Although a call to police by a victim or other individual often starts the process, it's up to the district attorney whether a criminal case moves forward. It's also to the district attorney to decide whether charges are dropped. For example, if you are arrested for retail theft for allegedly taking something from a grocery store, the store may call the police and file a report, but after that they are not in control of whether the case proceeds against you.
The victim cannot drop charges
The accused is not being charged by the victim. This is different from a civil lawsuit. In a civil suit, the plaintiff can decide whether to go forward with their claims against the defendant. In a criminal case, the defendant is charged by the state, and the case is pursued by the DA. The victim is not a named party to the case. So if the DA believes there is evidence of a crime, they can prosecute, with or without the victim's consent.
The victim may have some influence
The victim of a crime is often needed to testify. In many cases, without this type of testimony, the state has no chance of a conviction. When a victim refuses to testify, and there is no other evidence of the crime, then the DA may decide to dismiss the case. On the other hand, if someone else witnessed the crime, including the police, the case may go forward with or without the testimony of the victim.
How an attorney can help
A common example is a criminal charge for domestic violence. We see many cases where the victim decides they want to "drop the charges." While it's not entirely up to them, as explained above, an attorney can help. An attorney with a lot of experience in criminal defense, and one who practices often in the courthouse where your case is heard, is your best bet. They are often successful in resolving this type of case.
Additional resources provided by the author
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