Is a notarized statement signed by the victim enough to drop criminal charges?

A victim wants to drop charges against a defendant even though the defendant has already been arraigned. If he goes to a notary and gets a signed statement saying it was not the defendant will that work?

Asked on December 2, 2011 under Criminal Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, such a notarized statement will not help. In fact you could find yourself in trouble for having filed a false police report. The fact is that you need to understand - whether or not to drop a case rests with the prosecutor and not with the victim. So your case may be prosecuted even over your objection. While the state's case would be stronger if you cooperated, if there is other evidence to support the charge, the case can still go forward.  

That having been said, an experienced criminal defense attorney may be able to use the fact that you don't want to cooperate to obtain a favorable result for the defendant. They may possibly even be able to talk the prosecutor into dismissing or educing the charges. Although prosecutors can be unwilling to drop a DV case. They do not want offenders to think that they can intimidate victims and can get away with their violent behavior.

Note: Further, you should also be aware that if you are subpoenaed to testify at trial, you must appear or risk being found in contempt of court.


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