When A Criminal Case Is Dismissed
he conditions or categories that lead to criminal case dismissals are broken down into factual, legal, and logistical. The first two categories are self- explanatory. Logistical problems include actually getting the evidence (or witnesses) in front of a jury.
In a criminal case, the decision to drop the case is usually reserved to the prosecutor. This decision can depend on many factors, including the quality of the state’s evidence, availability of key witnesses, potential defenses, and extenuating circumstances of the accused. An experienced criminal defense attorney will attempt to discover factors that support dismissal and negotiate with the prosecuting attorney to obtain the most favorable outcome based on those circumstances.
While each criminal case is unique, one may identify several common reasons for their dismissal.
Lack of Sufficient Evidence
The District Attorney does not file cases simply based upon the existence of wrongdoing. They are concerned with prosecuting cases that have a high chance of securing a guilty verdict. After a criminal suspect is arrested, the police supply the D.A.’s office with evidence of the crime. If the law enforcement agency supplies compelling evidence such as DNA prints or a signed confession, the D.A. will decide to prosecute based upon the suspect’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. However, unreliable eyewitnesses or incarcerated criminals who want to exchange information for time off may not meet that standard. In some cases, an overzealous D.A. may file criminal charges anyway. If that happens, the defense attorney may ask for a pre-trial dismissal based upon the weakness of evidence.
Fourth Amendment Rights
The Fourth Amendment protects U.S. citizens from “unreasonable searches and seizures.” For example, a police officer cannot just enter your home, search for a marijuana cigarette and then proceed to arrest you. Nor can he install a hidden microphone in your office and wait for you to say something incriminating. For both of these situations, law enforcement must secure a search warrant from a judge in which there is probable cause that a crime has been or will be committed. Otherwise, any crimes that are discovered without judicial authorization are null and void. Although the Supreme Court has narrowed the scope of Fourth Amendment protections, an alarming number of illegal wiretaps have been employed by law enforcement agencies such as in the SIU unit of the NYPD during the 1970s, as chronicled in Robert Daley’s book “Prince of the City.”
Miranda rights derive from the Fifth and Sixth Amendments, which involve the right to not incriminate oneself and the right to seek the assistance of counsel. You may already know the language from TV: “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney … ” If the defense can prove that the suspect did not receive this statement before providing a confession or other incriminating evidence, an attorney has an excellent chance of having the criminal charge dismissed.
Dismissal with Prejudice
Another common situation in criminal courts involves a dismissal with prejudice. If a judge suspects that a suspect is responsible for a crime but the prosecutor does not have sufficient evidence to reach a guilty verdict, the case may be dismissed with prejudice. In this situation, the D.A. may refile the case at a later time if more compelling evidence has been uncovered. Source
For defendants, it is important to be aware that this type of dismissal carries some risks because it leaves them exposed to the possibility that another case will be filed.
Dismissed Without Prejudice
In this case, it means that the case was dismissed inconclusively. There may have been missing evidence or procedural requirements not met, and therefore the case could potentially be brought before the court again by the parties involved.
The best way to get off a criminal charge is to hire a criminal defense lawyer.
Mounting a Proactive Defense
An arrest is not the be-all, end-all of a criminal case. What matters is how the case is resolved. Being proactive after your arrest can often make the difference between whether you are facing felony or misdemeanor charges, or whether any charges are filed against you at all.
At the law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., we have an exceptional track record of getting many criminal charges dismissed. We are also experienced in clearing arrest records through the expungement process. If your record has been cleared and you are asked on a job application or apartment lease if you have been charged with a crime, you can confidently answer, “no.”
West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you are accused of a crime, your freedom, your family, your reputation, your immigration status, and your job may be at stake. The outcome you receive in the criminal justice system depends upon the experience and knowledge of the defense attorney you choose to represent you.
When you retain the law firm of Andrew D. Stine, P.A., you do not simply retain a nationally recognized criminal defense lawyer. You retain a criminal defense team who has worked together for years and successfully represented clients in virtually every type of criminal case, including:
- Animal cruelty, such as dog fighting, cock fighting and abandonment
- Drug crimes, such as drug trafficking and Oxycodone offenses
- Fraud, such as mortgage fraud, insider trading and mail fraud
- Traffic offenses, such as DUI
- Violent crimes, such as domestic violence and battery
Contact our law firm to discuss your case in a confidential consultation.