Can a Domestic Violence Victim Refuse to Testify?

Colorado laws are tough in cases of domestic violence. If a person calls 911 due to an attack, or threat of an attack by a domestic partner, the police are dispatched to the home. Law enforcement will arrive at the door, and they are obligated to make an arrest, to one or both people involved in the incident.


In a large majority of cases, it is the male (husband, relationship partner, or other) who is arrested rather than a female. Even if the person who made the call changes his or her story about what occurred, charges will be filed.

After being arrested, even if you are completely innocent or were defending yourself, you will likely be held in jail for a period, waiting for a bail hearing. Once you post bail, you will be released, but will be subject to a restraining order that restricts you from returning to your home, contacting the alleged victim, possessing a firearm, consuming alcohol or controlled substances, or other restrictions. If you violate the restraining order, you will be arrested and returned to jail.

When the Alleged Victim Won’t Testify

Can a Domestic Violence Victim Refuse to Testify?A heated argument between domestic partners can escalate quickly and lead to a 911 call or a report of a domestic disturbance from a neighbor or other person. Once the two parties cool off, the person claiming to be a victim of domestic violence may recant and refuse to testify.

While this is a positive action, it will not stop the case from moving forward, as only the prosecutor can decide whether to drop the charges against you. This action requires the help of an experienced domestic violence defense attorney to seek to get the charges reduced or dropped. The earlier your attorney gets involved, the better it could be for you.

Domestic Violence Charges: The Elements of a Criminal Case

Domestic violence charges are filed under a specific set of circumstances:

  • Alleged physical abuse
  • An alleged threat of violence.
  • Act of violence or threat of violence against a third party (new partner, pet, friend, family member, etc.).
  • Crime against the property of the alleged victim intended to exercise control, intimidate, for revenge, punishment or to coerce.
  • In these cases, you will need to go to trial, plead not guilty, and seek to have your name and your reputation restored.

Penalties for Domestic Violence in Colorado Springs

The penalties imposed in a conviction achieved by the prosecutor, even when the alleged victim refuses to testify, will reflect whether the charge was filed as a misdemeanor or a felony, and the prior criminal record for similar crimes of the accused. Domestic violence enhances penalties imposed for a range of crimes, including:

The penalties imposed can include one to three years in state prison, fines ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 for cases in which the accused is considered an habitual offender.

Contact The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. at (719) 475-2555 immediately if you have been arrested for a domestic violence offense.