Sometimes on TV dramas, a legal case falls apart because the victim decides not to “press charges.” In real life, it typically isn’t that simple, although accusers do sometimes want to have a case dropped. This is most common when they know the perpetrator. A criminal defense lawyer like Aric Cramer can assist with this request, representing the defendant and working to negotiate with the prosecuting attorney.
Laws about this subject vary by state. In all states, prosecuting attorneys working for the jurisdiction file charges against criminal suspects. Victims do not have the right to demand that those charges be dismissed.
Changing the Statement
Using tactics like asking to change the statement of what occurred can actually make the situation worse. The prosecution may believe that this person is being threatened by the defendant. In addition, lying to police when making a statement as an accuser is a criminal offense.
Honoring the Request
Depending on the circumstances, the prosecuting attorney may choose to honor the victim’s wishes and drop the charges. This type of request is relatively common in cases of domestic disputes. If there has never been any indication of trouble before and the behavior did not reach the level of assault, the prosecutor might decide to respect the request. However, if the victim was injured, dismissal of the charges is unlikely.
Prosecuting attorneys do not always honor the accusers request even if there was no assault. Utah state laws allow for the filing of charges in domestic incidents even if there was only a threat of violence. It’s a double-edged sword because the law is intended to protect victims, but it can ruin lives of defendants who have been falsely accused during a volatile moment.
The Importance of Legal Representation
A criminal defense lawyer can provide persuasive reasons why this case should be ended. Perhaps a plea abeyance agreement could be arranged in which the individual completes community service in a domestic violence shelter, along with an anger management course. This type of agreement has a set of requirements that the defendant must complete, after which the charges are dropped.