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26 - Can the State continue to prosecute me even if the victim has changed his or her story?

Yes. The prosecutor can continue with criminal prosecution even if the victim has changed his or her story, taken back his or her story, or admitted to lying about the original allegations.  There are many reasons why a victim may recant his or her story.  In the state of Arizona, just because a victim has recanted does not mean that the prosecutor will dismiss the case against you and terminate prosecution.  The state has many tools at its disposal to continue prosecution against you even when the victim has changed his or her story.  For example, at trial, the prosecutor can present other circumstantial evidence, eyewitness testimony, and expert testimony to support the victim’s original allegation against you.  

Impeachment is a tool which allows the state to call the police officer or eyewitness who heard the victim’s original story to testify against the victim at trial.  That officer (or eyewitness) will be allowed to retell the victim’s original story to the jury even though the victim has changed that story.  The state will then be allowed to argue that the victim was lying when he or she changed his or her original story.  Expert witnesses will also be called at trial to explain why the victim has recanted.  Recantation is a significant legal issue that requires the expertise of an experienced criminal defense attorney who specializes in sex crimes.

FAQ - Sex Crime Charges in Arizona