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If two people get in a altercation, can both parties press charges?

F.T. Norton

The short answer is yes, said New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David.

“It is called cross warrants and we see it all of the time. It can be challenging to prosecute the case in the instance where there are no other witnesses to the altercation. Both parties are simultaneously victims, who need to testify for us to meet the burden of proof, but who are also defendants who have a right to remain silent and may end up pleading the Fifth in order not to incriminate themselves,” he said.

David said prosecutors could dismiss one or both cases if it is established that a warrant was filed without good cause.

“It gets easier to sort out when there are other third-party witnesses (then the issue is whether they are truly impartial) or when there is physical evidence, like injuries, that might shed some light on the incident,” he said.

User-contributed question by:
Justin Rhyne

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