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If a victim or reporting party wants to "drop charges," will the criminal case be dismissed?

Posted by Dmitry Gorin | May 28, 2007 | 0 Comments

Not necessarily. There are many reasons why the alleged victim or reporting party has a change of heart. It may be that the report of crime (violence, theft, or other violation) may have been false or inaccurate. It may also be that the person is scared to proceed with a prosecution. The police and the prosecutor's office are aware of all the reasons, and do not just "drop charges" especially in domestic violence cases. They attempt reinterview the reporting party to understand the reason behind the change of heart. The only exception is alleged sex crimes cases. The reporting party's desire to not testify and prosecute are respected, thereby causing the criminal charges of unlawful sex to be dismissed. Tagged as: domestic violence pc 273_5, faq


Law Blog on June 2, 2007 at 1:21 p.m. wrote: A prosecutor has the power of the Subpoena, which is a court order requiring a witness to appear under the threat of fines or jail if they fail to compy. So say a spouse or girlfriend of a defendant is subpoenaed to court, she must appear or risk going to jail. The prosecutors will ask her questions, and then impeach her with her initial statements to the police and 911 operators she made when she was still seeking help in fear for her life. Also, the prosecutor looks for corroboration to the initial story made by the alleged victim - what did the neighbors hear, are there visible injuries, is there a prior arrest record? Based on the totality of circumstances, the prosecutor makes a decision to dismiss, settle, or go to trial. Rajan Trehan on May 31, 2007 at 7:16 p.m. wrote: Is this decision left solely to the prosecutor's discretion or are there some laws that would come into play in such cases? If the prosecutor reinterviews the reporting party and it is clear that they won't press charges, is there any mechanism by which the prosecutor can still press charges if he or she believes there is still a legitimate case to be made?

About the Author

Dmitry Gorin

Dmitry Gorin is a licensed attorney, who has been involved in criminal trial work and pretrial litigation since 1994. Before becoming partner in Eisner Gorin LLP, Mr. Gorin was a Senior Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles Courts for more than ten years. As a criminal tri...


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