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What happens if the “victim” drops the charges?

On Behalf of | Jul 8, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

When you face an assault charge or any other charge that results from a crime of violence, you have likely already been told about how much of an effect these charges can have on your life. Depending on the severity of the charges, you could face thousands in fines and years, if not decades, in jail.

You may have heard someone in holding advise you that all you need to do is get the victim to drop the charges. This is a common myth, especially with Springfield, Illinois, domestic violence incidents.

What, it is a myth?

Yes. Perhaps, it was the movies or TV that started the myth of victims “dropping charges,” but it is just that, a myth. Crime victims do not have the ability to file charges or drop charges. They only have the power to report crimes to the police, who investigate the allegations. Then they make arrests and file charges based on that investigation.

Does that mean that the police can drop the charges?

Generally, no. In nearly every jurisdiction, the only person who can drop the charges against you is the prosecutor assigned to your case or their boss. Once the Springfield, Illinois, police file the charges, other than acting as witnesses and providing the evidence to the prosecuting attorney, they are no longer involved in the process.

Does the alleged victim’s opinion not matter?

It depends on what you mean by matter. Legally, whether the Springfield, Illinois, victim wants to cooperate is only relevant when their testimony is needed. If it is needed, and the victim is refusing to cooperate in your prosecution, then the prosecutor will have two options. They can drop the charges, or they can subpoena the alleged victim to testify.

If the victim still does not comply, or if they change their story, the victim could face charges themselves. This is why it is almost never a good idea to reach out to your accuser because even if they agree to not cooperate, they may be forced, and just by reaching out, you could face additional charges and violate the terms of your bail.

Do not listen to jailhouse lawyers

Do not listen to legal advice from inmates. Instead, listen to your lawyer. If you want to figure out how to mitigate or reduce your charges, ask your lawyer. They are the only one who is truly on your side in this entire Springfield, Illinois, process.