Who presses charges in statutory rape cases? 51 Answers as of September 06, 2012

My niece, age 15, is pregnant with the child of her boyfriend, age 21. She is worried about telling her parents in case they file statutory rape charges. Though I assured her the three of us could convince her parents to not press charges, she is worried, if charges are pressed and her parents change their minds later, the prosecutor won't drop the charges. Is the decision to press and/or continue charge of statutory rape left to the parents/guardians or the prosecutors?

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Law office of Robert D. Scott | Robert Scott
The State's Attorney Office presses all charges.
Answer Applies to: Maryland
Replied: 9/6/2012
Dungan, Lady, Kirkpatrick & Dungan PLLC | Michael Dungan
The prosecutors.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 9/6/2012
Law Office of James A Schoenberger
Law Office of James A Schoenberger | James A Schoenberger
The filing of criminal charges is up to the state. If no one makes a criminal complaint to law enforcement, no charges can be filed. If a police report is made, the boyfriend will be charged with rape of a child (statutory rape) and will face prison time.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 9/6/2012
Law Office of Ronald G. Draper | Ronald G. Draper
Primarily to the prosecutors.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
Replied: 9/5/2012
Jon M. Martinez Criminal Law Group | Jon M. Martinez
The decision to press charges would be at the sole discretion of the prosecutor. Many times, the victims of a case do not want to move forward after police are initially contacted, but the state will continue to pursue a conviction regardless of what the victim wants to do.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Replied: 9/5/2012
    Universal Law Group, Inc. | Francis John Cowhig
    Once any crime has been reported to the police, the decision to file charges and pursue the criminal case is in the hands of the prosecutors. Neither the victim nor anyone else can have the charges dropped or dismissed. Only the prosecutor can.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    The prosecutor has sole discretion of dropping charges in any criminal case. Unlike a civil case, where the plaintiff is a private individual, the people of the state are party plaintiff. In all criminal cases, the parents and guardians are merely complaining witnesses, with no say in how the case proceeds or is disposed of.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Nelson & Lawless
    Nelson & Lawless | Terry Nelson
    Parents, family, or anyone concerned can call the police and Social Services. Parents should be the primary ones to report. Police could call in Social Services to protect the minor. Any medical professional is obligated to contact Social Services and police once they learn that this statutory rape occurred. Society is trying to protect the minor from such sexual predation, even if the parents didn't. Once filed, prosecutors don?t like to drop charges just because somebody has a change of heart. Prosecutors can subpoena the victim and compel her to testify.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Law Office of Richard Southard
    Law Office of Richard Southard | Richard C Southard
    The State presses charges. However the process is usually started by someone filing a complaint to the police department. In the cases of underage pregnancies, there may be some notification process via the hospital. Ask your doctor/hospital about this.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    Your niece is right. The whole issue of statutory rape is based on the concept that a woman under 16 is incapable of consent to sex. Therefore, the District Attorney will take charges of statutory rape if initiated by the parents. Her boyfriend could be charged if the parents make issue.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Law Office of Joe Dane
    Law Office of Joe Dane | Joe Dane
    In any criminal case, it's not up to any individual to "press" or "drop" charges. That decision is up to the prosecuting agency in the jurisdiction where it occurred. If this is reported to law enforcement, given that she's pregnant and more than a 3 year age gap exists between the, the boyfriend is looking at a potential felony.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    The decision to file a criminal charge is the responsibility of the prosecutor.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Law Office of Michael E. Dailey
    Law Office of Michael E. Dailey | Michael E. Dailey
    State presses charges though the office of the prosecutor. Medical providers are also mandatory reporters of child abuse and exploitation including statutory rape.
    Answer Applies to: Missouri
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    Only a prosecutor may press charges. The matter may be reported to police who will investigate and then forward the matter to a prosecutor for charging.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
    The prosecutors also, the doctor may inform the police as a mandatory reporter of sex issues.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Natty Shafer Law
    Natty Shafer Law | Nathaniel Shafer
    It is the prosecutor's decision to press charges. A prosecutor will make that decision based on the evidence before them. If the parents provide enough evidence, then the prosecutor can move forward.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
    Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
    The prosecutor. Who is going to take care of this baby? Your niece is a child herself. Is the 21-year-old boyfriend in a position to support your niece and this child? Doubtful. How is your niece going to hide the pregnancy? People are bound to find out. The more she hides this from her parents, the more angry they will become and the more they are going to want to have "father" charged. At minimum, your niece is going to need some very serious counseling. Her life is about to change dramatically.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Law Office of Gregory Crain | Gregory Crain
    Parents initially then prosecutor, especially with a pregnancy.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Shane Law Office
    Shane Law Office | Robert J. Shane
    The decision to prosecute a crime is always within the sole discretion of the prosecuting attorney. Once the parents decide to contact the police regarding the incident, all control over the charging process is lost. The officer will interview the alleged victim and attempt to interview the perpetrator. The officer will prepare his police reports to be submitted for review by the prosecution. The charging decision is within the discretion of the prosecuting attorney and will depend on the strength of the state's case, not on the wishes of the victim or her parents. It would be better for the prosecution to have a cooperative victim testify at trial, but it is not necessary. If the victim does not want to cooperate and testify at trial, the power of the subpoena can compel her attendance.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    All that is basically true - if reported to the police, the police and DA will likely file charges and there will be no way to stop the statutory rape charges. It is possible that the hospital will report to the police, if they find out the age and name of the father.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Palumbo and Kosofsky
    Palumbo and Kosofsky | Michael Palumbo
    As an adult, you should tell your brother or sister what has happened to their child and let them deal with it accordingly.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    The prosecutor has the discretion to not file charges or not continue with charges regardless of what the other people involved want. Although if charges are filed, and the parents or others that requested that charges be filed tell the prosecutor they want to drop the charges the prosecutor may drop them.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Law Office of Brian K. Wanerman
    Law Office of Brian K. Wanerman | Brian K. Wanerman
    The decision to charge a person with a crime is entirely up to the prosecutor (usually the District Attorney). You are correct that he doesn't (and likely won't) take the parents' desires into account. He is not required to drop charges just because the girls' parents don't want to prosecute. Consult an attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Leonard A. Kaanta, P.C. | Leonard A. Kaanta
    Once a crime is reported to the police, the prosecutor has the sole discretion to bring or not to bring charges, as the crime is against the peace and dignity of the people of the state of Michigan.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Germaine & Blaszka, P.A.
    Germaine & Blaszka, P.A. | Donald L. Blaszka, Jr.
    In New Hampshire, people do not "press" or "drop" charges. Once the police are alerted to possible criminal activity, they investigate the alleged criminal activity and arrest a suspect if they believe that there is sufficient probable cause, that the suspect committed the crime. The State through the County Attorney's Office handles these types of cases in Superior Court and have the absolute authority on how to handle the prosecution of the case. A victim's parents cannot "change their minds later" about a case - it is not their call. The victim has the right to provide input about the disposition of a case through the NH Victims' Rights Act.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Mace J. Yampolsky, LTD
    Mace J. Yampolsky, LTD | Mace Yampolsky
    If the State is notified, they will prosecute, whether you want to or not.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Law Office of James Gandy
    Law Office of James Gandy | James Gandy
    Prosecutors, not the victims, decide whether to pursue charges.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Lawrence Lewis
    Lawrence Lewis | Lawrence Lewis, PC
    Neither the parents, guardian or child present charges to the grand jury for indictment. Therefore, the prosecutor controls the charges. When the 15 year old delivers will it be in a hospital. Will she give her correct date of birth. The personnel at the hospital are mandatory reporters, which means once someone figures out that the child was conceived when she was 15 years old, the police will be called, and there will be an investigation. Then the prosecutor will control the presentment of the indictment to the grand jury.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Miller & Harrison, LLC
    Miller & Harrison, LLC | David Harrison
    The prosecutors decide whether to file charges, what charges get filed and what to offer as an outcome, including dismissal. The alleged victim of the offense must be consulted throughout the case by the prosecutor, but they do not have to do whatever she wants done.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    THE LOCKHART LAW FIRM | CLAYTON LOCKHART
    In any criminal proceeding, once charges are filed and make it to the prosecutor's desk, the decision on dropping the charges rests with the discretion of the prosecutor and not with the person who filed the charges. The person who filed the charges, typically known as the "affiant," can go to the prosecutor and make a request to drop the charges, and there is usually a procedure for them to go through for this. But the final decision to drop or not drop the charges remains with the prosecutor. Even then it's up to the judge to sign the order if/when the prosecutor moves to drop the charges. As to the other part of your question, in most jurisdictions anyone under the age of 18 has to have a parent/guardian sign any kind of affidavit and with the girl being only 15 it would be one of her parents who would sign, and then only the parent who signed can go down and make the request to have the charges dropped.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    Anyone can inform the police if they want to and even the doctors and nurses in the hospital might have to inform the parents if she has insurance in their name. Statutory rape is a serious crime and if you have intercourse with a girl under age 17 you are guilty regardless of her consent as she is not legally able to consent. The police will investigate any case that is brought to their attention no matter who it is and they and the prosecutors will decide whether to arrest a person. The father should retain an attorney and not talk to the police or anyone. The girl does not have to talk to the police or anyone if she does not want to or does not desire a prosecution. The parents may very well decide to call the police, but they are going to find out about this sooner or later, but they may not have to find out who committed the crime.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Walpole Law | Robert J. Walpole
    This is not a simple answer. Generally, it is the prosecutor who decides to file criminal charges or not. Although the 15 year old is the victim, the theory of criminal law is that the peace and tranquility of the citizens of the state are also victims. On the other hand the prosecutors might very easily listen to and honor the wishes of the family. This is truly a catch-22.
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Myles Hahn III Attorney at Law | Myles Hahn III
    The truth will get out, one way or another. The police will do an investigation, once they find out. What else could they do when there is strong evidence that an adult had sex with a minor? You are not doing your niece any favors. The matter should be reported immediately to her parents and the police. What happens from there remains to be seen.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    The state is the party, and your niece is the victim. Unless the DA can persuade her to testify, there would be a very weak case.
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Law Offices of Matthew M. Friedrich, PLLC | Matthew M. Friedrich
    Once charges are actually filed against a defendant, the case is in the hands of the prosecutor and only the prosecutor has true authority to dismiss the charges, absent the judge making a ruling to dismiss for some reason. Of course, they almost always consider the position being taken by the complaining witness(es) when deciding whether to proceed with charges.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Ellman and Ellman PC
    Ellman and Ellman PC | Kevin Ellmann
    Once the crime is made known to the State, the State makes decisions on how to proceed.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    The State of Alabama has the authority to charge the defendant and they have discretion not to do so. This is not a crime against a victim (person) it is a crime against the peace and dignity of the State of Alabama.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Prosecutors, plain and simple. If this is reported, and it could be even by the doctors, he is looking at jail time and the prosecutors are taking these matters very seriously.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    The decision to charge made by the prosecutor. A parent does not "press" charges, but does often bring the matter to the attention of the prosecutor.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A
    R. Jason de Groot, P.A | R. Jason de Groot
    Florida Statutes, Section 794.05 is the statute to look at. It is not sexual battery under this statute.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Hamblin Law Office | Sally Hamblin
    Generally, the victim or since minor, the parents. It is possible a hospital could get involved. Then the police file a report and the prosecutor decides whether to move forward. Hiding it from parents is not a good idea. The boyfriend being 21 should have known better. The prosecutor in any case will look at all facts.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly
    Law Office of Brendan M. Kelly | Brendan M. Kelly
    It is really up to the prosecutors to bring charges. At age 15, she cannot consent.
    Answer Applies to: Nebraska
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Mary W Craig P.C. | Mary W Craig
    Someone has to bring the complaint to the DA. In this case, that would be your niece's parents. Then it's up to the DA to formalize the charges. Once the DA charges the boy, the parents may not be able to stop the process.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Ryan Maesen PLC | Ryan Maesen
    The prosecutor, but someone has to tell the police first.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    The Law Offices of Stephen L. Richards | Stephen L. Richards
    The prosecutors. They may listen to the parents, but do not have to.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Healan Law Offices
    Healan Law Offices | William D. Healan, III
    The prosecutors decide whether or not to drop the charges. If charges are filed, the parents do not have the right to dismiss them.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/31/2012
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    In the end, the prosecutor is in charge of the matter. It is the State that brings the charges.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/31/2012
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