“The charges will be dropped if the victim doesn’t show for trial.”
Perhaps the most impossible task is convincing a client he can be found guilty at trial even if the one and only person who said the words that are going to be used against him decides not to show-up at the trial. Usually, if this one and only person does not show at trial, the case is dropped.66 But there are rare instances when a case can be proven against the defendant without the one and only witness/victim appearing at trial.67
Some clients also do not understand why the alleged victim doesn’t have to be in court every time the client is there. The mythical belief that the alleged victim has to appear in court whenever the client appears or the case is dismissed, or the related mythical belief that the police officer has to appear in court every time the client appears or the case is dismissed, finds its basis in truth in traffic court. Traffic court is where if a police officer fails to appear at a hearing the citation is usually dismissed.68
But again the real myth here is the client’s belief that the alleged victim won’t show. It happens, but not as much as clients like to think or believe or hope. And though sometimes this may be a client’s best trial defense, it isn’t always a chance worth taking.