Man in Handcuffs After Being Charged With a CrimeIn some criminal cases, a victim of an alleged crime may contact the police but then decides they do not want to pursue criminal prosecution of the person they accused of committing a crime. This is common in domestic assault and battery cases.

Unfortunately, the victim does not have the final say in whether the charges should be dropped or if the criminal case will be dismissed. It is up to the police and prosecutor to decide whether to continue arresting and prosecuting the individual.

How a Criminal Investigation Proceeds After the Victim Calls the Virginia Police

When a victim contacts the police, they will come to the scene and investigate. If the alleged crime just occurred, they may arrest the person right away. However, in many cases, the officer must conduct an investigation and obtain an arrest warrant first.

Even if the victim changes their mind about pressing charges against the person they accused of committing a crime, law enforcement could continue the criminal investigation. To have a warrant issued, they would need to establish probable cause that the accused committed a crime. Here are the types of evidence that can be used to establish this:

  • Statements of the victim or witnesses
  • Statements of the accused
  • Physical evidence, such as a weapon or damage to physical property
  • Blood samples or DNA
  • Injuries to the victim

Why a Virginia Prosecutor May Prosecute When the Victim Wants to Drop the Charges

The prosecutor assigned to the criminal case would listen to the victim’s concerns in deciding whether to pursue prosecution. However, the ultimate decision on whether to prosecute or dismiss the case is up to the prosecutor.

In some cases, the prosecutor will decide to continue the criminal case—even if the victim refuses to cooperate. There are many reasons they would do this, including:

  • They believe this would protect the victim.
  • They believe that prosecuting the accused is a danger to the community.
  • The accused has a prior criminal record.
  • Charges against the individual have been dropped in the past.

What Should You Do If the Victim Does Not Want to Press Charges Against You?

If you were accused of a crime and the victim changed their mind about pressing charges, you need to retain an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Even if you are guilty, you may have strong defenses to the charges you face and may be able to show that the prosecution cannot meet their burden of proving that you committed a crime beyond a reasonable doubt. To find out how we can help you mount an aggressive defense strategy, start a live chat or fill out our online form to schedule a free initial consultation today.