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Can You Drop Charges Against Someone Before Court

Can You Drop Charges Against Someone Before Court | Justice Family Lawyers

While a victim cannot directly drop charges against someone before the court in Australia, they can file a Statement of No Complaint to express their desire not to proceed with the case. 

Who Holds the Decision to Press and Drop Charges?

First, it’s important to understand that in most cases, victims don’t have the power to drop charges on their own.

Once an offence has been reported and the evidence has been gathered, it is up to the police to decide whether or not to press charges. This is based on the idea that offences are crimes against society as a whole, not just against one person. So, the state, which the police and the court, is in charge of getting justice. This means that even if the victim wants the charges to be dropped, the police and court may still proceed with prosecution if they feel they have a good case.

For instance, domestic violence is considered a serious crime and a matter of public concern; it’s more than just a private matter between the involved parties. If you are a victim of domestic violence in Australia, you may be able to withdraw your statement and ask the Police to drop the charges against the accused. However, the decision to drop the charges is ultimately up to the Police and the court system.

With that being said, it’s also true that the victim or the person who reported the crime play a big role in the way that the case proceeds.  

If the victim doesn’t want to testify or give more proof, the court may choose not to proceed, but this isn’t always the case.

The Police and court will still consider various factors before deciding. Factors such as the severity of the incident, the history of abuse, the victim’s safety, and the public interest may be considered.

In some cases, the victim’s wishes may still be considered. Sometimes, the court may decide not to proceed if the victim is unwilling to cooperate. They will also decide to drop it if there is insufficient evidence.

Each case is unique, and the final decision will depend on the specific circumstances.

What is a Statement of No Complaint?

A Statement of No Complaint is a written document provided by the alleged victim of a crime expressing their desire not to proceed with the charges against the accused.

This statement tells the authorities that the person who initially reported the crime, or who was directly affected by it, no longer wishes to pursue the matter in court.

A Statement of No Complaint may help in some situations, but it doesn’t mean the charges against the person in question will be dropped.

In the end, it’s up to the police to decide whether to move forward with pressing charges. The police will need to consider a number of factors before when deciding how to proceed. 

By giving the police a Statement of No Complaint, the victim is telling them they no longer want to press charges. The police and the court can consider this statement when they look at the case, but this is not the only factor that they will consider. They will also think about how bad the claimed offence was if the public wants the case to go to court and if the victim or other people could be in danger.

In some situations, especially those involving less serious crimes, and where the evidence depends heavily on the victim’s testimony, a Statement of No Complaint may result in the police withdrawing the charge.

In more complex cases, like domestic violence or sexual assault, the court may decide not to withdraw AVO to proceed even if the victim made a Statement of No Compliant.  The police may consider the victims change of mind as a result of their fear of the perpetrator, and accordingly they may pursue the charge as a way to protect the victim.  

It’s important to remember that making a Statement of No Complaint could have consequences. If the court believes the statement was made under pressure or duress, or in AVO cases involving false claims, they may decide to proceed with the case.

It is also important to understand that giving false information or statements to law enforcement is a crime by and of itself and could lead to the person who made the original report being charged.

Conclusion

Question: Can You Drop Charges Against Someone Before Court?

Answer: While a victim cannot directly drop charges against someone before the court in Australia, they can file a Statement of No Complaint to express their desire not to proceed with the case. 

The victim or person who filed a complaint can’t drop charges alone. The police will examine the proof and decide whether it is in the public’s best interest to proceed with the case. This means that even if the victim wants “the charges to be dropped,” the police may still proceed if they think they have a good case.

Need Guidance On How to Drop an AVO Before Court?

At Justice Family Lawyers, we understand the complexity of AVOs and ADVOs, and we are committed to providing our clients with the highest quality legal advice and representation. 

Our AVO lawyers and practitioners are highly experienced and knowledgeable, and we are committed to helping our clients receive the best possible outcome.

26 thoughts on “Can You Drop Charges Against Someone Before Court”

    1. Jacqueline Irving

      Hi I’m just wondering if yous could please help me I pressed charges on my ex partner to please and I don’t want to go ahead with charges anymore I just want to drop charges my ex partner is on tag until he attends court on 24 th January I’m just wanting everything dropped but I’m scared to tell police wat can I do

      1. In Australia, once an offence has been reported and evidence gathered, it’s ultimately up to the police and the court to decide whether to press charges. This applies even if the victim later wishes to drop the charges. In cases of domestic violence, these incidents are considered serious crimes and matters of public concern, not just private matters between involved parties. Therefore, the decision to drop the charges is ultimately up to the police and the court system, even if you withdraw your statement.

        If a victim withdraws their statement in a domestic violence case (such as an Apprehended Domestic Violence Order or ADVO), the police or court will assess the situation, considering the remaining evidence and the risk to the victim. The outcome can vary: the case may be dismissed, or the police may pursue the case without the victim’s statement.

        If you’re considering withdrawing your statement or have concerns about proceeding with the case, please contact us and we can assist.

  1. I have an ADVO which the police have initiated against my daughter. I seek legal guidance as the hearing is on Tuesday, 29/8. I have requested that the ADVO be withdrawn but the Domestic Violence Officer stated that no withdrawal is possible for 12 months. I told police on the night of the incident that I did not want to have my daughter charged. They stated that since our statements were conflicting, they would issue an AVO. Please contact me on 0401 841 158 to discuss what course of action needs to be taken.

  2. My son has been charged with domestic violence. I am his mother and the charges are in place from myself. However I don’t want these charges to proceed. How can I get them dropped

    1. It will be up to the police and court to decide whether to drop domestic violence charges based on the evidence that has been presented to them. There are a few options you can try to seek to have the charges withdrawn. Before doing so, ensure that your safety if prioritised and the decision is not influenced by coercion from your ex partner.

      You can then contact the police and explain that you wish to retract or modify your statement as well as your reasons for doing so. You may also wish to attend the court hearing so that the Magistrate can take into account your version of events. There are, however, implications of withdrawing or modifying your statement so it is advisable that you first consult with an experienced solicitor before undertaking these steps.

    2. My X smashed a front window on my rented house (IV rented for just over 13yrs) an I think the second charge is scratching my car. . I over reacted not knowing how serious these charges are an as I still very much love her I don’t want her to go to jail .. wat can I do please

      1. You can contact the police station where the initial report was made to request an update or withdrawal of your statement. However, the decision as to whether or not to press charges will ultimately be at the discretion of the police and court based on the evidence presented to them. It is important to note that changing your statement may have legal implications, so it is important to seek legal advice from an experienced criminal lawyer before proceeding.

    1. The police or court will consider various factors, including the reason for withdrawal, remaining evidence, and risk to the victim. Even if you withdraw your statement, the case might still proceed based on other evidence. Please contact us for more info.

  3. Hi I made a statement and they have evidence of my case I want to drop my charges with my partner.. I was emotional at the time and had no one to run to for advice I thought the police would help me but they have made it worse I just want to have my partner back in my life.. they also put a avo against him

    1. Hi Shaelee, if you’re not concerned for your safety and you’re not being coerced into withdrawing the charges, you have the option to contact your local police station and inform them of your desire to withdraw the Apprehended Violence Order (AVO). You may be asked to provide an updated statement, which should detail your reasons for wanting to withdraw the charges and any changes in your circumstances. It may be beneficial to have a solicitor assist you in preparing this statement. Please be aware that the decision to withdraw the AVO ultimately rests with the police and the court. They will consider all the evidence presented before making a determination.

  4. I don’t want my x to go to prison he has stayed away and not bothered or harassed me for 5 months since insident
    And is doing a court appointed course
    Reset2respect and it seems to be working can I let the court know I don’t want him to do jail time

    1. So long as you are not concerned for your safety and you’re not being coerced into withdrawing the charges, you have the option to contact your local police station and inform them of your desire to have the charges dropped. You may be asked to provide an updated statement, which should detail your reasons for wanting to withdraw the charges and any changes in your circumstances. It may be beneficial to have a solicitor assist you in preparing this statement. Please be aware that the decision to drop charges ultimately rests with the police and the court. They will consider all the evidence presented before making a determination.

  5. I’m a victim of dv. There’s an aco in place . It includes my two kids . If I ask to revoke , will It put me at risk of loosing my kid’s due to safety concerns ?

    1. If the AVO was initially granted due to concerns for your safety and that of your children, removing those protections could potentially be viewed as reintroducing risk. It is best to first consult with a family lawyer before taking action to have the AVO withdrawn.

  6. Muhammad kamran

    Hi,
    I m victim of assualt and got injury on my finger as well,
    I want to drop my charges from my ex neighbour,
    Can i do that?
    And if i drop charges,i m free to go?
    Means i dont need to pay any fines or any thing?

    1. You can ask to withdraw your complaint, but the final decision to drop charges rests with the police and prosecution. If the charges are dropped, you likely won’t have to pay any fines related to the assault case. It’s best to consult with a lawyer to fully understand any potential implications.

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