Is it possible to drop charges out of court? - Criminal Law Questions and Answers- LawQA.com

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Is it possible to drop charges out of court?

I was involved in a domestic dispute with my current girlfriend. I called the police due to her hitting me, but on the call and when the cops spoke to me I clearly stated I didn't want to press charges and I didn't want an order of protection. I want to get all of this dropped due to the fact that this was an isolated incident. Is this possible to do out of court?

Answer By Craig Elhart
Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
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The decision on whether to prosecute someone for a crime is solely that of the prosecuting attorney. If you wish the charges to be dropped you should speak with the prosecutor or assistant prosecutor handling the case. They do not have to respect your wishes however if they believe the prosecution should continue. If you want further information, contact us.

Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 5/11/2011

Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
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It depends on whether the prosecutor already filed papers yet. If not, you can contact the district attorney ( or the police precinct if the police did not give the paperwork to the prosecutor yet ) and ask them to drop the charges, however the prosecutor has the discretion whether to file charges or not . The prosecutor can decide to prosecute even if you say you do not want to press charges.

Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 5/11/2011

Timothy J. Thill P.C.
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You must show up in court and discuss your decision with the prosecutor before the charges are dropped. Understand, the State has picked up the charges, you are merely a complaining witness, and the decision to proceed or drop charges is not yours, but the prosecutor's. In almost all cases, they will drop the charges is you really want them dropped.

Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 5/7/2011

Law Office of Richard Williams
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Criminal charges are not against a person so they are not allowed to drop the charges. The charges are against the peace and dignity of the state or municipality where the act occurred. You may have input as to whether you wish to go forward with criminal charges but they are ultimately at the discretion of the prosecutor as to whether or not the charges will be presented to the court.

Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 5/7/2011

Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
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Once the police are called it is within their power to refer the matter to the District Attorney for possible prosecution. It is not the "victim's" choice anymore. On the other hand the District Attorney will consider all the factors inc. the victim's attitude toward the prosecution in deciding how to proceed. I have been able on behalf of the victim in not having charges brought by contacting the DA before the case is filed. Although you do not need an attorney you may consider hiring one (other than the one your girlfriend will need) to assist you in this regard.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/7/2011

Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
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Talk with the DA. Tell them that you will not testify. They most likely drop the case.

Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/6/2011

Answer By Craig Andersen
Andersen Law PLLC
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Absolutely not. In the State of Washington, only the prosecutor's office can file and dismiss charges. Furthermore, if you receive a subpoena to testify, you must appear in court or face being arrested on a material witness warrant. Your best strategy would be to meet with your domestic violence advocate and try to convince her to convince the prosecutor to go easy on your wife and/or dismissing the case. To accomplish this, you must be cooperative and respectful with the advocate and the prosecutor. The bottom line is if you told the cops that she hit you, the prosecutor can prove the case. If you were to change your story, the prosecutor would impeach you with your statement to the cop and discredit you. Beyond this, you should have your wife obtain a domestic violence evaluation and have her follow the recommendations of the evaluator. If alcohol or drugs were involved on your wife's part, she should also get an alcohol-substance abuse evaluation and follow the treatment recommendations if there are any. Your wife should keep quiet about the charges and the facts supporting them. A careless word to a friend can tar and feather a criminal defendant if the prosecutor hears about it. The best thing you can do is hire an experienced criminal defense attorney because prosecutors and advocates prefer to deal with attorneys because we know the concepts and terminology and we know how the game is played. Please feel free to call me if you have any further questions or concerns.

Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 5/6/2011

Law Office of Cotter C. Conway
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Under Nevada law, a prosecutor cannot dismiss a domestic violence charge for any reason unless the charge is not supported by the evidence (i.e. cannot be proved at the time of trial). Thus, it is technically not possible for the alleged victim to "drop the charges" once the domestic violence charge has been filed in court. Your girlfriend needs to retain counsel immediately to either convince the prosecutor not to file the charge or prepare an argument to convince the prosecutor that the charge cannot be proved at trial. Contact me for a free consultation.

Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 5/6/2011

Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
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Yes, but a lot of prosecutors prefer not to drop the charges because the defendant may otherwise be encouraged to do it again. Just call the prosecuting attorney's office and set an appointment to discuss it in person with him, her or their staff to try to get them to drop it. Stay well.

Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 5/6/2011

Law Offices of Scott G. Hilderman
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Yes; you need to contact the prosecutor. However, they may still prosecute her; it is up to the prosecutor. It is called prosecutorial discretion.

Answer Applies to: Montana
Replied: 5/6/2011

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