This is a very commonly asked question, especially in domestic violence cases where a family member makes a police report and then wants to retract it. In order to understand this, one must understand the difference between a criminal and civil case. A civil case is brought by an individual against another individual. Therefore, a plaintiff (the person who started the lawsuit) can end it at anytime by “dropping” the allegations. In a criminal case however, the “plaintiff” is actually not the victim. It is the “People of the State of New York.” Therefore, once a complaint has been filed, it is ultimately up to the “People” (represented by the prosecutor) to press forward with the charges or drop them. That being said, a victim’s wish that the charges be dropped is usually respected, but not always followed, especially when injuries are severe or when there is indication that the victim is being intimidated into dropping the charges.