The police are on the scene and you are being arrested. It’s not your best day so far.
But maybe after the cops read you your rights, you hear the victim of the crime you have allegedly committed telling an officer that they do not wish to press charges. A smile might creep onto your face when you hear that. After all, if the victim is not going to press charges, you are off the hook, right?
Victims Do Not Make Charging Decisions
It might seem like victims of alleged crimes should have some say in whether or not the person who is accused of the crime is arrested and charged, but that simply is not the way it works.
Instead, prosecutors or district attorneys make charging decisions based on the evidence the police discover in the course of their investigation. The victim might insist that they don’t want you charged with a crime, but that decision is not theirs to make.
Victims May Have to Testify Even If They Do Not Wish To
Okay, so the victim can’t simply wave away the charges you are facing. But they can decide whether to testify in court against you, right?
In Florida, a victim can be forced to appear in court and testify. If they attempt to avoid it by ignoring a subpoena, they can be arrested and compelled to testify in court.
No Matter What the Victim Wants, You Are Going to Want an Attorney
If you have been arrested, you need a defense attorney—whether or not the victim prefers to press charges. Your attorney will have the expertise to help you navigate the criminal justice system, will make sure your rights are protected, and will mount a vigorous defense on your behalf.
Contact an Okaloosa County Criminal Defense Attorney
If you or a loved one have been charged with a crime in Okaloosa County, call Flaherty & Merrifield today at (850) 243-6097 for a free consultation.