Dismissing Criminal Charges: Top 7 Ways To End The Nightmare
Getting your criminal charges dismissed is possible. If you’ve been arrested, then you’re interested to know how you can get your charges dismissed. Of course, you understand that you are innocent until proven guilty. But getting your criminal charges dismissed would bring a quick end to the pain.
What Are Your Options If You Can't Get Your Criminal Charges Dismissed?You have two options if you can’t get your criminal charges dismissed.
Option 1: Plead Guilty
Option 2: Go to trial
In every criminal case, you will be offered a plea deal OR you can you’re your criminal case to trial.
If you accept a plea deal, you will have to admit to committing a crime.
If you go to trial, you will incur tremendous expense & your fate is up to a jury.
The Basics of Getting Your Criminal Charges DismissedOf course, you know that you are innocent until proven guilty. But the criminal justice process is long & you may have many sleepless nights until your case is over.
First, it’s critical to have a clear understanding of the criminal charges against you. Are you facing Felony or Misdemeanor charges? What are the penalties & consequences of your charge? Will you have immigration consequences? Or is your career in jeopardy?
Next, find the criminal defense attorney that is right for you. During your meeting, your criminal lawyer should patiently listen to your side of the story. Next, he will explain your charges and provide an understanding of the long road ahead.
Dropped Charges versus Dismissed ChargesBefore we get to the good stuff, let’s answer this question: “What’s the difference between getting criminal charges dismissed and getting them dropped?”
Dropped charges and dismissed charges get you the same result.
“Dropped charges” means the prosecution stopped pursuing the charges. In other words, you never have to go to court.
For example, this happens when a detective discovers that a key witness lied about what they saw. Or when DNA evidence reveals that it is impossible for you to have committed the crime.
“To get your criminal charges dismissed" means your lawyer identified a Constitutional violation. For example, the police conducted an illegal search.
Moving on. Let's discuss the top 7 ways you can use to get your criminal charges dismissed.
7 Ways To Dismiss Criminal Charges1. Lack of probable cause for the arrest
2. Mistakes in the criminal complaint or charging documents
3. Illegal stop and search
4. Insufficient evidence
5. Grand Jury Dismissals
6. Procedural Issues
7. Lack of resources
Dismissing criminal charges: Method 1 - No Probable Cause To ArrestIn New Jersey & across the country, police need something called “probable cause” to arrest you.
This is a basic fundamental right that protects citizens against tyranny. In other words, a cop can’t arrest you because he has a “hunch” that you’re up to no good. He has to provide an acceptable explanation for his arrest.
The officer’s reasonable belief must include objective, factual evidence, and circumstances.
For instance, if a police officer gets a tip that a drug dealer is wearing a pink bowtie, the officer may have probable cause to stop an individual matching that description.
But if the officer sees you and you are not wearing a pink bowtie, then he cannot simply arrest you. You don’t fit the description.
We file a motion with the court showing the lack of probable cause. If the court agrees with us, then your criminal charges get dismissed.
Dismissing Criminal Charges: Method 2 - Challenging The ComplaintPolice officers must sign criminal complaints under oath.
If the criminal complaint against you contains serious mistakes, then we file a motion to dismiss.
For example, let's say that you are 5 ft. 9 inches tall, weigh 150 lbs., and have blonde hair. And the officer's complaint states that you are 6 ft. 6 inches tall, weigh 300 lbs., and have purple hair. Well, you get the picture.
Dismissing Criminal Charges: Method 3 - Illegal SearchesThe Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects citizens from illegal stops, searches, and seizures. This is the law of the land.
Law enforcement can only stop you under certain circumstances. As previously discussed, police need “probable cause” or a “reasonable belief” that you may have committed a crime.
Also, the police can only search your person, your car, or your home if they have a search warrant.
But there are exceptions to the warrant requirement.
For example, after your arrest, the police can search your pockets. This is done if the officer has a reasonable belief that you are carrying a weapon. If police conduct a search without a warrant or special circumstances, then the evidence gets suppressed. As a result, your criminal charges get dismissed.
Dismissing Criminal Charges: Method 4 - Because The Grand Jury Said SoAfter your arrest, the prosecution must present the case to a grand jury. The grand jury adds another layer of Constitutional protection. They listen to witnesses & look at the evidence. If they determine that there is sufficient evidence to establish probable cause, then your case goes forward. But, if the grand jury doesn’t find probable cause, then your criminal charges get dismissed.
Dismissing Criminal Charges: Method 5 - Insufficient EvidenceRemember, your arrest is the starting point of your criminal case. Felony cases take months and sometimes years. A lot happens while your case is pending. The prosecution may drop your criminal charges after discovering new evidence through their investigation.
One reason may simply be a lack of evidence. The other reason may be that the evidence against you is weak. Another possibility is that newly discovered evidence exonerates you. This means that the evidence shows that it was not you who committed the crime.
It’s important to emphasize the role of your criminal lawyer here. You see, while the prosecution is doing their investigation, your attorney is doing his. Aggressive & dedicated defense attorneys work tirelessly to protect you. They work hard to find the evidence that shows you are innocent of the crime charged. This evidence is then provided to the prosecutor. As a result, your criminal charges get dismissed.
Dismissing Criminal Charges: Method 6 - Procedural IssuesPolice and prosecutors must follow strict legal criminal procedures. Throughout your arrest, booking, and interrogation, they must follow the law. If the police violate your Constitutional rights, then these violations result in getting your criminal charges dismissed.
A common example is a Miranda violation. If you gave an incriminating statement without receiving a proper Miranda warning, then your statement gets suppressed. This alone won't guarantee that your criminal charges get dismissed. But it always helps to get rid of incriminating statements.
Procedural issues are tricky. So, make sure to get a good lawyer!
Dismissing Criminal Charges: Method 7Let’s face it; prosecutors are busy people.
They have tons of cases.
As a result, they are often forced to focus on their most serious cases.
Your criminal charges may get dismissed or dropped just because the prosecutor has bigger fish to fry.
The truth is that getting serious criminal charges dismissed is not common. You are more likely to get a dismissal if you're accused of a minor crime and you have no previous criminal record.
BONUS: If You Can't Get Your Charges Dismissed, Try To Get Them ReducedYou may wonder about the possibility of reducing a charge. If the evidence against you is weak, then your lawyer can fight for a reduced charge. It's a win-win situation for everyone involved. The case is resolved and your nightmare is over.
A felony charge can be downgraded to a misdemeanor charge. If this happens, jail is no longer an option. You may pay a fine and get a blemish on your record. But you will be relieved that the case is over.
Of course, our priority is to get your criminal charges dismissed but a reduced charge can also be a homerun!
In exchange for a guilty plea to a reduced charge, a prosecutor may offer a "plea bargain agreement." This occurs when a prosecutor agrees to dismiss the original criminal charge. You will have to agree to plead guilty to a less severe charge instead.
Conclusion: It Is Absolutely Possible To Get Your Criminal Charges DismissedWe outlined 7 ways that you can fight to get your criminal charges dismissed.
Each case is different and the method you choose will be determined by the facts of your case.
Remember, it's very important to choose the criminal lawyer that is right for you. There are many legal challenges involved in dismissing criminal charges. In many ways, you only get once chance to dismiss your case. Make sure that you don't waste it.
We offer Free Consultations and are here to help you.