How to drop criminal charges

Updated April 11, 2017

If you decide to drop criminal charges against an individual because you've had second thoughts, there are certain steps you must take. However, just because you request to have the charges dropped does not necessarily mean they will be dismissed.

Speak to the proper attorney in the prosecuting attorney's office. The severity of the case that was filed will assist you with locating the correct attorney. For example, most criminal cases are filed in municipal, county, state or district, or federal courts. A lesser criminal case would be filed with the municipal court and a more serious case would be filed with the federal court.

Schedule an appointment with the prosecutors office. The prosecuting attorney may meet with you or another member of the staff commonly called a victim-witness coordinator to discuss the case. Usually, if you are scheduled to meet with the prosecutor, this coordinator will be involved at some point to assist with the case.

Present you reasons for dropping the case as forcefully as possible. Even if you wish to no longer see the individual you filed charges against, this does not necessarily mean the charges will be dropped. In most domestic violence cases, the alleged victim will not be able to dismiss the case on her request alone.

Produce all evidence supporting the reason you wish to have the case dismissed or dropped. Collect all documents and statements from other witnesses who were or are relevant to the case. This evidence should be relevant to the information or documents that started the case in the first place.

Respond to questions from the prosecutors officer honesty and directly. Both the attorney and the victim-witness coordinator are going to shower you with questions that may be tough. But if you are truthful in your answers and show a sincere desire to drop the case, your request may be approved.


If the case is dismissed, you can not come back at a later time to file charges against the individual again. Filing charges against an individual is considered a serious matter, and having the charges dismissed shouldn't be taken lightly.

Things You'll Need

  • Copy of the complaint originally filed
  • Identification; Driver's license or other government issued ID
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About the Author

William Robinson has been writing for over 20 years and to date has published two books in his lifetime, "The Search for Excalibur" and "Don't Love Me." He holds two doctorate degrees in philosophy and a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice from Alameda University in California. He is also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.