Why Won’t the State Just Drop my Charges?

After you’ve been accused of a crime, there is a possibility that the alleged victim decides to no longer pursue legal action against you. Whether that be because of a change of conscience, new evidence coming to light, or any other reason – the bad news is that you’ll likely still have to fight your case. Unfortunately, when dealing with criminal cases, the alleged victim does not have the ability to rescind the charges.

Who Has the Right to Drop my Charges?

When an accusation is brought to the police or you are arrested, they will write a report with all of the information they can garner at the time, and then send that report to a state prosecutor. This state prosecutor is the one who actually decides whether or not to pursue your case, not the alleged victim. The prosecutor will decide whether to file the charges against you in a document called an “information” or decide to not charge you with anything and close the case.

As their title describes, a prosecutor’s job is to prosecute, and as such they normally won’t drop a case unless they have good reason to. If the alleged victim does decide that they no longer want to pursue legal action and they refuse to work with the prosecutor on the case, it is possible that the prosecutor will drop the case as they would lose their main witness. When the victim decides to “drop the case”, they will sign a document called a “waiver of prosecution”, and on it they may write a specific reason as to why they want to waive their right to prosecute. Depending on the reason listed, the prosecutor may decide not to pursue your case. For example, if the accusations were false from the onset, and the alleged victim admits as such on the waiver of prosecution, it is much more likely that the prosecutor would drop the case.

If there are outstanding circumstances that the prosecution can use as evidence instead, they will likely not drop the case even if the alleged victim decides not to participate in the case, as long as they believe they can still prosecute the case with the evidence given. This frequently happens in cases that occurred in public or while under surveillance, where there are plenty of witnesses and photos or videos that give the prosecutor substantial evidence even without the victim present. The state does not require a victim to prosecute the case, so their decision to pursue the case is based largely on whether or not they believe they have enough evidence to successfully prosecute your case.

Don’t rely on your case being dropped – even if the alleged victim signs a waiver of prosecution. You should always be prepared to fight for your case, and to do so requires quality legal counsel. Heather Bryan Law, P.A. is here to help. Contact us today to schedule your consultation, and see what we can do for you.


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Heather Bryan Law, P.A.

Our firm has experience defending Floridians against all sorts of criminal charges. Additionally, we are well-equipped to handle emotionally charged family law matters and devastating personal injury cases.

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