Nolle Prosequi: Definition & Meaning

Instructor: Marcia Neely

Marcia Neely is a teacher who holds both a MS degree in Reading & Literacy and a Ed Specialist degree in Curriculum & Instruction.

Nolle prosequi is a legal term and statement made in court and reflected upon in court records whereby the plaintiff or prosecutor wishes not to proceed any further in a suit or action. This lesson provides an overview of the definition, meaning, and legal implications of nolle prosequi.


Nolle prosequi is a Latin phrase meaning ''will no longer prosecute'', ''be unwilling to pursue'', or any variation with the same meaning. The prosecution invokes nolle prosequi (or dismissal) when it has decided to discontinue an entire prosecution or just part of it. Lawyers and judges refer to the charges as being ''nol prossed'' or dismissed. It can also be defined as a dismissal of charges by the prosecution.


A declaration of nolle prosequi by a prosecutor in a criminal case or by a plaintiff in a civil lawsuit (either before or during a trial) means the case is being dropped. The case may be dropped for a variety of reasons. These might include that the charges cannot be proven, or evidence that has been gathered demonstrates either innocence or a fatal flaw in the case or claim, or the district attorney has become convinced that the accused is innocent.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account