How Do I Get Charges Dropped In A Domestic Violence By Strangulation Case?

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

Welcome to Florida Criminal Law TV. I am your host Stephen G. Cobb, and again, it is casual Friday, which is pretty obvious by how I am dressed. I do not have court for a change and we are going to answer reader and user and watcher questions today for people who have read the website, used the materials that are on the website. And those who have been watching my television show, in this particular case for several years who ask me an interesting question that I did not plan today because as we are filming this, somebody actually called my office, my secretary called me and they said something pretty interesting, “I did not know you wore glasses. I have been watching your show for years”. Well, I do wear readers, now you know.

And the question was, “How do I get charges dropped for domestic violence by strangulation, which is a major felony by the way, if the only witness was my wife, she refused to let them take pictures and will not come to court?” Well, let’s answer that question because these are questions I run into all the time. And let me give you a breakdown of how that works. She will not come to court, or he will not come to court, yes, they will or there will be an order to show cause where they should not be held in contempt of court and sentenced to jail time. In a misdemeanor case, if someone is out of state, they can ignore an out-of-state subpoena. Let’s say that a couple comes down from Maryland, one of them gets accused of misdemeanor domestic violence, they go back to Maryland after the defendant post bond, and then the state sends the subpoena for the trial or for taking a sworn statement, whatever. Well, that witness who is out-of-state can ignore that subpoena because it is a misdemeanor subpoena. But notice how this question was formed. This question was formed involving domestic violence by strangulation, which is a major felony. So that out-of-state witness is still going to have to respond, still going to have to come to Florida or they can be held in contempt. And whether it is a misdemeanor or a felony, if they are local, they are going to have to come to court.

Now, questions like this are normally asked by people who are thinking to themselves, “I really do not want to spend a legal fee; I think I can handle this myself”. Let me assure you. If I had a dime for every time somebody called me up and said, “I thought I can handle my domestic by myself and I got this sentence 5 years ago, now I find I have the criminal history I cannot get rid of, what do I do?” And the answer is, it’s too late. If you or someone you love is accused of domestic violence, misdemeanor or felony and especially like right here, domestic violence by strangulation, you absolutely need competent legal counsel because as you are walking through the minefield of Florida Criminal Law, a domestic violence by strangulation is one of those cases that can really blow your life up. It can result in a felony conviction, prison time, probation after prison, more prison if there is a probation violation and worst of all, un-expungable criminal history which no one wants.

So, in a case like this where you obviously have a favorable complaining witness who the state will usually call a victim or the accuser, you want someone who knows what they are doing to handle that because that is good information. If the complaining witness does not want to prosecute, that does not mean the case is over. Since the beginning of my career in 1990, I have heard people say, “Well, how can they prove I am guilty of a domestic or a felony domestic because he or she will not show to court”. Yes, he or she will or will be found in contempt except for the example I gave about an out-of-state witness on a misdemeanor case. And secondly, you absolutely do need legal counsel. You do not run through a minefield without a guide hoping that the mines are marked so that you do not step on them and below a leg off. Well, as you are going through the minefield, that is Florida Criminal Law, you need somebody, preferably an expert and a proper defense team to guide you through that minefield so that you do not blow up your life or so that someone you love does not blow up theirs.

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.