Can the Police Arrest Me if the Victim Doesn’t Want to Press Charges?Published: Nov 10, 2020 by Erika Valcarcel
On occasion there are circumstances where police are called to chaotic scenes where tempers and stress are high. It’s not unusual that after the situation calms, the alleged victim regrets calling law enforcement. In these circumstances, you may wonder if you can still be arrested and face charges.
The short answer is, yes, the police can make arrest you and refer the matter to the state for charges despite the alleged victim’s wishes. That’s why it is important to have an experienced criminal defense attorney like Erika Valcarcel of Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. on your side. By working closely with a legal advocate, you may be able to avoid charges or have them reduced through a plea bargain.
Call us immediately at (941) 363-7900 if you’ve been arrested and face charges. Don’t ever try to work it out by yourself. No matter how friendly the police or prosecutors are, your best interests are not their priority.
Why Can’t the Victim Stop the Police from Making an Arrest?
In our criminal justice system, while crimes may have a human victim, the illegal act itself is considered a crime or wrongdoing against society or the public. An individual has no power to independently prosecute a crime. The state or federal judicial system must do it. In other words, it is the government’s job to seek justice on behalf of society and victims.
When the police are called to the scene of a possible crime, they have the authority to make an arrest if they determine there is probable cause to do so. In criminal law, the probable cause standard for an arrest means the police have adequate reason to do so. For example, if police are called for a domestic disturbance and find upon arrival broken furniture, a hole in the wall, and a victim with visible injuries, there is probable cause to make an arrest – even if the victim is begging police not to do so.
Once an arrest is made, the case is transferred to the prosecutor handling the case and that office begins a “pre-filing investigation” (PFI). Part of that process is talking with the victim. Even if the victim indicates an unwillingness to proceed, the prosecutors may decide to file charges anyway. Some of the reasons a prosecutor may disregard the victim’s wishes include wanting to protect the public, the defendant has a lengthy criminal history or has done this before.
Victim Rights and Waiver of Prosecution
Florida law provides victims the right to be heard in cases that impact them. But while they have a right to speak at substantive hearings involving the defendant, the prosecutor does not have to follow victims’ orders regarding the handling of the case.
Also available to victims is something called a “waiver of prosecution.” This waiver is a legal document in which the victim swears that he or she has no desire to proceed with charges. Again, even with a signed waiver of prosecution, the prosecutor is not compelled to abandon the case.
As you can see, even if your victim wants the matter dropped and signs a sworn waiver of prosecution, you could still face criminal legal proceedings. That is why you need defense counsel right away.
Facing Criminal Charges Despite the Victim’s Wishes? Call Us.
Sometimes things happen and in the heat of the moment police are called. After events have calmed, there may be those who wished they hadn’t involved the legal system. Unfortunately, there may be little a victim can do to stop prosecution. If you find yourself in this situation, you need Sarasota criminal defense lawyer Erika Valcarcel to fight for you. Attorney Valcarcel knows how to work with prosecutors to present arguments that you shouldn’t face charges, or that they should be reduced.
Contact Erika Valcarcel, Criminal Defense Lawyer, P.A. at (941) 363-7900 to schedule an appointment. Don’t delay and don’t talk to police or prosecutors about your case before consulting Attorney Valcarcel.