Will the courts move forward with charges if the other person dropped the charges? 56 Answers as of June 03, 2013

My question is in regards to a dispute where assault charges were pressed on an 18 year old for pushing someone under age. If the child underage drops charges can the courts still move on with it?

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Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC
Cornish, Crowley, Rockafellow, & Sartz, PLLC | Jacob Peter Sartz IV
Ultimately, whether to proceed with a case is up to a prosecutor unless there is a court-order requiring dismissal or a person is acquitted by a judge or jury at a trial. Obviously, it's harder for a prosecutor to proceed if their own witnesses want the case dropped.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 3/29/2012
Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Yes, but the case is much weaker. If the DA presses, get a lawyer.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 10/26/2011
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S.
Freeborn Law Offices, P.S. | Steve Freeborn
Yes the court can, if the prosecutor wants to proceed and there is sufficient evidence. In a criminal case, it is the State that is bringing the charge for a violation of the criminal code. The reporting person (the person pressing the charges) is simply a witness to the crime that was committed. Often times people/victims "change their minds" and don't want to prosecute because they have been coerced, threatened, intimidate or promised something. With younger children, it is also the fear of rejection, or no one to take care of them or guilt feelings especially if the accused person is a parent or guardian.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 10/24/2011
Giannini Law Office, PC
Giannini Law Office, PC | Robert Giannini
Unfortunately, once the person is charged the victim does not have the power to drop the charge. The decision to go forward with the case rests with the prosecuting attorney. The victim has the right to let his/her wishes known, but it is the prosecuting attorney's decision to drop or not.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 10/24/2011
Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
The prosecuting party is the government and not the victim, so "Yes."
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Replied: 10/24/2011
    DeVito & Visconti, PA
    DeVito & Visconti, PA | John E DeVito
    The victim of a crime cannot drop a criminal charge. Only the Commonwealth through the Assistant District Attorney can request dismissal of the case. A judge cannot dismiss the case over the objection of the Commonwealth in this type of situation. Most often, if the victim does not want to pursue the case, the Commonwealth will not force the victim to testify unless the case involves serious bodily injury or there is some other compelling reason to prosecute the case against the defendant. In some cases, the victim is often a participant in an assault and battery. If that is the case, the victim would have the right to assert his or her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. If the assertion is made and accepted by the court the Commonwealth would not be able to go forward with the case, and the case would be dismissed. In these situations, it is best to hire counsel; counsel can assist you through this process and ensure the proper result is reached.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer
    Cynthia Henley, Lawyer | Cynthia Henley
    A complainant in a case is a witness. The State files and pursue charges. A witness cannot "drop charges" - that is not in their control. They may express a desire that prosecution not be continued but that is up to the prosecutor. Whether their desire will be followed depends on many factors includingrelationship of parties, injuries, circumstances of situation, etc.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Law Office of Richard Williams
    Law Office of Richard Williams | Richard Williams
    Criminal charges, once the warrant has been signed, cannot be dropped by the victim. Criminal charges are not against a person, they are against the peace and dignity of the State or municipality where the act occurred. The prosecutor has the discretion to go forward with the charge or to dismiss them.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Timothy J. Thill P.C.
    Timothy J. Thill P.C. | Timothy J. Thill
    First of all, a child's parent or guardian would have to express his desire to have charges dropped, however, in a criminal case, the prosecutor is representing the state, not the complaining witness, and he, alone, has the authority to drop the charges, not the victim/complainant. In a civil case, where one sues another for money damages, the complainant/plaintiff can drop the case, but in a criminal case, the representative of the state (prosecutor), representing the people of the state, has that power.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 10/24/2011
    Anderson Law Office
    Anderson Law Office | Scott L. Anderson
    Once the charge has been submitted to the court the only way to dismiss is if the prosecutor or a judge dismissed the case. If obviously helps if the alleged victim wants to drop the charged but it is not their decision after the case is filed. It would be in your best interests to get a statement from the person stating they want the case dismissed and charges dropped. Obviously you cannot talk directly or indirectly with the alleged victim if you have a no contact order against you. You should certainly consult with an attorney to advise you as to your options.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Anderson Walsh PLLC
    Anderson Walsh PLLC | STACI LYNN ANDERSON
    Once charges are filed, it is up to the prosecutor whether our not to dismiss the case. Often what happens is the alleged victim is threatened with being charged with filing a false police report if they do not testify to what was originally reported after the incident.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 9/20/2012
    Attorney Paul Lancia
    Attorney Paul Lancia | Paul Lancia
    Its up to the District Attorney's office and the Judge.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Bloom Legal, LLC
    Bloom Legal, LLC | Seth J. Bloom
    For any criminal charges like assault or battery, a common misconception is that the victim is the party pressing charges. In all criminal matters, the defendant is being charged by the state, city, local municipality etc. (This is why cases are titled State v. Defendant). For this reason, there is no such remedy as the other party dropping charges, this decision will ultimately rest with the local district or city attorney assigned to the matter. A victim's desire not to press charges may be a persuasive factor in the decision not to press charges but is not in itself sufficient. It is important to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area for this type of matter who will be able to communicate with the prosecutor and negotiate to attempt to have the charges dismissed based upon a number of factors, one of which could certainly be the victim's desire not to have the matter proceed to trial.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Harden Law Offices
    Harden Law Offices | Leonard D. Harden
    Yes, state can proceed with case if complaining witness does not want to proceed. State may subpoena witness to court.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Connell-Savela
    Connell-Savela | Jason Savela
    Yes - they often do but there are ways to make it more difficult if everyone is on board.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law
    Jules N. Fiani, Attorney at Law | Jules Fiani
    Yes.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 6/3/2013
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C.
    Craig W. Elhart, P.C. | Craig Elhart
    Criminal charges are brought by the prosecuting attorney, not a private individual. It is solely up to the prosecutor as to whether to proceed with the charges.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law
    Gregory Casale Attorney at Law | Gregory Casale
    The short answer is yes they can. A criminal complaint is the "Commonwealth" v. Defendant, not one party against the other. Therefore, it is up to the Commonwealth (or the District Attorney's Office) who decides whether or not they will go forward with charges if the original complainant no longer wants to see the charges prosecuted. I would recommend hiring an attorney if this is the case. An attorney will know how to use the original complainant's change in position to get your charges dismissed. It is not as simple as the alleged victim saying he or she doesn't care anymore.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser
    Law Office of Phillip Weiser | Phillip L. Weiser
    The prosecution can file the charges, the court will hear the case and only intervene to dismiss if the state cannot prove at least probable cause. The victim of the assault does not file the charges, they are only a witness to the crime. Criminal charges are always brought by the government.
    Answer Applies to: Kansas
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    The Law Offices of Victor J Mazzaraco
    The Law Offices of Victor J Mazzaraco | Victor J Mazzaraco
    Can they? Yes. With testimony the alleged victim gave following the incident even if the victim chooses not to testify. They can, but it is unlikely they will.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law
    Mark Thiessen, Attorney at Law | Mark Thiessen
    The court and the DA may still try and proceed. They have a duty to protect the public and can still try and make the case. Of course it will be difficult, so they are more likely to dump it. But it's not guaranteed.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Edward  D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law
    Edward D. Dowling IV Attorney at Law | Edward D. Dowling IV
    Yes they can , prosecuting attorney has discretion to file charges or not and to continue with charges even if the complaining witness wants to drop the charges.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg
    Law Office of Eric Sterkenburg | Eric Sterkenburg
    When a person is charged in a criminal matter it is not the victim versa the defendant it is The People of the state of California versa the defendant. If the DA has the evidence to proceed they will. They can call the minor as a witness and if the minor changes his story the DA can use what the minor told the police to impeach his testimony. Whether the DA will move forward with the case depends on numerous facts.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Law Office of Michael R. Garber
    Law Office of Michael R. Garber | Michael R. Garber
    The DA decides whether to pursue a case. If the victim doesn't want to prosecute usually the DA will dismiss it.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Law Offices of Kenneth Wincorn P.C.
    Law Offices of Kenneth Wincorn P.C. | Kenneth Wincorn
    Yes and usually will proceed in the name of the State.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    A victim does not either "press" or "drop" charges. Crime reports are taken by law enforcement personnell and forwarded to the prosecutiong agency [usually the district attorney] who decides whether or not to proceed with the case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Law Office of Charles J. Block
    Law Office of Charles J. Block | Charles J. Block
    The state (Court) can try but if the other party does not testify, the state will have a very difficult time proving it's case.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC
    The McDonnell Law Firm, PLLC | Patrick J. McDonnell
    Possibly. When you commit a crime, even though the crime may be a crime against an individual, the law sees it as a crime against the people of New York. So even if the victim decides to terminate involvement, the prosecution may still continue the case. Their case, however, could be a very weak one without the cooperation of the victim.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law
    Charles M. Schiff, Attorney at Law | Charles M. Schiff
    Yes. In assault cases, the state regularly takes over as the complaining party. This effectively takes the discretion out of the hands of the alleged victim. If the state wishes to proceed despite the victim's stated desire, the courts will proceed with the charge.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC
    Klisz Law Office, PLLC | Timothy J. Klisz
    Yes, the prosecutor runs the case, not the victim.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Healan Law Offices
    Healan Law Offices | William D. Healan, III
    The prosecutor makes the decision as to whether the charges will be dropped, not the alleged victim. Most prosecutors, however, will take the alleged victim's desires into consideration.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Law Offices of Marshall Tauber
    Law Offices of Marshall Tauber | Marshall Tauber
    Typically the prosecutor's office, not the "courts" press forward with charges whether or not the complainants want to.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Coulter's Law
    Coulter's Law | Coulter K. Richardson
    Yes. Assault is a crime against the state. The state can proceed against you without the original complainant, but the case is not as strong.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang
    Law Office of Tracey S. Sang | Tracey Sang
    Yes. It's not the victim who is pressing charges, it's the state. However, if the victim no longer wants to testify then the DA is in a more difficult position. They can only proceed off the police report but sometimes they go forward even though this is all they have.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin
    Law Office of Daniel K Martin | Daniel K Martin
    The idea of people 'pressing charges' is very persistent however victims and witnesses do not press charges. Here is an outline of the process: 1. Law enforcement learns that a crime may have occurred 2. Law enforcement respond and gather evidence and arrest people 3. A report is prepared and forwarded to the District Attorney 4. District Attorney reviews the reports and decides whether to file charges and what charges to file 5. Charges are filed with the court 6. Defendant appears and enters a plea There are some variations to this but none of them include a victim or witness 'pressing charges' The other issue is that the minor could not have 'dropped charges' because that person has no authority to drop or dismiss a charge. Only a district attorney or judge has the authority to dismiss a charge. To answer your question, yes it can and will move on if the prosecutor believes that the case can be proved.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum
    Law Office of Edward J. Blum | Edward J. Blum
    Yes. Once someone makes an accusation it is out of their hands and they have no say in what happens with the case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law
    Jonathan S. Willett Attorney at Law | Jonathan S. Willett
    The answer to your question is yes, because in a criminal case the state is pressing the charges not the private party.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Law Offices of John Carney
    Law Offices of John Carney | John Carney
    The victim can tell the prosecutor that they do not wish to press charges but the decision is for the prosecutor, not the victim. The victim can also address the court at sentencing to ask the court to show mercy, but it is up to the judge to determine the sentence, not the victim.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Law Office of Thomas Baynton
    Law Office of Thomas Baynton | Thomas B Baynton
    The prosecutor is the person/entity bringing the charge, not the court. Yes the prosecutor may go forward because society (the people) can be the "victim". However an experienced criminal attorney may be able to use the situation you have described to your advantage.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Michael Breczinski
    Michael Breczinski | Michael Breczinski
    It is not the other person that brings the charges it is the State or municipality that brings them. The victim is called the complaining witness. The State is the Plaintiff only they can drop the charges.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Law Office of James S. Lochead
    Law Office of James S. Lochead | James S. Lochead
    The courts can proceed with charges, as they view a public offense as an offense against the State and not just the victim. Whether they will in a particular case depends on the facts of each case - i.e. whether the victim was injured, why was the victim pushed, emotional trauma etc.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Law Offices of James A Bates
    Law Offices of James A Bates | James A Bates
    It is totally up to the prosecutor. It is not the alleged victim who presses charges. It is the People of the State of California.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Austin Legal Services, PLC
    Austin Legal Services, PLC | Jared Austin
    It is not up to the victim or complaining witness to drop charges. The prosecutor alone has the power to drop charges. The victim can speak their mind to the prosecutor and say that they do not wish to pursue the matter, but the prosecutor can pursue the matter with or without your consent or cooperation. That doesn't mean they will, but keep in mind that they can. Often they don't like to pursue cases with uncooperative or reluctant victims so it's worth a try.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    A person cannot drop charges. Only a prosecutor can make such a decision.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo
    Law Offices of Matthew Murillo | Matthew Murillo
    Yes. Once a police report is filed, and the DA decides to pursue charges, that's it. The other person is a victim, not a plaintiff. Even if they refuse to testify, the DA can still prosecute for the offense.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/20/2011
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh
    Law Office of Jeff Yeh | Jeff Yeh
    Of course they can. Whether the victim wants to drop charges is irrelevant. The fact is, victims aren't even entitled to "drop" anything. Only a prosecutor can drop charges.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/20/2011
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C.
    Law Office of Michael Morgan, l.L.C. | Michael Morgan
    Yest hey can and often they do go forward with the prosecution.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/20/2011
    Betts Legal Services
    Betts Legal Services | Shawn M. Betts
    The victim does not decide if a charge continues against a person. Only the prosecution can drop charges, and they do not have to take the alleged victim's wishes into account.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/20/2011
    Andersen Law PLLC
    Andersen Law PLLC | Craig Andersen
    In the state of Washington, only a prosecutor can bring or drop charges. The child is simply a victim and a witness, the prosecutor will treat him as such and proceed with the prosecution.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/20/2011
    LynchLaw
    LynchLaw | Michael Thomas Lynch
    Good question. This actually comes up quite often. The individual who is pushed is referred to as the victim. However, the crime is considered to be committed against the People of CA. Even if a victim does not want the Defendant prosecuted the District Attorney can proceed against the Defendant. The DA would have to consider having a sympathetic victim, or even one who becomes hostile towards the DA, for going forward with the case. However, sometimes the participation of the victim in not necessary. Certainly in a murder case the victim does not directly participate. Often a letter from the victim to the DA asking that charges are not pressed can lead to a resolution of the case. This letter must come from the victim directly and without any encouragement. It is very important for the Defendant an/or their supporters not to attempt to have the victim take such a stance. The victim is a witness of a crime. You would never want to be charged with dissuading a witness, itself a serious crime.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/20/2011
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C.
    Dennis Roberts, a P.C. | Dennis Roberts
    Yes. Prosecutors take the position that the individual victim has no say in this. The crime is against "The People of The State of California". They need the victim to testify for a conviction.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/20/2011
    Keyser Law Firm
    Keyser Law Firm | Christopher W. Keyser
    Potentially. Whether charges move forward is determined by the prosecution. The alleged victim does not control whether charges are brought - contrary to pop culture where the alleged victim "drops all charges." With that said, the alleged victim does have input that is typically valued by the prosecutor. Thus if the alleged victim does not want the case to move forward, the prosecutor will certainly take this into consideration.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 10/20/2011
    The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann
    The Law Offices of Christopher J. McCann | Christopher J. McCann
    Yes. Unfortunately, the district attorney can always prosecute, even if the victim does not want to. It does help though in terms of getting the best offer possible that the DA knows that the victim is not pushing these charges.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/20/2011
    Baner and Baner
    Baner and Baner | Jonathan Baner
    It is frightening how often this question comes up. Children/victims do not charge. The State, through the prosecutor, charges criminals and is the authority that determines whether criminal charges will be brought, continued, or dropped. A court may obviously order charges to be dropped (more accurately courts dismiss, not order charges to be dropped/un-filed/etc).
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/20/2011
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