Who Has the Right to Press Charges?

Perhaps one of the greatest misconceptions that people have is that it is the victim of an offense who controls whether or not to press charges. People seem to think that the ability to make a case or for the prosecution to go forward is some type of leverage tool or bargaining chip that can be wielded against the person accused of a crime.

In fact, once police become involved, it is the State – meaning police and prosecutors – that determine whether a case goes forward. The input of the victim has very little, if any, effect.

Occurring most often in domestic violence cases involving charges of assault and aggravated assault, the person upon whom the offense was committed makes a statement that they will not “press charges”.

This most often occurs in situations where;

  • The victim does not want the defendant to get into trouble;
  • The victim realizes that he or she made false statements to the police; or
  • The victim is trying to use the existence of a case as a leverage tool in a relationship, divorce case, or custody battle.

Police and prosecutors are extremely skilled in understanding the misconception that people have and the fact that victims of domestic violence cases often recant. Almost without exception, police audio record, and sometimes video record, a victim’s initial statements made. Oftentimes when officers arrive on a call, they have a digital recorder or body camera running the moment they get out of their police car to capture each and every word. When the victim later recants and claims that they made no such statement or that their statement was wrong, prosecutors have the evidence in hand to say otherwise.

But just as police and prosecutors are skilled and experienced in domestic violence cases, so should the Phoenix criminal defense attorney that you hire if you are facing such serious charges. Jason Lamm has been practicing law for over 25 years and has obtained dismissals for his clients in domestic violence cases involving homicide, aggravated assault, and kidnapping. Through an organized, focused and methodical approach which combines Jason’s years of experience, as well as the assistance of investigators and expert witnesses, Jason’s approach is to thoroughly assess all angles of the prosecutor’s case and invariably find those angles which prosecutors didn’t even think about.

If you are looking to hire a Phoenix criminal defense lawyer to represent you on felony domestic violence charges, contact The Law Office of Jason Lamm at (602) 663-9100 for a personal and confidential consultation.

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