Do victims have the right to drop assault charges against someone?

On Behalf of | Aug 31, 2022 | Criminal Defense |

When you are charged with a crime, it can be a scary and stressful situation. Not only are you facing potentially serious consequences, but the impact of a conviction can affect all parts of your life. 

If you have been charged with assault in Michigan and the victim states they want to drop the charges, you may think you are “home free.” Unfortunately, this isn’t how the law works regarding criminal assault charges.  

The victim’s role in criminal assault charges

Some people believe an assault victim has the right or power to “press charges” against someone or to “drop the charges” later on. However, this isn’t the case. 

Once the crime is reported (either by the victim or someone else) and the police are involved, all criminal charges and related matters are up to the prosecuting attorney. It is only this person who can file or drop charges against someone. 

If you think about it, this makes sense. The responsibility and decision to press charges against someone should not be left to the victim. This is because the defendant may try to pressure them into dropping the charges. 

In fact, it’s very important for defendants to be aware of the alleged victim’s role in their case so that they do not attempt to convince that person to recant or become uncooperative with the prosecution. That could result in additional charges, like obstruction of justice or witness intimidation. 

Understanding assault charges

Since it’s not up to the victim to press or drop assault charges, you must know all your legal options and seek assistance to build a viable defense strategy.