If you have been charged with assault, we know you are scared. The entire weight of the government is now pointed squarely at you. It wants to take away your freedom and empty your bank account. One way that many think they can get out of the charges is if they can convince the supposed victim to drop the charges. Is that even possible?
Can the victim drop the charges?
In a word, no. Victims do not have the power to press charges or drop charges. While prosecutors often take the alleged victim’s wishes into consideration, the prosecutor is not obligated to drop charges, even if the victim wants them dropped. In the eyes of the law, crimes against individuals are actually crimes against the community, which is referred to as the “People”. As such, individuals are charged on behalf of that community (Troy, Michigan). Alleged criminals are thus prosecuted by the State of Michigan, or a specific City, not the victim, and accordingly, only the prosecuting attorney can bring charges or drop charges.
Why is the system set up this way?
There are a lot of historical reasons for our system being set up this way. However, one of the primary policy reasons is to take the responsibility of prosecuting the alleged wrongdoer from the victim to the state. This ensures that there is not any eye-for-an-eye justice, or people taking the law into their own hands. And, it also makes sure that the accused cannot pressure the accuser into dropping charges.
Does the victim’s opinion matter?
While the ultimate decision on whether to prosecutor charges and what to charge is up to the Troy, Michigan, prosecutor, the victim’s opinion does matter. It carries weight because the victim is usually needed for evidentiary purposes, and “for justice’s sake,” the prosecutor may listen to the victim. Additionally, the Crime Victims Rights Act mandates that prosecutors consult with alleged victims.
But, that is just one factor that prosecutors use in their decision-making process, including the alleged wrongdoer’s criminal history, the severity of the crime and whether the wrongdoer is still a danger to the community and to the victim.
What about pressing counter-charges?
If you are the victim as well, you also do not have the power to charge someone, but you can file a Troy, Michigan, police report for the crime. Then, it will be investigated, and if the prosecutor believes it has merit, they will prosecute your assailant as well.