Is a notarized statement signed by the victim enough to drop criminal charges?

UPDATED: Dec 2, 2011

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Is a notarized statement signed by the victim enough to drop criminal charges?

A victim wants to drop charges against a defendant even though the defendant has already been arraigned. If he goes to a notary and gets a signed statement saying it was not the defendant will that work?

Asked on December 2, 2011 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

No, such a notarized statement will not help. In fact you could find yourself in trouble for having filed a false police report. The fact is that you need to understand - whether or not to drop a case rests with the prosecutor and not with the victim. So your case may be prosecuted even over your objection. While the state's case would be stronger if you cooperated, if there is other evidence to support the charge, the case can still go forward.  

That having been said, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to use the fact that you don't want to cooperate to obtain a favorable result for the defendant. They may possibly even be able to talk the prosecutor into dismissing or educing the charges. Although prosecutors can be unwilling to drop a DV case. They do not want offenders to think that they can intimidate victims and can get away with their violent behavior.

Note: Further, you should also be aware that if you are subpoenaed to testify at trial, you must appear or risk being found in contempt of court.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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