If a victim doesnt show up on court date is the case automatically dismissed by the judge? 46 Answers as of July 12, 2013

If a victim doesn't show up to court date in a criminal case, does the judge automatically dismiss the case?

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Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
It can dismiss it, but typically either side will be given one reset before dismissal. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 6/24/2011
Law Office of Richard Williams
Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
No. The case is not automatically dismissed. There are times when the case is dismissed but on other occasions it is reset and the victim or complainant is subpoenaed and compelled to appear in court. A person who has received a subpoena, and fails to come to court may face contempt charges and can be arrested and incarcerated by the court.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 6/17/2011
Timothy J. Thill P.C.
Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
Not necessarily. If your attorney has had a demand for speedy trial running, and 160 days have passed since the demand was entered, and the term has not been broken by a motion defendant or by agreement continuance, the case will be dismissed. In many urban courts, the case will be dismissed sooner, because of heavier court calls, if the victim fails to appear for trial.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 6/17/2011
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law
Thomas J. Tomko Attorney At law | Thomas J. Tomko
If the only witness to a crime fails to appear at a trial date, then there may be no evidence to proceed, and the case can be dismissed. A prosecutor may ask for an adjournment for good cause. Many judges will adjourn a matter if a witness does not appear. If at a new date the witness again fails to appear, then the case is more likely to be dismissed.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/17/2011
Law Offices of Scott G. Hilderman
Law Offices of Scott G. Hilderman | Scott G. Hilderman
No. It depends on the offense and what other evidence the prosecutor has.
Answer Applies to: Montana
Replied: 6/16/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    In general depending on the type of case, a victim does not have to show up in court. The prosecutor must prove the elements of the charge with evidence which can be many different types such as testimony, demonstrative evidence, circumstantial evidence, photo, reports and other documentary evidence.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    There are certain stipulations of the law which allow a defendant the right to cross examine their accuser which may be factored into the result of a case. The failure of a witness to appear in court is certainly not automatic grounds for the dismissal of the case by any means, though. A large number of factors in a criminal case are taken into account and the degree to which the prosecution's evidence relies upon the testimony of the victim will only be one of them.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    LynchLaw
    LynchLaw | Michael Thomas Lynch
    No. Most court dates no not require the appearance of any witnesses. The only reason a victim would be required to appear is if they were scheduled to testify. Even then the Court could find good cause for their absence.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    not necessarily be there could be other evidence from other sources.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC
    Lacy Fields, Attorney at Law, LLC | Lacy Fields
    It may be. The State will usually ask for a continuance, and it is common for the court to grant each side 1-2 continuances each.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    The victim will not generally be asked to come to court. The DA will meet with them or call them and they will appear at trial if necessary. If they do not appear at the Grand Jury or at trial the case may be dismissed if the DA needs their testimony to prove the case.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law | Jonathan S. Willett
    The answer is usually the court will dismiss unless the prosecution has her under subpoena, the they might grant them a continuance.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    Not necessarily. If the prosecutor can prove the case without the victim., the prosecutor can elect to proceed with the trial. Also, if the defendant has any part in the victim's non attendance in court, the defendant can be charged with witness tampering or witness intimidation. At any rate, you should talk to a Georgia attorney to make sure of the law in that state.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Automatically? NO. Generally, if the DA knows the witness isnt going to show up at a preliminary hearing or trial, then they ask the case be continued and the court issues a warrant for the witness to be brought to the next court date.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    No. Generally the prosecution is given time to get the witness to court if the witness has been subpoenaed and failed to appear. If they have not been subpoenaed, then the State might be granted a reset in order to continue to search for the witness. Finally, in some instances, the witness may not be necessary to the prosecution of the case and the case may proceed without the witness.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    You should retain your own criminal lawyer in your community. No, a criminal case is not automatically dismissed merely because the victim doesn't show up. For instance, the D.A. may seek a continuance. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Law Offices of Carl Spector
    Law Offices of Carl Spector | Carl Spector
    Not necessarily. Criminal cases do have rules that have to be followed with regard to dismissals that violate your speedy trial rights. So while a case may not be dismissed on the first court date, it may very well be dismissed at a later date.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    No. It's only when a victim doesn't show up for trial that it may present a problem for the prosecutor and the case could be eventually dismissed. Speak to your attorney about it. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    It depends - the judge could grant a continuance to get the victim there or could dismiss the case. It depends on why the victim did not show up, how old the case is and other factors.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    Not initially, the case may be continued at the request of one or both attorneys. The judge would only have the option of dismissal for failure of the state to bring witnesses if the state has had clear opportunity to present witnesses and has failed to do so in several prior instances. The defense attorney must object to a continuance and ask the judge to sanction the state by dismissing the case. You should consult with an experienced attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    It depends. Often, if it is a petty case, then it gets dismissed. It is not inconceivable, however, that someone would be sent to get the witness if the prosecution really wants to proceed with the case. Please note the following necessary legal disclaimer: I have not given legal advice. I only give advice to my clients. I am not acting as your attorney. I have not yet agreed to represent you. Anything I have said is based on limited information and may be subject to change as more facts become known. Attorneys express opinions. Attorneys often disagree. If you want further information or independent verification of anything I have said then you should immediately consult another attorney. Never sit on your rights!
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 6/14/2011
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre
    Law Office of Jonathan T. Sarre | Jonathan T. Sarre
    It would depend on what other evidence the state has. If the state has an independent witness who saw the whole thing then not necessarily. If the victim made statements to the police or 911, then there could also be exceptions to the evidentiary rules against the admission of hearsay that could be used to bring in the statements the victim made. On the other hand, it is common for cases to be dismissed if the victim does not show up.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/14/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Subin
    Law Office of Andrew Subin | Andrew Subin
    It depends on the charge. What type of case is it?
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 7/12/2013
    Harrison & Harrison
    Harrison & Harrison | Samuel Harrison
    Usually the court will allow the state some time to find their witness. If they can't, however, and they can't prove the case without the victim's testimony, they may have to dismiss it.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/14/2011
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    While, the victim (complaining witness) normally cause a case to be dismissed it is not done automatically.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 6/14/2011
    Allan & Summary
    Allan & Summary | Justin Summary
    No, the victim would have to miss your trial date before a judge would normally consider dismissing the case.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 6/14/2011
    Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC
    Fitzpatrick, Mariano, & Santos, PC | Raymond J. Savoy
    It is in the judge's discretion to dismiss a case. A judge will usually not dismiss a case the first time a victim does not appear in court. The judge may not require a victim to appear unless the court needs their testimony.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/14/2011
    Vermeulen Law office P.A.
    Vermeulen Law office P.A. | Jacob T. Erickson
    That is not always the case. It depends on what evidence the State has.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/14/2011
    Healan Law Offices
    Healan Law Offices | William D. Healan, III
    Not automatically. It depends on why the victim didn't show up. Some judges dismiss in that situation, some continue the case to give the victim another chance to appear.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/14/2011
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    Not necessarily. The prosecutor has the burden of proving the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. If there are other witness who can testify and meet this burden, then the case could go forward. If there are not, the judge could adjourn the matter to allow the prosecutor to find his/her witness, or the judge could dismiss the matter. A dismissal may be without prejudice thereby allowing the prosecutor to renew the charges at a later date.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/14/2011
    Lowenstein Law Office
    Lowenstein Law Office | Anthony Lowenstein
    No - that is up to the DA how to proceed. For more information, please see my website or call me for a legal consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/14/2011
    The English Law Firm
    The English Law Firm | Robert English
    It depends. If the prosecution has evidence of the crime that is independent of the victim's testimony, then there would not be an automatic dismissal. It would likely weaken the case though. The prosecution may be able to introduce prior statements of the victim or get a continuance if there is some evidence of witness unavailability.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/14/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    Depends on what the court date is as well as other factors. If it's a felony, you are entitled to a preliminary examination within 14 days of your first court appearance. If the victim fails to show up for the prelim and there is still time to re-schedule the prelim within the 14-day timeframe, the prosecutor usually will and that is permissible. If the victim doesn't show up again, the case will be dismissed without prejudice which means the case could be re-filed. If the victim doesn't show up at trial, the case will probably be dismissed unless the prosecution can still meet their burden of proof with other witnesses. Sometimes this is possible and sometimes it isn't. It just depends on what type of case it is. Same thing goes for the prelim: they may or may not be able to meet their burden through the testimony of other witnesses.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/14/2011
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    No, the prosecutor will usually ask for a continuance date in the matter which the judge will normally grant.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/14/2011
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC
    Law Office of Rankin Johnson IV, LLC | Rankin Johnson IV
    The state can sometimes get the trial rescheduled, and the victim's testimony is not necessarily required; for example, if the crime is an assault, and someone else saw the assault, the defendant could be convicted without the victim's testimony. But if the victim doesn't show up at trial, a dismissal is a definite possibility.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 6/14/2011
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts
    Law Office of Andrew Roberts | Andrew Stephen Roberts
    Not necessarily. The court can continue the matter.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/14/2011
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law
    Michael R. Nack, Attorney at Law | Michael R. Nack
    No. Normally the judge will give the prosecution a continuance and another chance to produce the witness. If the witness was under subpoena and didn't show, then the judge might issue a capias (warrant) for the witness.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 6/14/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    It is by no means automatic. The prosecution will try to Prove their case through the police or other witnesses. You should have an attorney to protect your rights.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 6/14/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    No it depends on the court date. If it is for trial and the testimony is needed to convict a person then the answer is that the prosecution can't prove the case and it gets dismissed or adjourned so the prosecutor can try to get the person there.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/14/2011
    Jason Overton, Attorney at Law
    Jason Overton, Attorney at Law | Jason Overton
    Not necessarily. Different Courts may do different things. Sometimes they may grant a motion to dismiss, sometimes the case may be continued in order to give the victim another chance to show up, and other times, the State may decide to go ahead and prosecute without the victim's cooperation, as happens sometimes in domestic violence cases.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 6/14/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    No. Only when the victim's testimony is up next, and the victim is a no show, will the Judge dismiss the case. In other words, it depends where you are in the case. A victim usually doesn't need to show up the first day of trial.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/14/2011
    Tracy L Henderson, Attorney at Law
    Tracy L Henderson, Attorney at Law | Tracy L. Henderson
    The DA may request dismissal if that is what they need to prove their case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/14/2011
    Frances R. Johnson
    Frances R. Johnson | Frances R. Johnson
    I can only answer for Colorado, but not necessarily. It depends upon why the victim does not show and whether the State (DA) seeks a continuance and also upon speedy trial laws.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/14/2011
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