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Criminal Law Blog

Can Victims Really Drop Assault Charges?

March 8, 2019

In assault cases, it is common for an accuser to change his or her mind and wish to drop the charges. However, contrary to popular belief, dropping charges against someone is not as simple as saying you want the case to be dismissed. The state is actually in charge of deciding what happens to a case once it has been filed.

Domestic violence charges are up to the prosecutor.

When someone calls the police to report an assault and the alleged aggressor is arrested and charged, the case is in the hands of the prosecutor. The person who filed the charges does not have a say in how the case moves forward, even if he or she wants to drop the complaint. The reason for this is that, once charges are filed, the case is the responsibility of the state. The state has an interest in seeing a violent person convicted and incarcerated, so if the prosecutor decided there was enough evidence to file charges, he or she has the responsibility to follow through with them on behalf of the people of the state.

Unwilling witnesses can interfere with the case.

When a person wants to drop assault charges, he or she can’t stop the case, but he or she can make prosecution more difficult by being unwilling to cooperate in the case. The prosecutor can compel a person to testify as a hostile witness, but often, when victims try to drop cases, the prosecutor may reduce the charges because of the challenges of going forward against the victim’s wishes. In some instances, the state may choose to drop the case entirely, though this is less common. If the accused has an experienced defense attorney, the lawyer can use the victim’s desire to drop the charges to push for reduction or dismissal of charges.

Regardless of what the victim prefers, assault charges should always be taken seriously. If you have been accused, call Tucson defense attorney Janet Altschuler. Dial (520) 247-1789 to talk to a defense lawyer today.

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