Can I be charged with a felony if the theft victims do not press charges? 48 Answers as of June 10, 2013

Me and my sister stole $20,000 dollars her ex boyfriend's house. They did not press any charges but it's a class 2 felony. I was wondering if we just gave the all the $20,000 back everything would go away? If not what will happen?

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Dearbonn Law Offices
Dearbonn Law Offices | Ajibola Oluyemisi Oladapo
if the victims do not press charges and would rather prefer a settlement out of court, i.e your returning the money, then you will not be charged with a felony. However, if the police have reliable information about the crime, then they may well press charges against you for theft regardless.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/1/2011
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider
Law Office of Peter F. Goldscheider | Peter Goldscheider
As long as the police have been called they can forward the case to the DA regardless of the desires of the victim in this regard. On the other hand if you can work out something with the victims before that occurs criminal prosecution can sometimes be avoided. It is best to do this through an attorney however since any admissions you make as part of the restitution can be used against you in a criminal prosecution.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/31/2011
Bloom Legal, LLC
Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
This will depend upon whether or not law enforcement has already been notified. If the matter has already been turned over to police it will be up to the District Attorney whether or not to press charges. It may be possible that the DA would be less likely to press charges if the victims do not wish to proceed but it is not certain. You should definitely consider hiring a local attorney who will be able to determine whether or not charges are pending in this matter.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Replied: 5/31/2011
Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
Giving the $20K back would probably help things, as it would doubtlessly act as an incentive for these folks to not go to the cops. If they already have, then chances are it won't keep the prosecutor from filing charges. The thing is, however, it would still look better to the state if you gave the money back.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 5/31/2011
Law Office of Andrew Roberts
Law Office of Andrew Roberts | Andrew Stephen Roberts
Charges can be filed against you and your sister. Returning the money would certainly be a mitigating factor. Every thief whether petty or grand larceny would always want to return the stolen item for having no criminal charges filed. You should retain an attorney ASAP.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/31/2011
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
    Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
    In general, it is the prosecutor's office which decides to go forward with charges, and not the victim. Therefore, simply paying back the money will not necessarily end the matter. Should the prosecutor agree, then the case could be dismissed. You should not be making any statements or admissions either in e-mails (like this one) or in person without advice of counsel or having counsel present. Any admissions you make could be used against you at trial.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Law Offices of Scott G. Hilderman
    Law Offices of Scott G. Hilderman | Scott G. Hilderman
    Yes you can if the police find out. However, in a theft case if the victim doesn't want to press charges there will probably be none. I would advise you to give the money back. Even if charged it would help you a great deal in your case.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    No, you cannot be charged if the theft victims do not press charges.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    You need to be very careful returning the funds may not get you out of a theft charge. If they did not press charges, did they report it to the police?
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    LynchLaw
    LynchLaw | Michael Thomas Lynch
    Any crime is considered a crime against the People of CA. Someone who had money taken from them might be considered a victim, or a witness, but they can't make the decision if charges will be filed or not. Now, that being said, if they don't want the defendant charged or prosecuted they may not be good witnesses. The DA does not like to go forward with trials if the main witness is uncooperative. However, a word of warning. Do not request, or encourage any witness to fail to appear or to refuse to testify. To do so could be considered a crime in and of itself. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Victims do not "press charges" The prosecuting attorney does.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    Charges can be filed irrespective of the wishes of a victim
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    Criminal charges are brought by the State, not by the victim of the crime. Even if the victim does not wish to pursue the charges, the State can still bring the case to prosecution. The victim is merely a witness the State may call to prove the case. The decision to charge a crime is at the discretion of the prosecutor.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    If the victims do not report the crime then nothing. If it was reported the DA does not need the victims to press charges.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Nichols Law Firm
    Nichols Law Firm | Michael J. Nichols
    Yes - you can be charged with a felony.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    The charge of theft of property is a crime against the peace and dignity of the State of Alabama. The prosecutor has discretion to go forward or not.The victims may have an opinion as to what they want to happen with the cse, including a dismissal of the charges, but the prosecution is not bound by the desires of the victims. Paying back the money does not mean the case will be dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller
    Law Office of Thomas F. Mueller | Thomas Mueller
    You can be charged without the victim pressing charged. The decision is up to the D.A. However they will take into consideration the return of the money. This would be a good time to hire an attorney that knows the D.A.s.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    In a criminal matter, the decision to press charges is not the victims. The only person, in Michigan, who can bring criminal charges is the prosecuting attorney. Assuming the matter was investigated by the police, a police report will probably be turned over to the prosecutor for his/her review. The final decision on whether charges are brought is solely with the prosecuting attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Law Office of Michael Moody
    Law Office of Michael Moody | Michael Moody
    Yes, it is the state's prerogative. However, if you've paid the victims and they're happy, they probably won't charge you.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    Generally speaking, if the victim does not contact law enforcement, and charges are pressed against you, you may pay the victims back the money and nothing further should occur. However, if you have been arrested by the police, this indicated the State has picked up the charges, and you should not pay back the victims unless directed to by the prosecutor or court. Even if the victims do not wish to proceed, if the charges have been filed, they have no say in this matter, as the people of the state of Illinois are the plaintiff now, and only the prosecutor has the discretion to dismiss the charges. Both of you are facing prison time of 3-7 years as a possible maximum sentence, so I would retain counsel before going to court in this serious case.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC
    Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC | Raymond J. Savoy
    Before anyone is charged with a crime, there must first be a complaint made by the victim. After the victim files a complaint, there is a police investigation, which may result in an arrest. In this scenario, the victim did not file a complaint; therefore, there would be no police investigation and no arrest. If the money is returned in full, a crime still occurred, but any investigation would reveal that restitution was made in full and it is unlikely the police would pursue charges. Please keep in mind that a victim can file a complaint at any time; they do not have to call the police immediately after the crime occurred.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    Why would he have $20K in his house? Not your question but it does raise certain concerns, particularly if he has not gone to the cops yet. I assume he does not have so much cash lying about that he could literally miss $20K. If he has gone to the cops, and you give it back, you are basically admitting the crime. F2 is punishable by 2-20 years in prison, plus restitution, so whatever you do, don't spend the money, you will have to pay it back. On the other hand, if you give it back, you don't have to pay it back. So to answer your question, if he has not notified the cops and you give it back, and he never notifies the cops - you are safe, at least from prosecution.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law
    Eric J Schurman, Attorney at Law | Eric James Schurman
    It's a very complicated question. The simple answer is "yes". I would urge you to get an attorney right away. Feel free to contact me.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    The simple answer is that the authorities have the right to charge and prosecute anyone, irrespective of the alleged victim's wishes, although it doesn't occur each and every time. You should consult with a criminal attorney about all your rights and options. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    Yes, you can be charged even if victims don't press charges. The state brings the criminal case, it may proceed even if victim is reluctant. Though if victim is steadfastly refusing to cooperate it would be very difficult for state to proceed. In the facts you described I would absolutely contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer, it is better to have the attorney return the funds rather than you or your sister. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Attorneys of Michigan, PLLC
    Attorneys of Michigan, PLLC | Daniel Hajji
    Prosecutor can still file charges.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Giannini Law Office, PC
    Giannini Law Office, PC | Robert Giannini
    If the crime is reported to the police, the state makes all decisions as to whether the case should be prosecuted, not the victims. Be careful about telling people you did this as your own statements could come back to haunt you at trial. Perhaps you could arrange for the money to be repaid through a lawyer so that there would be less evidence that you were the one who took it. Paying the money back might make the victim less determined to have you prosecuted. But, giving back the stolen money does not undo the fact that the crime was committed.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 5/27/2011
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    You need to retain defense counsel for a detailed legal analysis.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/26/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    The simple answer is "yes." A victim need not press charges. In fact, they may not even wish to have charges pursued. However, if a crime has been committed, a prosecutor may press forward on the case to prevent a repeat of criminal activity. Of course, the prosecutor's case may be significantly weakened if the victim refuses to cooperate or shows reluctance to cooperate. You should consult with experienced legal counsel immediately.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 5/26/2011
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    If the local prosecutor's office finds out about it, you will likely face charges.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 5/26/2011
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger
    Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
    In Washington, if a police report is taken of a crime, the State decides whether to file charges whether the victim wishes to press charges or not. It would be best to return the fruits of the crime as this could determine the course the State might take in filing charges.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/26/2011
    Law Offices of Lawrence Wolf
    Law Offices of Lawrence Wolf | Lawrence Wolf
    Maybe.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/10/2013
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    It depends on if they reported it to the police. If they have not, you have a chance of just settling it with them. But if they have, it's not up to them whether charges are brought. The "state" (DA's office) is the one who decides whether to press charges. However, they are less likely to issue the case if the money has been repaid. Good luck. Call me if you want to discuss it further.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/26/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    Once you are charged with a crime the decision to prosecute is within the authority of the police and prosecutor, not the victims. If they do not wish to cooperate, show up, or press charges it will be taken into consideration, but they can be forced to cooperate with threats of issuing a material witness order and keeping them in jail until they testify. Victims do not make the decisions, the DA has the right to force them to show up for a trial. You will probably be offered a plea to Petit Larceny and be placed on 1 year probation.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 5/26/2011
    NOLA Criminal Law
    NOLA Criminal Law | Townsend Myers
    The decision to charge someone with a felony rests entirely with the District Attorney in the parish where the crime occurred. Therefore, even if the victim of a theft does not wish to press charges, the District Attorney may still prosecute the case. That said, the cooperation of a theft victim is crucial to the DA's ability to prosecute the case, so in practice most DA's will not prosecute such a case if the victim does not sanction it.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 5/26/2011
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
    Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
    Well, it is the state that would actually press the charges, however, the victim is often times given a great deal of input in whether the matter is ultimately prosecuted. Stay well.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 5/26/2011
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady
    The Law Office of Kevin O'Grady | Kevin O'Grady
    In some cases it does not matter if the "victims" do not want to press charges. Yes it might be more difficult, but in some cases the government can prosecute a person even without the victim's assistance. You should hire an attorney, even if you have not yet been charged, interrogated or arrested.
    Answer Applies to: Hawaii
    Replied: 5/26/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    First of all, be very careful about the specifics you go into on a public forum. Do not admit to anything on public forums! Technically, the state is the one who presses charges and they can proceed with or without the victim's cooperation. If you give the money back, that will take care of the restitution aspect of the case, but doesn't mean that you still can't be charged with the crime. It may help you in sentencing, especially if the victim is reluctant to press charges, the prosecution may be willing to offer you a better deal than normal. In any event, a felony is a serious crime and you need to consult with an experienced criminal attorney before speaking with anyone regarding this case, pleading guilty to anything, or agreeing to plead guilty to anything. You may be eligible for a diversion program which could keep the charge off your record.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 5/26/2011
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law
    Howard W. Collins, Attorney at Law | Howard W. Collins
    In Oregon, the local District Attorney is the prosecutor. If you have been charged with a crime, than someone reported it and the prosecutor is pressing for a conviction. Giving back the money that you stole could be a very helpful approach for taking responsibility and minimizing your exposure to jail or prison. You need to hire an attorney. You are way over your head. Please call.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/26/2011
    West law Office
    West law Office | Russell West
    If the theft was reported to the police and they are investigating and charge you with theft then it is up to the state and prosecution whether they move forward with charges. At that point it does not matter if the other party says they are not pressing charges since it has become a criminal matter. If the theft was never reported and you return the money then law enforcement may not find out.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 5/26/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    It is completely up to the prosecutor who reviews the case. Paying the money back may or may not help you. If the ex boyfriend reports it to the police, who then submits a report to the local prosecutor, an investigator may come knocking on your door. Should that happen, always remain silent, and only speak in the presence of your lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/26/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Not if no one presses charges. To ensure they dont, I strongly suggest you hire an attorney to negotiate a civil compromise agreement that would pay them back in return for not pressing charges. Do not attempt that yourself. If serious about hiring counsel to help in this, feel free to contact me. exercise the 5th Amendment right to SHUT UP and do NOT talk to anyone except an attorney about the case. That includes on this or any other web site or public forum. Most police and prosecutors will happily tell you that 95% of people convict themselves by trying to be 'helpful and cooperative', either during initial contact, questioning, interview or interrogation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/26/2011
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
    In order for criminal charges to be filed a police report must be filed and it must be reviewed by a district attorney who decides to file charges. If no police report was taken it is doubtful that criminal charges will arise. However with an amount that high it would be advisable to get this situation resolved.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 5/26/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    It's not up to the victim whether to press charges, it's up to the prosecutor. The prosecutor is less likely to press charges if the victim does not want you to. Further, paying the victim to compensate for the damages is a basis for a court to dismiss, called a civil compromise. You should talk to a lawyer about your options before you do anything.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 5/26/2011
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