How to Dismiss a Domestic Violence Case Before the Court Date in California

Updated March 16, 2017

If you have been the victim of domestic violence in California and charges have been filed, dismissing the case before court can be challenging. If the prosecutor believes California Penal Code 273.5 dealing with domestic violence has been violated, he can pursue the case despite your desire to have the matter dropped. In addition, if the prosecutor has evidence to support the charge, he will likely proceed. However, you can certainly make your wishes known to the court.

Prepare a written request. Type a letter to the prosecutor handling your case. Reference the case number and defendant. State the reasons why you would like the domestic violence charges dismissed. If you are stating that your initial complaint was not true, be prepared to face possible charges for filing a false report.

Deliver the request. Deliver the letter to the clerk of court office in the county where the case is filed. Bring a copy for the case file, the prosecutor and your records. Have each copy date stamped by a deputy clerk. Leave the copy for the case file with the deputy clerk.

Meet with the prosecutor. Make an appointment to meet with the prosecutor handling the domestic violence case. Hand-deliver the letter to him and ask if he will consider recommending the case be dismissed. If he refuses to meet and discuss the matter, leave a copy of the letter with his office or send it by certified mail to verify receipt.

Appear in court. Attend the court hearing on the matter to learn if the judge accepts the prosecution's recommendation to either proceed with the case or dismiss the charges. You may have an opportunity to speak at this court proceeding and offer your reasons for wishing to drop charges.


It is common for domestic violence victims to request charges be dropped out of fear of further abuse. If you are in an abusive relationship, get help. The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence ( is one of many agencies that can assist you.

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About the Author

Kelli Peacock Dunn has been a news editor and photographer since 1998, working at a weekly newspaper in Northwest Florida. Her articles have also appeared in "Panama City Living" magazine and "The Lookout."