If someone tells the police that they don't want to press charges can the person change their mind? 20 Answers as of February 26, 2013

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William L. Welch, III Attorney | William L. Welch, III
The decision whether to prosecute is exclusively up to the state. An attorney can assist you with evaluating the prosecution's case, any defenses that you might have, and any plea offer that might be made, so that you can decide whether to plea bargain or go to trial. If you were to be found guilty, then an attorney can assist you with presenting mitigation, elocution, and a recommendation for a more lenient sentence. and a recommendation for a more lenient sentence.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 2/26/2013
David F. Stoddard
David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
Yes. However, the police have the discretion of bringing charges or not, and may consider that the person first refused to press charges.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 2/18/2013
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
Sure. But police don't like a lot of wish washy people to deal with and they don't like people to USE THEM to solve their domestic problems.
Answer Applies to: North Carolina
Replied: 2/18/2013
The Law Offices of John J. Carney Esq.
The Law Offices of John J. Carney Esq. | John J. Carney
The complainant can tell the police anything they want and the police will decide how to proceed.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 2/18/2013
Austin Legal Services, PLC
Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
Yes, that person can change their mind and as often as they want. Just keep in mind that when that happens, the police and prosecutor may be less inclined to believe you or wish to follow through with the charges. In the end however, it is always up to the prosecutor and the prosecutor alone on whether or not to pursue criminal charges.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 2/18/2013
    Lombardi Law Firm
    Lombardi Law Firm | Steve Lombardi
    The person can change their mind but that doesn't mean the prosecutor has to dismiss the charges. The local prosecutor can continue with the case and if you don't cooperate you can be held in contempt of court and probably jailed.
    Answer Applies to: Iowa
    Replied: 2/18/2013
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    Yes they can do so. Then the police will decide whether to go forward.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/17/2013
    Hamblin Law Office | Sally Hamblin
    A person could depending on the length of time that passed, if the police are willing to do so.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 2/17/2013
    Ronald Resmini
    Ronald Resmini | Ronald Resmini
    The simple answer is, Yes. The victim of crime always has the right to bring charges and if the police can substantiate the charge with the evidence and the statute of limitations on bringing the charge has not elapsed, then it can be initiated.
    Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
    Replied: 2/17/2013
    Law Offices of George H. Shers | George H. Shers
    Yes, but the longer they wait the less likely the police will believe you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/17/2013
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    Sure, they can change their minds, however, it is up to the police to accept the charges, and probably will not, if the complainer already refused charges being lodged against the accused.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 2/17/2013
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    Yes, until the prosecutor disposes of the case.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 2/17/2013
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Yes, and in fact it might not matter because the police rarely listen and they press charges anyway on their own.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/17/2013
    Coulter's Law
    Coulter's Law | Coulter K. Richardson
    Sure. It will, however be used by an adept defense attorney to demonstrate that the complaint was unsure.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 2/17/2013
    Rizio & Nelson
    Rizio & Nelson | John W. Bussman
    It's not the victim's decision whether or not to press charges. That decision belongs to the DA. Often, the DA will take the victim's wishes into account in making that decision, but not always.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/17/2013
    Frank Law Group, P.C.
    Frank Law Group, P.C. | David E. Frank
    Yes, and the police/DA often encourage them to prosecute. In cases where the crime is significant, such as assault, robbery or rape, the authorities will often prosecute even if the victim doesn't want them to crime to.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 2/17/2013
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    Technically, yes, but the "complaining witness" or victim, loses credibility. The police may not want to listen to someone who has changed her mind.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 2/17/2013
    Reade & Associates
    Reade & Associates | R. Christopher Reade
    Yes, the decision to proceed with criminal charges is made by the prosecuting authority, not the victim necessarily. However victim cooperation and participation can go a long way in the decision to prosecute.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 2/17/2013
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