If you’ve been charged with a felony for credit card abuse but the victim says that they’re willing to drop the charges, is this possible?

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If you’ve been charged with a felony for credit card abuse but the victim says that they’re willing to drop the charges, is this possible?

They will drop the charges if the amount on the card is paid in full.

Asked on November 4, 2014 under Criminal Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, whether or not to drop the charges is not up to the victim: in a criminal case, the victim is not the "plaintiff," or person insituting and controlling the action, the way they would be in a civil case, but are rather the "complaining witness"--that is, "just" a witness to the crime. The case is under the control of the prosecutor, and the prosecutor is not required to do what the victim wants; and also, the fact that a crime was committed is not "undone" by repaying the victim--there was still a crime, and the prosecutor can still prosecute.

That said, a prosecutor will often choose to listen to a victim in cases like this, where the only crime was financial and the money has been repaid--the prosecutor may not be obligated to drop the charges, but he or she has the discretion to do so if he or she chooses. And even if the prosecutor does not drop the charges, repaying the money will look good and will usually help you get more lenient treatment.

You are advised to retain a criminal defense attorney and follow his or her advice, since every situation is different and generic advice cannot address all the particularities of your situation. That said, repayment will usually help at least reduce the severity of your punishment, and *may* result in charges being dismissed, or at least reduced.


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