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However without the victim as the witness, there is not much chance they will. In the real world, if the police suspect a crime has occured, they will fully investigate it, and will not hesitate to take suspects into custody, even if the victim makes it clear that he or she does not want to press charges. NOT ACTUAL EVENTS. Contact Valcarcel Law at (941) 363-7900 to schedule an appointment. In Florida, law enforcement decides whether to arrest, regardless of the preference of the victim, and regardless of whether the victim wants to “press charges” or not. When a victim chooses not to press charges, they file a waiver of prosecution. For example, if police are called for a domestic disturbance and find upon arrival broken furniture, a hole in the wall, and a victim with visible injuries, there is probable cause to make an arrest – even if the victim is begging police not to do so. However, the victim’s lack of cooperation can lead a prosecutor to dismiss the case. In Idaho, it is not the alleged victim that files the charges. If you are charged with domestic violence and you have a reason to believe that the alleged victim does not want to prosecute, press charges or cooperate with the prosecutor, consult an attorney. I called the police and somehow in the whirlwind of emotions ended up in the police station and they were filling out papers. Florida law provides victims the right to be heard in cases that impact them. Sometimes victims want charges filed but there is insufficient evidence for a prosecution, or perhaps a problem with police procedure that prevents it. They went ahead anyway and now there is a warrant out for his arrest. Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon. In these circumstances, you may wonder if you can still be arrested and face charges. In other words, it is the government’s job to seek justice on behalf of society and victims. That said, rape cases are already difficult to prosecute and it’s unlikely that a DA will move the case forward without the cooperation of the victim. If an alleged victim doesn't want a NCO in place, it is up to the Judge. What if an assault victim doesn’t want to press charges? It’s not unusual that after the situation calms, the alleged victim regrets calling law enforcement. From there, the prosecutor or district attorney will decide whether to charge anyone with a crime. In Florida, law enforcement decides whether to arrest, regardless of the preference of the victim, and regardless of whether the victim wants to “press charges” or not. The waiver of prosecution says two things, essentially: 1) that the victim does not want to press charges against the criminal defendant, and 2) that any conflicting reports regarding the situation are incorrect or inaccurate. Sometimes things happen and in the heat of the moment police are called. The short answer is, yes, the police can make arrest you and refer the matter to the state for charges despite the alleged victim’s wishes. In other words, a victim has little or no say in a reported case. Can police press charges if the victim doesn’t want to? Don’t delay and don’t talk to police or prosecutors about your case before consulting Attorney Valcarcel. Can the Police Arrest Me if the Victim Doesn’t Want to Press Charges? DISCLAIMER: ALL PHOTOS ARE DRAMATIZATIONS. While the victim can indicate to the police whether or not they want charges to go ahead, they cannot override the authorities, and you can still be charged even if the victim refuses to assist the police. What to Expect and How to Prepare for Going to Prison in Florida, Non-Citizens Face Possible Deportation for Criminal Convictions, Questions the Prosecution May Ask During a Criminal Court Hearing, What You Should Know About Florida DUIs During COVID. Just keep in mind that when that happens, the police and prosecutor may be less inclined to believe you or wish to follow through with the charges. However, if victims ask prosecutors not to bring charges and make it perfectly clear that they will not … In the end however, it is always up to the prosecutor and the prosecutor alone on whether or not to pursue criminal charges. Similarly, the assistant state attorney (prosecutor) decides whether to file charges by filing an information or indictment, regardless of the preference of the victim. If after an investigation the police determine that there is probable cause that a crime was committed, the police will oftentimes make an arrest. If you have been charged with domestic violence in Largo and you believe that the alleged victim does not wish to prosecute you may be under the (mistaken) impression that the charges will be dropped. And as noted above, the opposite can also happen -- a victim may want no charges filed and find themselves forced by the state to participate in a prosecution against their wishes. Attorney Valcarcel knows how to work with prosecutors to present arguments that you shouldn’t face charges, or that they should be reduced. A waiver of prosecution does not "drop" the charges or mean that the prosecutor can no longer proceed with the charges, it is simply a formal acknowledgment of the victim's preference. The assumption is that the defendant is threatening or intimidating the victim or that the victim just feels like he or she has too much to lose if the defendant is convicted. As you can see, even if your victim wants the matter dropped and signs a sworn waiver of prosecution, you could still face criminal legal proceedings. Even if the victim indicates an unwillingness to proceed, the prosecutors may decide to file charges anyway. It can also bring more criminal charges such as violating an injunction or no contact order or witness tampering. (See below for more on probable cause. Also available to victims is something called a “waiver of prosecution.” This waiver is a legal document in which the victim swears that he or she has no desire to proceed with charges. In situations where the alleged victim wants the Judge to drop the NCO the alleged victim should do the following: Ask to talk to the victim advocate The police come to the scene or meet with the victim and ask for information. The victim cannot determine what later happens with the case any longer. While for misdemeanors and property crimes the prosecutor may not prosecute if the victim isn't willing, they are not likely to drop a rape charge because the victim doesn't want to press charges. You don’t want to press charges but police charge your partner anyway. The state prosecutes, not the victim. Whatever the victim had said might be used as evidence in the court of law. Consequently, it is not the “victim” that “drops the charges.” Prosecutors file charges. If you find yourself in this situation, you need Sarasota criminal defense lawyer Erika Valcarcel to fight for you. The plot twist occurs when the victim “drops the charges” on the day of court. I explained to them I didn't want to press charges, that I didn’t want him arrested. Nevertheless, a victim can make his or her opinion known to the judge by speaking in court if they wish. In Florida a victim has the right to be heard, but this does not mean that the prosecutor has to do as they say. So technically, the Prosecutor can decide that cutting your arm off is prosecutable, even if you wanted it to happen. It only lies with the prosecutor. In these circumstances, you may wonder if you can still be arrested and face charges. What happens at the trial? The viewing of the information is not intended to create, and does not constitute, an attorney client relationship. A waiver of prosecution can nevertheless be very influential with the prosecutor and judge. There are some exceptions, though. Absolutely! Sometimes--particularly if the defendant has a prior history involving domestic violence--even if the victim tells the prosecutor that they do not wish to proceed, the prosecutor may decide to go forward anyway. You can unsubscribe at any time. Similarly, the assistant state attorney (prosecutor) decides whether to file charges by filing an information or indictment, regardless of the preference of the victim. Can A Person Still Be Convicted of Assault if The Victim Doesn’t Press Charges? The police will then turn over the case to the assistant state attorney (also called the “prosecutor”) handling the case. A waiver of prosecution is an affidavit (a sworn-to legal document) where a victim indicates that, among other things, it is not their desire to proceed with charges against the defendant. If a victim does not appear at trial, the prosecutor may dismiss the case if there is not sufficient evidence to convict the accused without the victim’s testimony. During the PFI, the prosecutor will usually reach out to the victim. Click for Directions  ||  Local Phone: (941) 363-7900. Depending on the evidence available to the state and the circumstances of the case, the State might not have the evidence it needs to get the conviction which means no prosecutor will want to go forward with the case. But while they have a right to speak at substantive hearings involving the defendant, the prosecutor does not have to follow victims’ orders regarding the handling of the case. There is a misconception that the victim of a crime or the police “press charges.” In reality, the only people who can actually press charges in the criminal realm are prosecutors (and grand juries more rarely in CA). Hope this helps. The police can only be the witness if they actually saw the crime being committed. Often the police/prosecutor won’t press charges if the victim doesn’t want to be a witness, but a crime is an offence against the State, not the victim. However, when a victim does say they do not wish to press charges, it means they will not aid the state's case against the accused. For that reason, the prosecutor might decide not to file charges. Unfortunately, there may be little a victim can do to stop prosecution. Hearings can include the defendant’s pretrial conferences, bond hearings, plea date, and sentencing hearing. Although the victim may initially be the one to involve the police, once the State of Florida has decided to file charges against someone the case is out of the victim’s hands. This means that the victim essentially has the right to attend and the right to speak at all of the substantive hearings of the defendant. The prosecutor may not need the victim’s testimony if he or she made a 911 call that was recorded and this recording can be made available for trial. The victim asks that no charges be brought. If the prosecutor decides, after speaking with the victim, that it is in the state’s interest to proceed, then the prosecutor may decide to go forward with charges, regardless if it is the victim’s desire or not. There is a common misconception that it is your decision whether or not to press charges. They take any credible claim of assault seriously and someone usually ends up in handcuffs. By working closely with a legal advocate, you may be able to avoid charges or have them reduced through a plea bargain. The short answer is, yes, the police can make arrest you and refer the matter to the state for charges despite the alleged victim’s wishes. A complaining witness can file a “complaint” with the proper authorities, such as a police department. The Crown Prosecution Service can continue with a domestic violence charge even if the victim doesn't want the case to go - … After events have calmed, there may be those who wished they hadn’t involved the legal system. When the police are called to the scene of a possible crime, they have the authority to make an arrest if they determine there is probable cause to do so. Can police press charges if victim doesn’t? No matter how friendly the police or prosecutors are, your best interests are not their priority. Once an arrest is made, the case is transferred to the prosecutor handling the case and that office begins a “pre-filing investigation” (PFI). Can police still press charges against someone even if the victim decides they want to "forgive and forget" and *not* press anything against them? Some of the reasons a prosecutor may disregard the victim’s wishes include wanting to protect the public, the defendant has a lengthy criminal history or has done this before. Domestic Violence Charges When the Victim Does Not Want to Press Charges. Hi No, the CPS would not necessarily drop the charges even if the victim doesn't want to press charges. Can the police press charges even if the victim doesn't want ... people who can press charges in an assault case. Yes, that person can change their mind and as often as they want. In criminal law, the probable cause standard for an arrest means the police have adequate reason to do so. Many times Judges refuse to drop NCO's, no matter what the alleged victim wants, while the case is pending. http://www.garychuraklaw.com/ Law Offices of Gary Churak, P.C. When it comes to the CPS pursuing a criminal case, there is no law that states what ought to happen if a complainant does not want to press charges or decides not to continue with a … The information on this website is for information only and is not to be used as legal advice. Even if the victim of an assault decides that he or she does not want to press charges or no longer wants to press charges, the Crown Prosecutor may still prosecute the case. Part of that process is talking with the victim. The simple answer to this question is, yes. On occasion there are circumstances where police are called to chaotic scenes where tempers and stress are high. This is a common story, and it is particularly common in cases of domestic violence or, as it is now called, family violence. An individual has no power to independently prosecute a crime. The prosecutor will likely listen to input from the charging officer and alleged victim, but the prosecutor is not required to dismiss a case simply because the accuser doesn't want the defendant to get in trouble, or because the accuser now has second thoughts about calling 911. If someone calls the police and says they were assaulted, officers will be looking to lay charges when they arrive to investigate. They would still investigate this and check the reasons for the victim not wanting to press charges and they can still prosecute him if they feel that it's in the interests of the public. Call us immediately at (941) 363-7900 if you’ve been arrested and face charges. Charging decisions are for prosecutors, not victims. Yes the police can determine that it is likely a crime took place and arrest/charge without the victim's permission. There can be many reasons why a prosecutor may proceed with criminal charges against the wishes of the victim, some of the more common are: The prosecutor believes that he or she is protecting the victim, The prosecutor believes that he or she is protecting the community, The defendant has a lengthy criminal history, There have been similar cases that were dropped involving the same defendant. All rights reserved. Florida law says that the victim has the right to be heard in any proceeding during which a right of the victim is implicated. Again, even with a signed waiver of prosecution, the prosecutor is not compelled to abandon the case. I don't want to press charges. In the most typical scenario, a crime victim contacts the police. Thus, when a victim doesn’t want to press charges, the State will almost always pursue the charges anyway. The prosecutor will then begin an investigation (called a “pre-filling investigation” or “PFI”). This most often happens in domestic violence situations, when a defendant has been arrested and charged with the crime of domestic battery. If you have more questions about domestic battery charges or would like help with a particular issue, please feel free to call us for a free consultation. Also. In our criminal justice system, while crimes may have a human victim, the illegal act itself is considered a crime or wrongdoing against society or the public. Also, visit our Domestic Charges page for a tremendous amount of information about defenses to domestic battery and how our attorneys fight domestic battery charges. The state or federal judicial system must do it. Regardless of whether the victim cooperates with law enforcement, the officers that arrive at the scene of the alleged assault can … Don’t ever try to work it out by yourself. © 2020 Soler & Simon. That is why you need defense counsel right away. If the offender is still at the scene and the offense has just occurred, the police may be able to arrest the person immediately, but only if the police have “probable cause” (a reasonable belief that a crime has occurred and the arrestee did it). Domestic violence, sex crimes, and theft crimes are common examples of criminal offenses in which an alleged victim is part of the crime. Please feel free to contact us if you would like more information about filing a waiver of prosecution. Police and / or the victim don't press charges only the prosecutor can do that. That’s why it is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney like Erika Valcarcel of Valcarcel Law on your side. Yes. If you have more questions about domestic battery charges or would like help with a particular issue, please feel free to call us for a free consultation. It’s not unusual that after the situation calms, the alleged victim regrets calling law enforcement. 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