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Not guilty vs dismissed? is there a difference? Why does any one hardly get a 'not guilty' verdict rather than a 'dismissal'?

Charlotte, NC |

I'm just curious, really interested in the legal system and how it works.

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Attorney answers 4

Best Answer
Posted

There is no such thing as a verdict of dismissal. A dismissal is an order by the judge which terminates a prosecution prior to a trial on the merits. A verdict is the decision reached by a jury after trial. A jury can return a verdict of guilty or of not guilty, but has no authority to dismiss. A finding is the decision reached by the judge at bench trial, where there is no jury. Again, a finding by the judge after trial is a decision on the merits, not a dismissal. Your question about why hardly anyone gets a "not guilty" verdict rather than a dismissal is based on a misunderstanding. You are not alone, however. Many posters who submit questions here use the terms "dismissal" and "dismissed" very loosely, with no idea what they mean.

I should note, however, that I am explaining these terms according to the usages in the jurisdictions where I practice. It is possible that other states might use the same terms with somewhat different meanings.

Posted

You've already asked this question once. If you are curious about the legal system do some real research, i.e. visit your local library or simply Google it.

Fred Amos provides legal representation in Wake County , North Carolina. Any answer provided through this discussion board is a general response to the question and NOT intended as legal advice. Responding to this question does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Always seek the advice of a lawyer directly to address your specific circumstances.

Asker

Posted

This is the perfect spot for research since there are real lawyers on here and a google search led me to here, but thanks anyway.

Fred B. Amos II

Fred B. Amos II

Posted

Sure

Posted

"Not guilty" means the case went to trial and the defendant won. A dismissal means the prosecutor (or sometimes the judge) dropped the case on their own. Verdicts of not guilty are rarer because relatively few cases go to trial.

No answer to these questions is intended to, nor does it, create an attorney-client relationship. There is no substitute for an actual conversation with a licensed attorney about the particular facts and circumstances of your case.

Posted

A Not Guilty verdict means that a Jury or Judge has heard all evidence presented by the prosecution, deliberated upon this evidence and determined that the prosecution did not offer evidence of each element of the crime that convinced the Judge or Jury beyond a reasonable doubt of the defendant guilt. A voluntary dismissal is a decision by the prosecution to no longer proceed with the prosecution of a particular charged crime. Although, very it is unusual, a prosecutor may reinstate voluntary dismissed criminal charges provided the State is not barred by a statute of limitation. Dismissal by a Court with prejudice following the close of the State's evidence prohibits future prosecutions for the same crimes and triggers certain double jeopardy protections.