In Oklahoma, domestic violence is considered an egregious offense, resulting in harsh penalties for those convicted. Because of the nature of this crime, the police and prosecutor will work hard to ensure perpetrators face consequences for their actions. However, if your alleged victim won’t cooperate with the police, you may think the charges will be dropped. This is far from the truth. In reality, the prosecution will proceed, even when a domestic violence victim won’t testify. As such, it’s critical to understand what evidence they will use to try and convict you and why you must consult an Oklahoma City felony defense lawyer as soon as possible if charged.
Will I Still Face Charges Without a Domestic Violence Victim?
Many alleged victims may choose not to cooperate with police regarding the supposed violence they’ve endured for several reasons. However, this does not mean those accused will have their charges dropped.
Instead, police and prosecutors will focus on evidence-based prosecution. This is also called “victimless prosecution” because the victim does not need to be present or participate in finding the accused guilty. As such, you can still face charges and a conviction for domestic violence.
The police will use a myriad of evidence to try to prove you are guilty of domestic violence. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Phone calls (911, jail calls, etc.)
- Witnesses (independent, expert, character, or children)
- Medical records
- Any testimony from the alleged victim if they previously cooperated
- Physical evidence
The prosecution will use many tactics to try to find you guilty. For example, they may subpoena your children if they allegedly witnessed the crime. If you do not bring your child to testify, an arrest warrant will be issued against you for failure to appear.
Similarly, the prosecution can access the medical records of a victim, as this is an exception to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which protects the medical privacy of patients. However, previous rulings allow law enforcement to access these records in instances of domestic abuse.
What Should I Do if I’m Facing Charges?
It’s important to understand that the prosecution will use every avenue they can to prove that you are guilty of domestic violence, even if there is no victim participation. This includes using these tactics in front of the jury responsible for deciding your fate if you go to trial. They will cross-examine you, looking for any slight inconsistency in your story or how your story differs from that of other witnesses. Unfortunately, they will highlight the fact that you’re nervous or confused as guilt instead of anxiety about facing criminal charges.
If you are facing domestic violence charges, even if the alleged victim is not cooperating with the police, it is critical to ensure you connect with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Unfortunately, these charges can carry intense consequences that will impact you for the rest of your life. However, connecting with an attorney gives you the best chance of avoiding the charges.
At the Jones Firm, PLLC, we understand how devastating it can be to discover you’re accused of, let alone charged with, domestic violence. That’s why our team will do everything we can to help you fight for justice. We will explore all possible avenues to determine the best course of action for your unique circumstances. Contact our team today to learn how we can help you.