Legal Question in Criminal Law in California

how long to press charges?

Someone has filed a police report against me for assault and battery, however I have yet to be contacted by the police, and the person has not yet decided to press charges. How long does this person have to press charges following the filing of the police report?

Asked on 8/12/03, 6:04 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Wayne Wisong Wayne Wisong, Attorney at Law
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Re: how long to press charges?

If it's a simple battery, it's a misdemeanor and charges have to be filed by the prosecution within 1 year of the occurrence. Simply filing a police report is not a filing of charges. It is not really the informant victim's choice to "press charges". Once the police report is filed, it's up to the police department and the prosecution's office. They may or may not respect the complainant's desire to proceed or drop it. There is not a lot you can do for the moment except not talk to anybody about anything that happened. Contact me at wwisong@earthlink.net if you need further assistance.

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8/12/03, 6:27 pm
Wayne Wisong Wayne Wisong, Attorney at Law
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Re: how long to press charges?

Oh, one more thing. If the police come around and ask you questions, you have every right to decline to speak with them. Unless they have an arrest warrant, you do not have to let them into your residence and shouldn't. Make it clear you don't consent to any entry. But under no circumstances do you have to talk to them. If they arrest you, refuse to talk at any time before you have a consultation with an attorney. But, this does not sound like the kind of case where you would be heavily interrogated in jail. To the cops, it will be just another collar. The main thing is to be mum if they come around asking questions. Even if you think you have a good defense to the accusation, telling it to the police will only rarely help you.

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8/12/03, 6:33 pm
Robert Miller Robert L. Miller & Associates, A Law Corporation
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Re: how long to press charges?

Thank you for your inquiry.

It is a common misconception that it is up to the victim to press charges. Once a police report is taken, the police have a duty if they believe a crime occurred to investigate and forward to the district attorney or other prosecutor. It is the prosecutor that files charges, not the victim. The victim can sue you civilly, if they choose, but the victim in a criminal case is only a witness, and doesn't get to file or choose not to file, charges.

I hope that this helps, but if you want more information, have other questions, or want legal representation to handle your expungement, please feel free to email me directly at rmiller@expertlawfirm.com. I am happy to help in any way that I can.

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8/12/03, 10:17 pm

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