The Most Common Reasons Criminal Cases Are Dismissed
If you face criminal charges, you are undoubtedly under immense stress, which may tempt you to take whatever deal the prosecutor throws your way (whether it is advantageous to you or not). Never accept a deal from a prosecutor before it is green-lighted by an experienced criminal defense attorney. Further, it is crucial to recognize that – under the right circumstances – a skilled criminal defense attorney may be able to have your case dismissed.
Case dismissals are generally based on one of the following circumstances:
Lack of Evidence – There simply is not enough evidence against you to get a conviction
Rights Violation – The evidence against you was obtained illegally (illegal search and seizure).
Procedural Issue – The police failed to follow the proper procedures during the course of your arrest (and beyond).
Let’s take a closer look.
Lack of Evidence Against You
The fact is that the prosecutor cannot convict you if there is not enough evidence against you to do so. If your defense attorney believes the prosecution does not have sufficient evidence to convict you, he or she will discuss the matter with the district attorney (DA) – while carefully reviewing the evidentiary facts. If your attorney can convince the DA that there is not enough evidence against you to get a conviction at trial, your case may be dismissed. If the DA disagrees, your attorney may take the matter before the judge in your case, who will make a decision regarding dismissal based on the available evidence.
A Violation of Your Fourth Amendment Rights
The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution affords all of us the right against illegal search and seizure. Any evidence gathered against you in a manner that violates this right is inadmissible in court. The dividing line between unlawful and legal search and seizure can be exceedingly fine, and you will almost certainly need an experienced criminal defense attorney to successfully make the case that the evidence against you was illegally obtained. If, however, your attorney can successfully make this argument, whatever evidence was obtained unlawfully can no longer be used against you, which can lead to dismissal (if the evidence formed the bulk of the case against you).
There Were Procedural Issues
The police are required by law to follow highly specific criminal procedures, and when they fail to do so, it can amount to a violation of your rights. Procedural errors related to your arrest, your booking, bail hearing, or other pretrial events may lead to a case dismissal.