If a person was assaulted but chose not to press charges, can the prosecutor file charges even though the victim declined?

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If a person was assaulted but chose not to press charges, can the prosecutor file charges even though the victim declined?

Asked on January 1, 2015 under Criminal Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Yes, the prosecutor can file charges and prosecute even when the victim declines. The prosecutor enforces the criminal laws; an assault is not just an attack on the victim, it is also a violation of the state's laws, and the state can prosecute for that violation regardless of the victim's wished.


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