If my ex-boyfriend and I got in a heated argument which resulted in me keying the side of his car so he filed a police report, can he drop the charges drop it now?

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If my ex-boyfriend and I got in a heated argument which resulted in me keying the side of his car so he filed a police report, can he drop the charges drop it now?

He filed a police report which they have video surveillance of me doing this and of me backing my car into his. I received a summons in the mail to appear in court for criminal damage to property with damages ranging in $1,400 for repairs. He also claims in the police report that I chased after him in my vehicle, which I had a reckless driving incident in the past that I was able to do a plea bargain for. Since this incident my ex and I have reconciled and he has said he will drop the charges against me. Is he even capable of doing this? Do I need to hire or retain a lawyer to represent me?

Asked on July 22, 2014 under Criminal Law, Minnesota

Answers:

Richard Southard / Law Office of Richard Southard

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

It sounds like based on the amount of damage, you face potential  Criminal Mischief in the Third Degree (intentionally damage property over $250 damage), a class E felony punishable up to 4 years jail.  It can actually go up to a class D felony punishable up to 7 years jail if its over $1500 damage.  So yes you need to hire a lawyer as this is very serious.  

If this were a civil lawsuit then your ex-bf would be a party to the action (plaintiff) and could drop the case whenever he wants.  In a criminal case, his role is merely that of a witness and only the State can drop the charges.  I have handled many of these cases around the NYC area and can state from experience that you should be able to avoid going to jail and it may even be possible to avoid being convicted of a crime.  

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

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Actually, it is up to the prosecutor and not the victim as to whether or not a criminal case is dropped. The fact is that a case can still go forward with or without a victim's cooperation; the prsecutor's office wants to make sure that a victim has not been unduly pressured or treatened. So the fact that your boyfriend does not want to go forward is not the determing factor here. That having been said, an experienced criminal law attorney still might be able to get the state to drop the charges or to at lease reduce them. Considering that you already have a criminal record, you would be well advised to seek legal counsel.


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