A Latin phrase meaning “to be unwilling to prosecute.” A nolle prosequi is a prosecutor’s formal entry on the record indicating that he or she will no longer prosecute a pending criminal charge against the defendant. A nolle prosequi acts as a dismissal of the charges, usually without prejudice. In some states, a nolle prosequi after jeopardy attaches amounts to an acquittal and a bar to prosecution. Generally, a prosecutor can enter a nolle prosequi at any stage after indictment and until the imposition of a sentence. Some states, like Michigan, require that the prosecutor obtain the court’s leave to nolle prosequi charges. Additionally, in some states, like Arkansas, the prosecutor is required to show good cause in order to obtain the courts leave.
[Last updated in June of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]