Hampton, VA asked in Criminal Law for Virginia

Q: How do I drop a simple assault charge? Magistrate issued the warrant. Offender and I came to an agreement. In Virginia.

We had a disagreement. Had an exchange of ideas that resulted in her trying to hit me, but she never did touch me. I wasn’t going to do anything about it, but her boyfriend ended up hitting me a week later. I was upset and filed the charges on both of them with the magistrate. I still want to go through with charges on the boyfriend, but not the girl. We talked it over and agreed to leave each other alone, and I’m satisfied with that outcome. How can I drop the charges against her? This is in Newport News, not Hampton.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Brandon Sloane
Brandon Sloane
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Arlington, VA
  • Licensed in Virginia

A: It’s actually a common misconception that people can “drop charges” in Virginia. Once the case has been initiated, it is up to the prosecutor how to proceed.

So, if you receive a subpoena to appear in court, it IS a court order that you can’t just disregard because you “don’t want to go forward.” You can still be held in contempt for not appearing.

Best thing is to communicate with whoever subpoenas you to let them know your input. Other options are to tell them you’ve reached what’s known as an accord and satisfaction. It’s allowed under 19.2-151 and most prosecutors will dismiss the charges at that point.

The key is to communicate with the prosecutors office involved so that you make sure your input is known, and that your unwillingness to proceed doesn’t end up hurting you with a contempt issued or a bench warrant for failing to appear.

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