Published in Criminal Law by Chris Eskew on September 23, 2022.
Please note that our law firm practices law solely in the state of Indiana, and therefore cannot provide legal services outside of this jurisdiction.
An argument between spouses or loved ones may start small. Yet, it can escalate into a physical attack or verbal threat, becoming domestic violence. Perhaps a witness or one of the parties calls the police, and they arrest the accused. However, after some time, the parties make up and want to return to normal. In cases like this, accusers may wonder whether they can recant their domestic violence statement.
If you want to recant a statement you made to police, prosecutors, or a court, speak with one of the domestic violence attorneys at Eskew Law, immediately. Recanting a domestic violence statement has risks and may not have the desired effect of making the domestic violence charge disappear.
What Happens in a Domestic Violence Case?
When considering how to recant a domestic violence statement without penalty, it’s important to understand what happens when the police respond to a domestic violence complaint. When the police respond to a domestic violence complaint, they usually do several things. They may separate the parties to independently ask them questions. And whether they ask questions of the parties or not, they may decide to arrest the accused person on a domestic battery charge. The police then prepare a report which includes statements from witnesses and the accused.
When the accused first goes to court, they’ll likely be subject to a no-contact order. A no-contact order often issues automatically, or the prosecuting attorney will request one. Such an order requires the accused, now the defendant, to have no contact with the alleged victim.
The police or prosecutor may ask the alleged victim to write a sworn statement. If the prosecutor wants to go forward after a discovery phase, either the defendant pleads to a crime or the case goes to trial. The prosecutor may ask the alleged victim to testify at a hearing or at the defendant’s trial.
What Is a “Statement” in a Domestic Battery Case?
During the criminal investigation, a complaining witness (victim) speaks to the police often without realizing that they’ve made statements that the prosecutor can use against the defendant. For example, 911 operators automatically record every call they receive. Additionally, police write down their observations and may even record conversations with witnesses. This is especially true if police are wearing body cameras. Any of these interactions can be considered a statement.
Statements about domestic battery may include:
- What you say during a 911 call,
- Conversations with the police in the street or at your home,
- A statement you signed at the police station,
- An affidavit you sign, and
- Testimony you give in court under oath.
Depending on which of these statements you’ve given, it may be more difficult to recant a domestic violence statement without the police or prosecutor threatening you with a penalty.
Can I Recant My Statement Without a Penalty?
Recanting a statement means to take it back, withdraw it, or deny it. People have a variety of reasons for wanting to recant a statement. Perhaps the person said something while stressed and realized they got some facts wrong. Sometimes they just don’t want to get involved with the courts. Some reasons why people wish to recant their statements include:
- The police misreported what the witness said;
- The witness misremembered or misstated something;
- The witness lied;
- The witness doesn’t want to be involved in the case against the accused;
- The defendant pressured the witness to change their statement; or
- The witness wants the case to be over and things to return to “normal.”
There are many reasons someone would want to recant a domestic violence statement to the police.
The police and prosecutors take a witness trying to recant or change a statement seriously. But prosecutors don’t like to let people get away with crimes and may believe that the accused has exerted undue influence on the alleged victim to get them to recant. Therefore, prosecutors have been known to charge a recanting witness with a crime, depending on the situation. Possible criminal charges a recanting witness could face include:
If you want to recant a statement, you should consult one of our attorneys. An independent attorney represents you, not the defendant. The attorney can advise you on how to recant a statement and any penalties that may or may not apply to you.
Will the Criminal Case End if I Recant?
You may believe that if you recant your statement, the person accused of domestic violence will be released, and the case will be over. This is not always so. Although the police and prosecutor will have a more difficult time prosecuting the case without your testimony, they may still have other evidence.
Other types of evidence may include:
- The defendant’s statements to the police,
- The responding police officer’s observations,
- Medical evidence showing any physical injuries,
- The recorded 911 call or another recording, and
- Other witness statements.
If a prosecutor has enough evidence, they’ll prosecute a case even if the complaining witness recants their statement. Plus, as discussed above, they may even prosecute you for a crime. So protect yourself by speaking with a lawyer before recanting a statement.
I’m a Defendant. I’d Like to Recant My Statement.
People sometimes say things to the police, thinking that it will clear everything up and they’ll be able to go about their lives as usual. But more often than not, people accidentally say the wrong thing to the police and find themselves facing criminal charges.
People also sign statements and even false confessions because of police pressure. This may be improper coercion. However, proving police coercion is difficult. So you should consult a lawyer if you believe the police coerced your confession.
Contact Eskew Law About Recanting a Domestic Violence Statement
Whether you are a witness or the defendant in a criminal case, you may face an uphill battle if you’re trying to recant a domestic violence statement. You need an experienced lawyer who can fight for your best interest. Eskew Law, is here to help you set the record straight. You don’t have to face the pressures of the criminal justice system alone. Contact us today!