How can I drop criminal charges? 51 Answers as of July 08, 2013

I put an assault charge on my friend. Now I regret it because the fight was my fault. Can I drop the charge I put on him? And how?

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Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
I'd recommend consulting with a lawyer before you do anything. You'd have to talk to the prosecutor. A key question is why you are asking them to drop the charges. If the prosecutor believes that you filed a false police report, you may be charged with a criminal offense.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 11/2/2011
Greco Law Office
Greco Law Office | Dominic Greco
If you tell the Prosecutor that you won't testify or you don't remember anything they will probably drop the charges. They may threaten to subpoena you or charge you with filing a false report but they usually will not do anything.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 10/19/2011
Keyser Law Firm
Keyser Law Firm | Christopher W. Keyser
Whether charges move forward is not determined by you as the alleged victim but by the prosecutor's office. People often get confused with "pressing charges" and "dropping charges" from television. While you do not control the case, you do have input. I recommend contacting the prosecutor's office or the police department handling the investigation to voice your concern about not wanting the case to go forward. This will certainly be taken into consideration by the State.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 10/18/2011
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Talk to his lawyer about an affidavit of non-prosecution. DO NOT use the form the cops or DA gives you.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 10/12/2011
Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC
Law Offices of Martina A. Vigil, PC | Martina A. Vigil
You do not have the power to drop or bring charges against an individual. This power rests solely with the District Attorney's Office. However, you can contact the Deputy DA and recommend that your friend should not be prosecuted. Although your suggestion may have no impact on whether the DA proceeds with the criminal charges, at least he/she will understand that the fight resulted from your actions and not the actions of the defendant.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/12/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    You can try to talk to the prosecutor that you want the charges dropped, although the prosecutor has the discretion to drop them or prosecute against your wishes. Also if yu tell the prosecutor it was your fault you may be charged with assault and perjury.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Gonzalez Law Associates P.C.
    Gonzalez Law Associates P.C. | Carlos Gonzalez
    Contact the DA and his defense attorney and give them a written notarized statement that you no longer wish to cooperate with the prosecution of the case, include the lessons name and the case number if possible.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    You cannot drop charges. When the prosecutor calls to discuss your feelings on the case, you can advise them. Or, you can cooperate with the defendant's attorney to try to get the case dismissed.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    You should tell the prosecutor as soon as possible that you would like to no longer pursue the matter. However, keep in mind that it is the decision of the prosecutor alone as to who to prosecute and what cases to drop. They can technically proceed without your cooperation as you are obligated to honor subpoenas or else face jail time as punishment. Usually prosecutors will not proceed without the victim's consent, but keep in mind they can.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Law Office of Elizabeth B. Carpenter, Esq.
    Law Office of Elizabeth B. Carpenter, Esq. | Elizabeth B. Carpenter
    No, you cannot drop the charges. Once the police are called and the case is handed to the DA, you do not have the authority to decide if your friend will be prosecuted.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC
    The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC | Patrick J. McDonnell
    Talk to the District Attorney. It is no longer a crime just against you once it enters the criminal justice system. It is a crime against the people of the State of New York. The DA will probably take your input into consideration.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Levine & McHenry LLC
    Levine & McHenry LLC | Matthew McHenry
    The decision whether to proceed with charges is the district attorney's, not yours. That being said, the district attorney may decide to dismiss the charges if you contact them and tell them your concerns and views.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/11/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    The only person who can authorized criminal charges is the prosecuting attorney. The charges resulted from a complaint to the police and after their investigation, a request for charges was sent to the prosecuting attorney. The only person who can dismiss charges is the prosecuting attorney. You could speak with the prosecutor, however, you may want to be careful if you gave false information to get the investigation started in the first place.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/11/2011
    Theresa Hofmeister, Attorney At Law
    Theresa Hofmeister, Attorney At Law | Theresa Hofmeister
    You don't mention if a case has been filed or not yet against your friend. You can contact the prosecuting agency, usually the District Attorney (and/or the Investigator) to convey your wish to not press charges. However, the DA can proceed in your absence, with or without your cooperation. Given your change of heart, they may be less likely to want to do that ... depending on what the police report alleges or your original story was to the police.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/11/2011
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson
    Law Office of Kathryn L. Hudson | Kathryn L. Hudson
    In a criminal complaint the victim is a witness and the plaintiff as it were is the state. A prosecuting attorney represents the people of a state who have charged him with keeping the peace by prosecuting and punishing those that break the law and harm others. Having said that though, without a cooperating witness the prosecution has a difficult if not often impossible task of getting enough evidence to get a conviction of a person charged with a particular crime. If you merely recant you could expose yourself to perjury or filing a false complaint so it might be best to speak with the prosecutor and tell him/her that upon reflection you feel that you probably instigated the altercation and that he did not escalate the exchange beyond what you also engaged in.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 10/11/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    You cannot drop the charges, as once the warrant is signed it is out of your hands. A criminal act is not a crime against a particular person it is against the peace and dignity of the State or municipality where the offense occurred. You may attempt to convince the prosecutor that you do not wish for your friend to be prosecuted but it is the prosecutors discretion as to whether he or she desires to go forward. If charges are to be dismissed someone will be forced to pay cost of court. If you tell the prosecutor that the event did not happen or that you were less than truthful in your signed affidavit supporting the warrant you will likely be charged for making a false statement.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 10/11/2011
    Law Offices of Louis M. Leibowitz, LLC
    Law Offices of Louis M. Leibowitz, LLC | Louis Leibowitz
    You cannot drop the charges. Only the prosecutor can drop the charges. You should contact your friend's lawyer to see how you can help.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 10/12/2011
    Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Armand Fried
    Tell the DA handling the matter that you want to drop charges and why.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum | Edward J. Blum
    Short answer: You can't. Once criminal charges are filed it's out of your control. Only the court can dismiss the case. And,generally, they will only do so when the prosecutor asks them to.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/11/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    Speak to the prosecuting attorney and ask him to drop charges, explaining everything that happened, including the fact that the assault was due to your fault. Remember that in a criminal case the State is party plaintiff and not you so you may be forced to testify against your friend. Hopefully the prosecutor will agree to dismiss charges.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 10/11/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    Maybe. You can tell the prosecutor's office that you don't want to press charges. You can decline to cooperate, and try to avoid being subpoenaed for trial. (Talk to a lawyer about whether a subpoena is valid.) If there was a fight, there was probably a crime committed by at least one participant, and maybe both, so you might end up prosecuted in lieu of your friend.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/11/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    You can contact the prosecutor and explain what happened or you can get word to your friend that you won't show up for trial.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/11/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    You are not making charges so you cannot drop them. On the complaint or charging papers it will say The People of the State of California v. (name of person charged). All that you can do is contact the D.A. and tell him that you would like him to drop the charges.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    Refuse to testify. Best if you get a lawyer to call the DA and say you don't want to testify as your memory is very vague or you made some mistakes in the police report. Don't do this yourself. Better yet, talk to you pal's lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    If you pressed charges against someone it is up to the prosecutor to decide what to offer as a plea or to dismiss the charges. If you did not tell the police the truth then you are guilty of making a false complaint and can be arrested and do up to a year in jail. Judges and police officers are tired of people who want to "drop the charges" especially if they lied in the first place. You have not given me enough facts to advise you further but if you told the truth you can ask the prosecutor to dismiss the charges or offer a violation. If you lied to have someone arrested you belong in jail.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Anderson Walsh PLLC
    Anderson Walsh PLLC | STACI LYNN ANDERSON
    If you made a police report, and now want to change your story, you should really seek an attorneys assistance. Your attorney can speak to the prosecutor for you, which will keep you from making statements that can later be used against you. The attorney can also be with you in court to help you assert your 5th Amendment right to avoid incriminating yourself for filing a false police report or perjury. The prosecutor will likely not be willing to dismiss the charge against your friend and you will face some unsavory consequences for making false statements or trying to avoid testifying against your friend.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 9/20/2012
    Shane Law Office
    Shane Law Office | Robert J. Shane
    The best advice would be for you to contact the prosecuting attorney and tell him that you do not wish to cooperate in the prosecution of your friend. No prosecutor wants to have an uncooperative witness at trial. Let the prosecutor know if you were the one who started the fight. The defendant may be able to assert self-defense and the state may learn that they no longer have a slam dunk case. Some prosecutors will tell you that it doesn't matter if the victim wants the case dismissed because they represent the State of Minnesota, and not you. If you are sent a subpoena in the mail, you will be asked to sign the back of the subpoena and acknowledging receipt of it. If you don't acknowledge receipt of the subpoena, the service in ineffective and the prosecutor will have to send a process server out to your house to personally serve you with the subpoena. That costs the state money they may not want to spend.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    You would have to talk to the prosecutor about this. It is not your call whether the suit should be dropped but his. However the prosecutor will probably listen to your wishes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Harrison & Harrison
    Harrison & Harrison | Samuel Harrison
    There are very few "do-overs" in criminal law. Once the accusation is made and a warrant issues, it is the prosecutor that decides to push or drop the case. All you can do is meet with someone in the prosecutor's office and ask that they not pursue the case. If the assault really happened, they may not agree to drop the charges.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    No you can't. Once the report arrives at the DA's desk, it is out of your hands.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    Only the prosecuting agency can file , pursue or, with the court's permission after a complaint is filed, dismiss charges. Were you to tell the DA you were less than truthful, you could be prosecuted for a false report. You should schedule an appointment with a criminal defense attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    Your only course of action would be to consult with the prosecutor who is in charge of the case. Let him know everything you know about the case, if the evidence shows your statements to be true, he may decide not to follow through with the case.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    This is tricky because you could be charged for the assault and for lying to police - it is good that you want to be truthful, but I suggest you get an attorney to help you so that you do not get charged or that your charges are the least possible some DAs are better on this than others.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    The prosecutor makes the decision as to whether or not to drop charges against someone. However you can contact their office and express your interests which may influence their decision.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    You can call the DA and tell them you want to drop the charges, but ultimately it is up to the DA. However, it is hard to prove a case without the main witness.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    You do not have the ability to do so. It is entirely up to the prosecuting attorney. Apparently, the prosecutor thinks that there is enough evidence, independent of your statements alone, to justify the filing of the charges. Your wanting to drop the charges means any of the following: 1. You lied to the police, which means you filed a false police report, which means criminal charges could be brought against you. 2.Your friend did assault you, but you are having second thoughts and believe that he did not really mean it. 3. You are financially dependent upon this person and if he goes to jail, you will struggle. 4. The friend is the father of a child you share. In any of these instances, I would first wonder, is there a history of assaultive behavior? Has there been any threats or coercion to get you to change your story. If you are the only one who witnessed the assault, ask yourself what are your motives for wanting to drop the case? While you may not care about your own safety, I hope that there is not a small child at issue.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Attorney at Law
    Attorney at Law | Michael J. Kennedy
    As we have said many times here, people need to be careful about getting the criminal justice machinery whirring against people, because once it is up and running, you cannot easily stop it. The charges are not yours to drop, they are the government's, and they make money for pressing cases but not for dropping them. The government only cares about "victims' rights" when those victims want vengeance, and not otherwise.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    The Law Offices of Jaime Cowan
    The Law Offices of Jaime Cowan | Jaime Cowan
    No, you cannot. The state brings the charges and only the state can drop the charges. You should to the prosecuting attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Richard B. Huttner, P.C.
    Richard B. Huttner, P.C. | Richard Huttner
    Unfortunately you can not just drop charges once they are filed. You are a witness to the event and don't have the ability to just say never mind. You can tell the prosecutor how you feel but that doesn't necessarily mean the case will be dropped. As the complaining witness, you don't carry the power to decide whether to drop charges.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Gutin and Wolverton
    Gutin and Wolverton | Harley Gutin
    You can go to the State Attorney's office and tell them that upon sober reflection you realize the fight was your fault and you want the charges dropped. You also contact your friend's attorney who will take a statement from you and submit it to the State. Not every time does those two steps work but generally they do.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    You ask that the charge be dismissed, but you must take care in doing so because you could be prosecuted for false swearing.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 7/8/2013
    AyerHoffman, LLP
    AyerHoffman, LLP | Melissa Hoffman
    Technically, it is the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, not you, that has brought the charges against your friend. You are a "victim witness". Even though you can certainly notify the District Attorney's Office that you are no longer interested in providing testimony against your friend, the choice of whether or not to proceed lies with the DA assigned to the case. If there is other physical evidence, statements of admission on the part of the defendant, or other eyewitnesses, the DA could very well decide to go forward. You can try contacting the Victim Witness Advocate or the DA assigned to your case to discuss your desire to see the charges dropped.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    You can neither put charges on someone or drop charges. That power belongs to the Prosecuting Attorney assigned to the case. What you can do is contact the police officer who wrote the report and tell that officer that you wish to amend your statement. You can also contact the prosecutor and correct your statement; although the prosecutor may turn around and charge you with false reporting.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    D T Pham Associates, PLLC
    D T Pham Associates, PLLC | Duncan T Pham
    Yes. Contact prosecutor handling case at DA's Office
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/28/2011
    The Law Office of Cindy Barton
    The Law Office of Cindy Barton | Cindy Barton
    You have to go talk to the Prosecutor. Tell him the whole story, be honest and complete.The police and the prosecutor still have the right to proceed if they have evidence that a crime was committed, but if you were the complainant and now wish to withdraw, they will usually drop the charges. Be careful with your words and actions, it can affect so many people.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Furlong & Drewniak PLLC
    Furlong & Drewniak PLLC | Thaddeus Furlong, Esq.
    Only the prosecutor can drop a charge, so contact the prosecutor handling that case.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    AyerHoffman, LLP
    AyerHoffman, LLP | David C. Ayer
    You can inform the prosecutor you are not willing to testify, that you now remember the fight was your fault. You run the risk of being charged with filing a false police report. There is also the distinct possibility the prosecutor will go forward against your friend anyways. Crimes are considered to be offenses against the state. Victims are treated merely as witnesses. If the prosecutor feels there is enough evidence in the police reports and any prior statements you have previously sworn, it is very likely your friend will continue to face charges.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Law Office of Charles J. Block
    Law Office of Charles J. Block | Charles J. Block
    Sure you can, just show up in Court and say you do not want to press charges - if you are the only witness, without your testimony the state cannot prove it's case. Be careful as the Prosecutor or Police Officer who took the complaint may try to scare you into going forth with the complaint but if you say it was a misunderstanding and say you do not wish to testify, the case will probably be dismissed. Also, it may be helpful if your friend has an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/10/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Only a prosecutor may dosmiss criminal charges. An individual person, even an alleged victim, cannot do so although they may express their desires to the prosecutor.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/10/2011
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