View Full Version : Victim doesn't show up to court - what happens to the charges?

11-14-2005, 05:40 PM
An individual claims he was hit by my boyfriend. What happens if he doesn't show up to the preliminary hearing?

11-14-2005, 08:00 PM
Usually the State or "Government" brings the charges once the complaint is filed and they will often proceed even if the person who brought the charges does not show up. Now, trial is a different matter.

11-14-2005, 10:30 PM
The state can proceed without the victim. What will usually happen is they will issue a subpoena for the victim to appear. If the victim doesn't appear after the subpoena is issued, chances are the state won't proceed.

11-15-2005, 10:20 AM
If your boyfriend doesn't show up, he forfeits his bond, plus they put out a warrant for his arrest and he's in even deeper sh*t. But the witness, ditto what the other people said. But maybe if you have a clever lawyer... but I doubt it... It's between the State and your BF. But as said above, at some point the "victim" will have to testify, or they don't have a case other than the officer's report.

The so-called "victim" in my case has never been to one of my 7-going-on-8 court appearances, and he doesn't need to, not until the trial (which there won't be one 'cause it's going to be thrown out). And by then, hopefully he'll be so long down the road he will have gotten over it. Besides, by now we've collected enough evidence to prove he caused the accident, and was not the victim. Use the interum time to dig up evidence/arguements in your favor.

good luck

11-15-2005, 11:20 AM
So my baby's going to remain in county until th trial? Have you ever seen anyone get all their charges dismissed at a preliminary? Does it ever happen?

11-15-2005, 11:29 AM
It can happen, but I don't think it really usually does

11-15-2005, 11:40 AM
I thought if the victim did not show up, the case would either be dropped or the state would proceed; depending on the severity of the charges.

11-15-2005, 02:23 PM
the victim doesn't have to show up until the trial. all the preliminary stuff is for the defendent. they have to plead, etc. if a plea bargain is arranged then the victim never does have to show up. the state may drop the charges though if the victim doesn't want to go through with it. and to answer your question, unless bail was given your b/f will have to stay in jail until the hearing is over.

11-16-2005, 12:26 AM
Are we talking about a misdemeanor battery charge, or is there something more serious? I can't see a simple battery charge going all the way to a trial. Is the victim going to pursue it?

As far as bail, Conwife is correct - unless he can post whatever bail the judge set for him, he will stay in county until the matter is resolved if he can't bond out. He will get credit for any days spent there though.

11-16-2005, 07:54 AM
We are talking 2 counts felony assault, possible 3rd strike, he's got a hold and 1 mil bail (the bail is insane because he was initially charged with conspiracy, kidnapping, firearm, blah, blah, blah, 6 charges all together, those charges have been dropped).

All because he hit my ex-boyfriend 1 time with a stick. And he only did so to break up a fight between my ex and another fool. Couldn't break it up any other way cause my ex is considered a deadly weapon himself (trained in martial arts). Didn't want to get hurt himself cause he was standing right there when this retarded behavior started between those two idiots. Grab the closest thing he could find. They still didn't break it up so my current boyfriend didn't want any part of this mess and left the scene. He considered them friends but with his record it just wasn't worth it. But got pulled in the next day when he went to his monthly P.O. appointment. I don't think my ex-boyfriend will pursue the charges all the way and may not show up. But the DA already picked it up. Now he's up dooky creek without a paddle. I feel like crying again.

11-16-2005, 08:37 AM
Would it do any good if you talked to your ex?

11-16-2005, 02:12 PM
Wow, I didn't realize it was that serious. I'm not surprised at all that the DA picked it up. It's really anyone's guess, but even without your ex coming to court, if there were other witnesses that say your boyfriend hit your ex with the stick, the case could proceed. I guess I have to ask, but how does your ex feel about getting hit with a stick? Does he realize it was just to break up the fight, or is he looking at it like an assault?

11-16-2005, 07:39 PM
This is from the California Penal Code:

If a witness fails to appear at the preliminary hearing in response to a subpoena, the court may hear evidence, including testimony or an affidavit from the arresting or interviewing officer, and if the court determines on the basis of the evidence that the witness is a material witness, the court shall issue a bench warrant for the arrest of the witness, and upon the appearance of the witness, may commit him or her into custody until the conclusion of the preliminary hearing, or until the defendant enters a plea of nolo contendere, or the witness is otherwise legally discharged. The court may order the witness to enter into a written undertaking to the effect that he or she will appear and testify at the time and place ordered by the court or that he or she will forfeit an amount that the court deems proper.

In other words, your ex has to show or risk going to jail himself.

12-13-2005, 05:45 PM
A witness has to be properly served in order for a subpoena to be valid. Personal service is required in most instances. However, mail service is what's typically used, and for the mail service to be valid the witness has to call back and provide confirmation of reciept (as well as some personal information). A witness isn't going to be able to be held in contempt without proper service.
In CA, a Preliminary Examination can be done via hearsay (Prop. 115); so most of the time a cop testifies that people told him stuff. The witnesses don't usually appear to testify.
Now. at trial, the rules of evidence are much stricter when it comes to hearsay. There will have to be witnesses to testify to what they saw or heard, unless a hearsay exceptiopn applies. (The fairly recent US Supreme Court case of Crawford v. Washington makes all hearsay, even traditionaly accepted forms, highly questionable as criminal case evidence).
It's not up to a victim to "press charges". It's the "People of the State" against a defendant. The DA, not the victim, gets to make the call about whether a case goes forward.
If the victim doesn't show, the DA has to decide what to do next. With other evidence, the case might go forward. If it's a felony case, the DA can dismiss and refile the case one additional time. The DA could ask for a continuance to have cops drag the victim to court. The DA could ask for an Order to Show Cause to be heard prior to dismissal, buying more time to locate the victim. The DA could dismiss the case and decide to not refile.

01-17-2006, 11:38 PM
Lillybee.......i have been thru this b4 as I was the victim. How this happened was I made a police report and was told that a detective would call me within in the week. No one over did but one person asking me if I wanted a PO on him. I said no as I knew he was to give me money for my kids etc. I never thought twice about it and come to find out he got a warrant because state picked up charges. He gets arrested and Im right there with him and he had to sign a statement saying he was to not be anywhere around me etc while this was going on. I went to his bond hearing and I asked the judge myself to life the PO on him as I didn' feel I was in a threatning environment and the DA didn't like that at all....she interrupted me(lady Da) and asked the judge not to lift it. The judge did for me anyways. When this was continued and it was time for him to go back to court months after I did not show up and the DA wanted to throw it out. They really didn't feel the need being I didn't want to cooperate for my own reasons. I know his public defender told him the first time in court that if I didn't show up then he would be off the hook so that is what I planned to do. It got dropped and the DA didn't like it cause i asked the judge in the middle of all things to lift the order etc. I don't know if its that easy in all states but here in Indiana that is how it happened for me!