of a criminal conviction
  8. Your lawyer (not you) will contact any witnesses
  9. Information on your cell phone is evidence
  10. Early Intervention is the key

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