What Happens if the Other Person Doesn’t Press Charges?

It’s a common misconception that the victim of a crime decides whether or not the suspected perpetrator is taken into custody and charged with the crime. In reality, police are obligated to investigate suspected crimes within a reasonable level of suspicion, and if probable cause is found, bring the suspect into custody. In fact, the final decision isn’t up to the police either – it comes down to a state prosecutor. This isn’t the end-all for your charges, however. While the final decision is made by the state prosecutor, there are still other factors that could influence whether or not charges will be pursued in any criminal case.

Why Can’t the Victim Stop the Charges?

Our Criminal Justice System is designed to deter crime, and as such, prosecutors have a vested interest in ensuring that serious crimes do not go unpunished. Because of this, state prosecutors are almost always going to pursue charges against violent crimes, or those that had a significant impact on the community. The state will also press charges to defend what they believe are the best interests of victims, even if those victims don’t want a conviction. This becomes especially evident in cases of domestic abuse, where many spouses often don’t want their significant other to be charged. The state will likely determine that criminal charges are necessary in order to disincentivize similar behavior in the future, and so they will likely pursue the case.

A Prosecutor’s Decision to Press Charges

The decision of whether or not to press charges comes down to a few different factors. As stated above, the severity of the crime has the largest impact. Victims can, however, provide some input into the decision by means of a “waiver of prosecution”. The waiver is a signed statement from the victim stating that they do not wish to press charges and describes their reasoning why. This waiver is by no means a guarantee that the prosecutor will drop the charges, especially in more severe cases, but could make a difference in many lesser cases.

Another important factor is the “pre-filing investigation”. At this stage, the prosecutor will conduct their own investigation, mainly focused on garnering evidence of the crime to gauge whether or not they will be successful in garnering a conviction. If sufficient evidence is found, they’re likely to pursue charges. If they feel that there is little to no evidence, the case would become substantially more difficult, and they may decide to drop the charges and your case as a whole in the interest of pursuing more severe cases.

While there is a chance that the prosecutor will drop your charges, it’s certainly not something you can count on. Until you’re completely certain that you’re cleared of all criminal charges, you should always stay in contact with experienced legal counsel. Contact the Law Offices of Kevin B. Ross today at (214) 833-9414 or email at contact@rosscrimlaw.com for quality representation that’s ready to stand by you and provide the representation you deserve.

The following two tabs change content below.

Law Office of Kevin B. Ross, P.C.

Texas criminal defense attorneys Kevin B. Ross and Kristen Beckman bring a team approach to the Law Office of Kevin B. Ross, P.C., a Dallas criminal defense law firm that provides PROFESSIONAL, PERSONAL, and PROVEN representation to people in Texas who are accused of state and federal criminal offenses. We believe everyone deserves the strongest and most effective defense possible. The firm represents clients across Texas who are charged with crimes ranging from federal white-collar crimes to state drug charges, DWIs to murder, and everything in between.

Latest posts by Law Office of Kevin B. Ross, P.C. (see all)

%d bloggers like this: