Can charges be dropped on someone who didn’t do a crime if they and the person who committed it both go to court and the other party admits their guilt?

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Can charges be dropped on someone who didn’t do a crime if they and the person who committed it both go to court and the other party admits their guilt?

Asked on August 1, 2013 under Criminal Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they can be, at the prosecutor's discretion: if the prosecutor believes the other party when he/she admits guilt, the prosecutor should dismiss the charges against the one who did not commit the crime. Of course, the prosecutor may not fully believe it: the prosecutor may believe that either the 2nd person is trying to "take the rap" for the first, or maybe that both were involved in the crime. (Much will depend on what other evidence there is.) In that case, the prosecutor may elect to not drop the charges; if that happens, the first person, at his/her trial, could present evidence that he/she did not commit the crime but that the other person did.


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