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No matter what you heard, the victim can’t drop charges

On Behalf of | Dec 19, 2022 | Criminal Defense

If you ever watch fictional crime shows, or live shows following law enforcement officers, you may think that victims can drop charges. After all, if victims can press charges, certainly, they can drop charges too, right?

Maryland law

In short, in Maryland, victims cannot drop charges that are filed. State attorneys have the power locally to file charges and also to drop them. So, a victim cannot just simply state, “No, I do not want to press charges,” and then, magically erase charges, like in fictional shows.

Police officers can even present charges to a state attorney without a victim’s cooperation. However, a victim can be compelled to cooperate through a subpoena, and even jailed, if they refuse to comply.

What can victims do?

Alleged victims have the ability to make Annapolis, Maryland, police reports, aid in investigations and then, aid in subsequent trials. Whether an investigation, charges or a trial is pursued is decided by the police and state attorneys’ offices, not the victims themselves.

If an alleged victim would like to stop the process at any point, they can ask, but ultimately, they have no power. But, if they do not want to be a part of the process, that can be taken into account when deciding on how to proceed.

Speaking with the victim

This should take away the incentive to talk with the alleged victim, which can pose potential consequences. Ask your attorney before doing this because it is rarely advisable. Listen to their advice.

The takeaway

Fictional or reality shows wrap up in 30 or 60 minutes. Unfortunately, if you are facing criminal charges, the substantial weight you can feel is real, and it will not go away in such a short time. Additionally, the impact of a conviction is real and can last a lifetime. This is why you should start crafting your Annapolis, Maryland, criminal defense strategy immediately.