Q & A: Can the victim choose to drop criminal charges?

There is a long-standing myth that the victim in a criminal case can drop charges whenever they want. Not true. Once a report has been made to the police, the decision on whether to continue the case with a reluctant victim is solely up to the prosecutor.

In some cases, a victim’s refusal to cooperate with the prosecution can completely handicap the case. In others, it’s just a minor bump in the road. Further, if the victim provided a written or recorded statement to the police when the crime was first reported, the victim may be at risk of facing criminal charges if he recants his statement.