October 6, 2023 | Indiana Law
Facing criminal charges in Indianapolis can be stressful and frightening. One of the common questions clients ask our Indianapolis criminal defense attorneys is about dropping charges in their cases.
Many people assume the victim can choose to drop charges, but that is not the case. Once criminal charges are filed, it is up to the prosecutor, district attorney, or other government authority pursuing the case whether or not to drop the criminal charges.
Why Would a Victim Want To Drop Charges in a Criminal Case in Indianapolis?
Victims may change their minds about filing a complaint against someone for several reasons. Some reasons a victim might discuss dropping charges in criminal cases with a prosecutor include:
- They made false or misleading statements to the police about what happened
- They fear retaliation by the alleged offender and/or their family and friends
- The victim may be in a relationship with the person and want to continue that relationship
- The victim might realize they identified the wrong person or made an incorrect assumption
- The victim might not want the details of the crime to become public information
A victim does not have the authority to drop criminal charges. However, the victim can choose not to cooperate with a criminal investigation or trial.
That said, not that when a victim changes their mind about cooperating, the prosecutor can ask the court to compel the victim to testify in some cases. If the victim refuses to appear in court and/or testify in court, the judge could potentially hold them in contempt of court. Contempt of court charges could result in fines and/or jail time.
Suppose the victim believes they could face criminal charges for filing a false police report or engaging in criminal conduct. In that case, they should immediately discuss their situation with an Indianapolis criminal defense attorney.
Why Would a Prosecutor Be Interested in Dropping Charges in a Criminal Case in Indianapolis?
Prosecutors review their cases to determine whether they have sufficient evidence to prove the defendant’s guilt by a reasonable doubt. If not, they may consider dropping criminal charges. Also, the prosecutor might decide dropping charges is in the interest of justice.
Common reasons why a prosecutor might drop criminal charges in Indianapolis include, but are not limited to:
- The defense has sufficient evidence to create reasonable doubt for a jury
- A new, credible witness has been located or comes forward to refute the evidence against the defendant
- The police made a procedural error or engaged in wrongful conduct that violates the defendant’s civil rights
- Physical evidence is weak
- New evidence proves the defendant’s innocence
- A judge rules key evidence inadmissible in court
Sometimes, a prosecutor might drop charges to focus on the serious charges. They may also drop charges as part of a plea deal. For instance, they might drop a weak felony charge for a guilty plea on a stronger misdemeanor charge.
What Should You Do if You Are Being Investigated or Arrested for a Crime in Indianapolis, IN?
Knowing your legal rights is the best way to protect your freedom and best interests. For example, when can the police issue a search warrant, when do officers need to provide a person with their Miranda Rights, and what is probable cause?
The best way to understand your legal rights regarding criminal charges is to meet with an Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer for a free consultation. An attorney will advise you of your legal rights and discuss steps you can take to defend yourself.
Things to keep in mind if the police are investigating you include:
- You are not obligated to answer questions or speak to the police.
- You have the right to an attorney being present when questioned by the police.
- Police officers need a search warrant or probable cause to search your person, home, or vehicle. While you should not resist a search if the police proceed without a warrant, you should state that you do not consent to the search.
- Do not discuss anything related to the matter online or by telephone because law enforcement may monitor your communications.
If the police in Indianapolis arrest you, remember these things:
- Do not discuss anything over the phone or in person while in jail. These calls and visits are recorded.
- Never discuss your case or private details with other inmates. Inmates could become witnesses against you, and there is no right to privacy in jail.
- Do not make statements or answer questions without an attorney present.
- Never waive your rights to something without speaking with a criminal defense attorney.
Contact an Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer if you are being investigated or arrested for a crime as soon as possible. The law presumes you are innocent, but police officers and prosecutors already believe you are guilty. You need skilled legal counsel to fight for your rights.
Contact the Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Indianapolis
101 W Ohio St #2000
Indianapolis, In 46204