If a person pressed charges on someone. Then the person that pressed charges didnt show up for court. Will that person face jail time?
2 Answers from Attorneys
This depends on a number of factors. The person who "pressed charges" isn't always necessary for a criminal case to proceed. In fact, the decision as to whether the criminal charges will be pursued is up to the District Attorney. If they have other witnesses or evidence, they don't need the person who pressed charges....hire a criminal defense attorney to assist you.
Each District varies a little on how they handle that situation - in my District, typically our ADA's will make a motion to continue to subpoena the prosecuting witness if the person is are needed to proceed with the case. On rare occasions, the ADA may dismiss the case with or without prejudice and sometimes on rare occasions the case may be dismissed by a Judge on a defense motion, again with or without prejudice. I have never seen or heard of an instance where a prosecuting witness was jailed for failing to appear at a court date - especially if the court date was the first setting of the matter. However, if a prosecuting witness fails to show up after having been served with a subpoena, I have seen Judges put that person in jail for contempt of court unless they had a very compelling reason for not appearing. If you are the prosecuting witness who pressed the charges and you either didn't show up for court or you are planning not to show up for court because you have changed your mind or some other reason - yeah, don't do that. If you have changed your mind about proceeding with charges, let the ADA know that and what your reasons are. It is totally up to the ADA whether to proceed or not but they may dismiss the matter if you ask them. But if you just don't show up, you will piss everyone off and cause more work for an already overloaded court system.
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