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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 27757
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I have a criminal complaint against a person that assaulted

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I have a criminal complaint against a person that assaulted me. A witness that I thought I could rely on , has backed up the person who assaulted me. He denies it ever happened and that it is not the person. Now the police call me and ask me to drop charges. Is that illegal for the police to do? The police only have to go to this establishment where I was assaulted, and ID the suspect, but they say "drop the charges first and we will get the ID of the person". I feel I am being railroaded. I received a concussion and a neck injury in this gang assault , where I was only able to ID one suspect. My witness, a relative, has turned against me and said I started it. WHat can I do?

You don't have to drop the charges just because the police tell you that they'd like you to do so. You're the victim of a crime. What they are likely hinting to you is that they don't think that you have a particularly good case against this defendant.

The state has to prove that this person committed the assault against you beyond a reasonable doubt. If they can't do that, he cannot be convicted of the crime. Given what evidence they do have, inluding a witness who not only says you ID'd the wrong person but that you were the initial aggressor besides, NJ may not be all that keen about prosecuting this case.

The prosecutor can drop this if they want to, even if you don't. So you can hold your grounds here if you're sure you're right.

If the state drops the case anyway, you can always hire a civil lawyer and sue him in civil court where the burden of proof is more favorable to you anyway. Or, if you just want your medical expenses you could forgo the legal fees and sue in small claims court where you can represent yourself. NJ has a $3,000 maximum award.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Thank you for your answer. Would it be better for my civil case to wait for the state to make a decision to drop the case at the summons hearing, of would it hurt my case to drop the charges myself? Should I I civilly sue the establishment or the individual? Also, should I make a claim to the NJ victims crime board? They just require a police report. Thanks!!!


I think it would be better for your civil case to let the state drop the criminal charges.

In general, you would sue the establishment as well as your assailant if you could establish that their negligence allowed the assault to occur. You'd want to take that up in detail with the civil attorney, because if you're going to prosecute or sue, you don't want all of that on the web.

Yes, you should absolutely apply for the compensation from the Victims Crime Board. It would appear that you would be eligible, regardless of whether the case is prosecuted or the assailant is convicted. It would appear, however, that you would have to cooperate with the police as a precondition.

Here's the link to NJ's information on eligibility.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Should I sue the individual and establishment, and also file a crime victim benefit, or one or the other. I believe the crime victims board would remove any award I may receive from the civil trial. My witness turned on me, so I don't think I have a good case. I do have medical records of a neck injury, and a severe concussion, if that would help a case. Also, I have had trouble finding an attorney to try this civilly, but I have not had much luck. Do you know of an attorney in NJ that would take the case? Thanks!!! You have been great!


This is what we call a he/said she/said type of case. That is, each side has a different story here. You are right this is not a good case, but it's better in civil court where you only have to prove your case by a preponderance of the evidence. That means if they believe you one smidgen more than the other side you win. The prosecutor, on the other hand, has to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, and all things considered in this fact pattern, there's room for doubt.

We cannot make any direct referrals to a lawyer as the site does not allow it. But we can steer you to where lawyers would go to find colleagues in other states when they need to consult with one. Try the NJ Bar Association's Lawyer Referral Service or if you want a commercial service,
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Fran, thanks for your expertise!!!!