Can A Victim Of An Assault “Drop The Charges”?
No! Many people incorrectly believe that a victim has the power to “press charges” against the abuser, or to later “drop the charges.”
In reality, it is the Prosecutor who makes the decision as to whether or not to charge a case. All crimes are offenses against the community, not just the individual victim. Criminal complaints are prosecuted on behalf of the State of Michigan or various City jurisdictions, not the individual who called the police or the person who may have been personally harmed by the defendant’s conduct.
Only the Prosecuting Attorney can issue or dismiss charges. This is important because it takes the responsibility for prosecuting the abuser off the victim’s shoulders and puts it on the Prosecuting Attorney’s, where it legally belongs. It also means that the defendant cannot “pressure” the victim into dropping the charges. Although the decision whether to prosecute or not prosecute is ultimately up to the Prosecuting Attorney, the victim’s opinion is important and the Prosecuting Attorney will take those wishes into account when making decisions about the case.
It is also important to understand that sometimes, a Prosecutor can move forward on criminal charges using “alternate proofs” even without the victim present.
A variety of factors are taken into account when deciding whether to honor a victim’s request not to proceed with a prosecution, including:
- The nature and extent of the defendant’s prior criminal history;
- The severity of the alleged crime;
- Whether the defendant has other pending charges in the criminal justice system;
- Future danger to the community (including the current victim); and
- The interest of justice
What To Do If You Have Been Charged with Assault or Domestic Violence?
If you have been arrested for domestic violence or assault, you need to act fast and protect yourself. Even if the alleged victim does not want to move forward with a case and this was a misunderstanding or simple argument blown out of proportion, you could find yourself facing misdemeanor or felony charges and jail or prison time if you’re convicted. You’ll need a competent attorney to defend your rights.