Police Officers can pull a person over and give you a traffic ticket for certain offenses like speeding, failure to yield etc. however, if these are petty misdemeanors, they are not classified as crimes in Minnesota. Some tickets are misdemeanor crimes but those have required court appearances and are reviewed by the local prosecutor.
It is the prosecutor that has the discretion to charge a person with a crime. The police officer will arrest someone and write a police report then recommend that a person be charged with a particular crime. The prosecutor is the attorney who looks at the evidence and decides if there is enough to charge a person with a crime. The prosecutor is presented with the police reports that outline witness statements, evidence collected and the officer's observations and report and then uses his or her legal experience to decide if there is probable cause to charge a person in a court of law and with what to charge a person with. It is NOT the police officer's decision. It is NOT the victim's decision.
A police officer can arrest someone and book them on a domestic assault but if the prosecutor looks at the police report and decides that the elements of the crime are not met or that the case should not be charged then the prosecutor does not charge the case out. That simple. The police can go back and gather more evidence and try to convince the prosecutor to charge the case but the police can not charge the case themselves.
Is a prosecutor more likely to charge a case with a pushy victim? Well, yes and no. The squeaky wheel gets the oil but it is also easier to prosecute a case with an active victim. There are also laws that require a prosecutor to consult with a victim regarding a plea agreement. If the victim is being unreasonable then the prosecutor may take that into consideration.
What to take away from this? If you are a suspect in a criminal case: 1- Use your right to remain silent 2- Immediately contact an experienced attorney 3- An experienced attorney can contact a prosecutor pre-charging on your behalf and make a difference in a criminal case against you.
Talking to the police is the number one way to get yourself convicted. I'm not kidding. When I was a prosecutor many, many of my cases were successful because suspects spoke to the police. If you have nothing to hide, great! Talk to an attorney first. The police are required to let you contact your attorney once you ask for one. It is your right. Use it.
Contact an attorney and explain your situation. I have consulted prosecutors on behalf of clients prior to charging decisions on cases and made a difference in how charges were brought or even if charges were brought. It is easier to prevent a charge than to defend it. If you are an avid blog reader then you know that a criminal charge (even if dismissed later) goes on your criminal record so it is better to avoid it all together or have lesser charges.
I promised exceptions to the warrant rule and that blog post is still coming. Until then, remember your rights and remain respectfully silent.
This blog is for information purposes only. For a free consultation contact Casanova Criminal Defense, LLC at 612-968-1278.