In Minnesota, the law does not allow the alleged victim to assault “drop” criminal charges. Once criminal charges are filed, only the state prosecutor has the right to dismiss them.
This is true even when the alleged victim does not want to proceed with a criminal case. As knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys, we know that the state considers the case in the hands of the state from that point, and there is nothing the victim can do to force the prosecutor’s hand.
That said, some assault arrests result from mistakes and misunderstandings. If you have been arrested for assault and your alleged victim does not want you to be prosecuted, an attorney could help you seek a dismissal. Contact the experienced criminal defense lawyers of Gerald Miller to learn more.
How Assault Charges Work
There are six different types of assault charges in Minnesota. At the lowest end is simple assault, a misdemeanor. The most serious assault charge is first-degree assault, a felony, which usually requires strong representation from a criminal defense attorney. While each of these charges are different, they all involve the intentional infliction or attempted infliction of injury, or of an act intended to cause fear of imminent injury or death.
Assault is a criminal charge. Unlike a civil lawsuit, the alleged victim is not the party that technically brings these charges. Instead, the right to proceed with a criminal prosecution rests with the state. For that reason, the alleged victim does not have the right to get assault charges dismissed — even if they do not want the prosecution to move forward.
While nothing stops an alleged victim from asking the prosecutor to dismiss an assault charge, the prosecutor is not obliged to listen. In fact, the state can require the witness to take part in the case even if you do not want to. A prosecutor has the power to subpoena an alleged victim to testify if they refuse to testify voluntarily.
That does not mean the prosecution will always force a victim to move forward with a criminal case. Often, the prosecution will listen to an alleged victim that does not want to participate. Pragmatic prosecutors also understand that without a cooperative victim, the odds of meeting their burden of proof are low. In many situations, the prosecution will agree to dismiss a case when the victim asks them to.
How a Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help
If you are facing assault charges and your alleged victim does not want to participate, your Minnesota criminal defense attorney will play a big role in seeking the dismissal of those charges. Experienced legal counsel can work with the prosecution in an effort to dismiss these charges early on in the process. Your attorney can help in the following ways:
- Speak with the prosecutor. Asking the prosecutor to dismiss charges is usually not enough on its own. However, your attorney can inform the prosecutor that the alleged victim in your case does not want to participate. This could set the dismissal of your charges in motion.
- Obtain favorable testimony. If the state is on the fence about dismissing your case, your criminal defense lawyer could seek a written statement from the alleged victim clearing you of wrongdoing or asking that you not be prosecuted.
- Advocate for you. With an attorney, you can tell your story without the need to speak directly with the prosecution. Your criminal defense attorney can preview your defense in the hopes that the state sees their case will not be successful.
By speaking with a criminal defense lawyer, you dramatically increase the chances that the state will dismiss the assault charges against you.
Talk to Gerald Miller Right Away
Hiring an attorney could make the difference between dismissed charges and an assault conviction. This is true even if the victim does not want to see you prosecuted. Your attorney can ensure that the prosecution knows the victim wants the charges dropped, and they can work to end your case without the need for a trial.
The criminal defense attorneys of Gerald Miller are experienced with defending assault cases in Minnesota. We have a long track record of seeing cases dismissed, but we are also never afraid to take a case to trial. Our team of experienced criminal defense lawyers will work hard to obtain a favorable outcome in your case. Call right away at (612) 440-4608 to schedule your free consultation.