CAN THE STATE STILL MOVE FORWARD ON AN ASSAULT AND BATTERY CHARGE EVEN THOUGH THE ALLEGED VICTIM DOESN’T WISH TO PROCEED?
Often times when someone is charged with a criminal assault and battery, the first question they ask is whether the Commonwealth will dismiss the case because the alleged victim doesn’t wish to pursue the charges. The answer to this question doesn’t begin and end with the desires of the alleged victim however, according to Worcester criminal defense lawyer Shane W. Surrette.
The Commonwealth will look past the desires of the alleged victim in many instances to see if there is any independent evidence to prove the charge. Such evidence might include, whether there were other witnesses to the allegations forming the basis of the charge/indictment, or whether there were statements made to law enforcement or private citizens that might qualify as statements within a recognized hearsay exception.
Also, the government will often look to whether or not the alleged victim received hospitalization and made statements to hospital personnel, or whether any purported injuries were photographed. Similarly, if the alleged victim doesn’t wish to pursue the charges, the Commonwealth will look to see if the complainant has a privilege not to testify in the underlying matter, which would prohibit the Commonwealth from forcing the alleged victim to testify.
The privileges most commonly encountered in assault and battery cases are the marital privilege and the privilege under the 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution not to incriminate oneself. It is important to note when speaking of privilege law that there is no privilege not to testify for those cohabitating as a couple, but not married.
As a result, in an assault and battery case, the government will look at many factors and all the evidence they have in making a decision whether to prosecute. Just because the alleged victim wants the case dismissed doesn’t mean that it will be. So do the right thing and go into such a proceeding with a Worcester criminal defense lawyer.
To find out more information, contact attorney Surrette at the link below: