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Can charges be dropped?

Minneapolis, MN |

back in 2008 a friend was staying with us for awhile and stole some checks, 1600.00 worth. I just now pressed charges as i came across these checks and since he was already on probation in 2 different states, he's looking at some serious jail time. My issue is i just found out he's in stage 4 of pancreatic cancer. I don't want him to spend the last months of his life in jail. Is there anyway the county attorney would consider dropping charges? Or is there anyway i can fix this?

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Attorney answers 4


The decision to file, drop, or for that matter plea bargain a criminal case is within the discretion of the prosecutor. The victim in a criminal case is not like a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit; in a criminal case while the victim may be the complainant, they are essentially a witness, not a party to the litigation. I would think that if you scheduled a meeting with the prosecutor handling this case and discussed the matter with him or her that they might be inclined to agree to dispose of this case. The only potential problem might be is is the bank that the checks were drawn on is actually out any money. If they are I wouldn't think that they would be as forgiving as you.


Only a prosecutor may press or dismiss charges. Any theft over $1000 would be charged as a felony. However, a plea to a lesser charge is possible and, perhaps, even likely, if the victim is in agreement with the resolution.


Sorry to hear about your friend. Talk to the county prosecutor handling this case. He or she may decide to dismiss the matter in the interest of justice. Nevertheless, he still may face jail time if the charges triggered a revocation of his probation on the non-Minnesota matters.

Best of luck,

David W. Jacobsen


Only the government can file a criminal charge against someone, or dismiss it later. In Minnesota, however, witnesses and "victims" of the government prosecution do have rights, which they can assert if they are aware of them, and choose to do so. Without getting into the details, suffice it to say that many criminal prosecutions have been crippled or defeated as a result of lack of evidence after a witness or "victim" has asserted their rights. You might have interest in my web page, linked below.

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