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Can the victim in a case drop the charges?

There is a common misconception in criminal cases that the alleged victim can decide to drop charges against the defendant, and the case will be dismissed.  This is not true.  Once someone calls the police and reports a crime, prosecutors from the State Attorney's Office (the State) are the only ones who can decide whether or not to file charges, and they are the only ones who can dismiss a case pre-trial.*  Once charges are filed, the alleged victim then becomes a witness in the criminal case against the defendant, and the State can compel the victim to testify in court; indeed, the State can have the victim held in contempt or arrested if they refuse to appear in court to testify against the defendant.  Although the State can take into account a victim's desires for the outcome of a case, there are many other factors that play a role in the outcome of a criminal case, and ultimately, it is up to the State to decide whether or not to pursue charges. 

If you or a loved one were arrested or charged with a crime, contact Burkhardt Legal today to schedule a consultation.  At Burkhardt Legal, we have years of experience defending clients in criminal cases, and our record of successes at trial show that we will aggressively fight your case and work to obtain the best possible outcome in your legal matter.

*An exception to this is when a judge dismisses a case after a defense Motion to Dismiss that presents a legal reason why the court is required to dismiss the case.   

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