if someone you know stole your car, how long can you wait to drop the charges?

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if someone you know stole your car, how long can you wait to drop the charges?

My friends grandson stole her car. It was recovered with no damages. The preliminary hearing is in a week. She needs more time to decide whether to drop charges. Can they be dropped after the preliminary hearing?

Asked on August 21, 2017 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

They can be dropped at any time, but it's not up to her: she can *ask* the prosecutor to drop them, but she can't make the prosector do so, and the prosecutor could elect to proceed no matter what your friend wants. Unlike in a civil case (lawsuit), where the person who was the "victim" brings and controls the suit, in a criminal case, the matter is brought by the "state" (the prosecutor/authorties) and the victim is only a witness. When there was no real harm done, the prosecutor will often respect the victim's wishes, but is not obligated to.


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