Domestic violence can leave emotional and physical scars that never really heal. In many cases, the victim is only interested in putting the incident behind them and getting away from the defendant. Even when the victim wants justice, it is not always easy to bring that situation into a courtroom where it can become a matter of public record. But what happens if a victim decides to not testify in a domestic violence case?
Does the Victim have to Testify?
The decision on whether a victim testifies in a domestic violence case is usually up to the victim’s Staten Island lawyer, but there are ways that the case can move forward without direct testimony from the victim. In the wake of a domestic violence event, many victims get restraining orders against their attackers which makes testimony in court impossible. These types of constraints are common in domestic violence cases and would prevent the victim from testifying.
In some instances, recorded 911 calls can be admitted into a domestic violence case as a documentation of what has happened. If the call has enough detail to indicate specifically what type of abuse has occurred and the reaction of the victim, then a Staten Island lawyer can use that recorded 911 call in lieu of testimony from the victim.
If there are credible witnesses to the abuse that have been through cross-examining by the defendant, then those witnesses can be called to the stand instead of the victim. This is not as easy as it sounds as, in many domestic violence cases, victims often prefer to not get involved. The other problem with witnesses in these cases is that they are often not credible. This is the reason why witnesses who have been cross-examined by the defense are considered more credible.
Since a domestic violence case is often a very emotional situation, a Staten Island lawyer often looks for ways to keep the victim off the witness stand. One of the best ways to prevent the victim from getting on the stand is to have credible evidence that proves a crime was committed. Along with the recorded 911 call, evidence such as a medical report with pictures, a police report, or any video showing the event in progress can often be more compelling than putting the victim on the witness stand.
There are plenty of different approaches that lawyers use when it comes to getting the victim’s story out during a domestic violence case. The victim does not need to take the stand during the trial for the trial to be moved forward, and in some cases it is a better move for a lawyer to keep the victim off the witness stand and use other evidence to help the victim’s story to be heard.