Dropping the Charges in Illinois
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After you're arrested, the police will bring you to the police station for the booking process. You will be fingerprinted and asked a series of questions, such as your name and date of birth. Additionally, you will be searched and photographed. Your personal property, such as jewelry, will be catalogued and stored. Next, a case number and title is assigned, for example, The State of Illinois v. Name of person arrested. This means that the person arrested is in direct opposition to the State in the courtroom.
A prosecutor, known as a State's Attorney, prosecutes cases against persons thought to have committed violations of state criminal law, and are in control of any deals that are made, such as dropping the charges all together. In a criminal case, the only party that can drop the charges against you is the prosecutor.
This can be confusing because many people think that only the victim may make this decision, however, that is untrue. Once the victim files a complaint, the issue is turned over to the State. Since a criminal case is brought by the State, the victim cannot drop those charges.
For example, you are a victim of an assault committed by your neighbor and you wish to drop the charges because you truly like your neighbor and don't want them to go to jail. You would be unsuccessful in your attempt to drop the charges because the State is prosecuting your neighbor for the assault, not you. The same is true if you and a girlfriend get into a fight and you are arrested for domestic battery.
While a victim may not decide to drop criminal charges, the victim may choose how much or how little they will cooperate with the state's case. The State must establish enough evidence to convict the accused of the crime charges. If a victim doesn't want a person to be charged with a crime, they can refuse to cooperate with the State.
For example, if your neighbor is arrested for assault, the State will need you to take the stand and serve as a witness to the incident. If you refuse, it will be hard for the State to prove its cases. If someone else witnessed the assault they may be able to testify and establish that a law was broken.
A subpoena may be issued if a witness is being uncooperative. A subpoena is a document that has the authority to compel testimony by a witness, or else face court ordered punishment. Even still, if the victim refuses to testify after the statement they gave caused somebody to be arrested, the police may arrest the victim for filing a false police report.
Typically, people want to drop charges for domestic violence and call us after they have tried, unsuccessfully, to go to court and do it themselves. In most of these situations we have been able to recommend lawyers that are familiar with the particular Judge and prosecutors that they are able to get a dismissal of the charges despite earlier rejections.
If you have any questions about your unique situation or would like a referral to an Illinois lawyer who will help get you drop the charges, please do not hesitate to contact us at any time. All calls are free and confidential. You will speak with one of our attorneys who will provide blunt, honest advice.