The decision to drop charges in any criminal prosecution can only be made by a prosecutor with the approval of a judge. The victim's wishes alone will not dictate whether or not a case will be filed or dismissed. One reason for this is that some criminal charges affect more than one victim, and the other victims may wish to proceed. Another reason is that sometimes the victim has been intimidated or pressured to drop the charges, or believes that such a request will stop any retaliation. If our office did not proceed in such cases, victims would continue to be intimidated and hurt. If you would like to discuss your case, you should speak with the prosecutor handling the case.
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There are several types of restraining orders available to residents of Washington State. Depending on the circumstances will dictate which order is most appropriate.
The Whatcom County Prosecuting Attorney's Office is a non-investigative agency. In most cases, crimes must be reported to the Sheriff’s Department, a Police Department, or other law enforcement agency which has jurisdiction over the city or county where the crime occurred. For example, if the crime occurred in Bellingham it should be reported to the Bellingham Police Department. If the crime was committed in any unincorporated area of Whatcom County, the crime should be reported to the sheriff.The crime may be reported to the local law enforcement agency by calling 911 immediately. There are two levels of crimes, misdemeanors and felonies. Misdemeanor offenders can never get more than 365 days in jail. Felony offenders could be sent to prison, depending on the crime. If the offender has committed a felony crime, and have been arrested, they will have a First Appearance Hearing the next judicial day after their arrest. If over the weekend, the hearing will be the following Monday. On misdemeanor cases, when an arrest has been made, the arresting office will provide the offender with a citation. At the time of their first appearance, the court will provide them with additional court dates. These hearings occur every weekday morning. If the offender was not located by the police and an arrest has not been made, the police will forward the reports to the appropriate prosecutor’s office and the file will be reviewed to determine if charges can be filed. The victim should contact the responding police agency to find out which prosecuting attorneys office the reports have been forwarded to, if they have not heard from the prosecutor’s office directly.