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Domestic Battery – What if there isn’t a victim to testify?

Many Tampa criminal defense attorneys are asked this question by their clients when they have some sort of a relationship with the victim such as wife/husband or girlfriend/boyfriend in a domestic battery case, how the State Attorney’s Office can go forward on the charge?  Ultimately, the simple fact is that many Assistant State Attorneys go forward relying solely on what is called an excited utterance and photos of the victim. An excited utterance is a hearsay exception that essentially is defined by being some sort of an excited statement where the declarant, the person making the statement, is under some sort of stress or excitement. More often than not, they will rely on the victim’s statements during the call to 911 as the excited utterance or statements from the victim to people nearby as the excited utterance. If it’s not the 911 call, it will be their statements crying out for help or speaking regarding the alleged battery.

Ultimately, the Assistant State Attorney will rely on these statements to provide the action and the photographs to go forward prosecuting the domestic battery charge. Many Assistant State Attorneys routinely use this method in domestic violence and domestic battery cases because victims are often unwilling or uncooperative in these cases.  These two pieces of evidence will be the primary basis of the State’s case.  While it isn’t an overwhelming amount of ideal evidence for the State, it certainly is enough to go forward at a jury trial.

As for the picture, many times law enforcement officers responding to battery or domestic battery cases will quickly take digital pictures of the victim to document the injuries. More often than not, these photographs will not show bruises or black eyes because they simply have not developed yet. Often times these photographs may come from pre-charging conferences between an Assistant State Attorney and the victim before the filing of formal charges, once bruises and injuries have fully materialized.  Assistant State Attorneys will use these photographs to show the injuries or photographs from investigations after the initial arrest. They rely on these two pieces of evidence to prosecute the case even if the victim is unwilling to testify.

If you or someone you know has questions concerning a battery or domestic battery case in a relationship with the victim, contact the Tampa criminal defense attorneys of Hackworth Law for a free case consultation. We appreciate your taking time to look at our Tampa criminal defense attorney blog blog. If you have any questions, please use the “Contact Us Now” tab to contact us concerning the case. Thank you.