Woodlands Criminal Defense Attorney - How do I get a Criminal Case Dismissed?
Brian Foley - Woodlands Criminal Defense Attorney.
When charges are filed or an arrest has been made the first thing that people often worry about it how long they will be going to jail. But if you've never been arrested before it is far more likely that your case will be dismissed than you end up going to jail for your formal sentence.
People often ask, "How can I get my case dismissed? I mean I did it?" What you should understand is that your case could be dismissed even if you are guilty. Prosecutors are not interested in convicting every person that goes to court after being arrested. Many times a good defense attorney can get the prosecutor to agree to dismiss your case without having to go to trial to a jury or in front of the judge.
Suppression of the Evidence - One way that a criminal case can be dismissed is that the evidence is suppressed during a suppression hearing. A judge can suppress evidence found in a criminal investigation when the police have searched or seized that evidence illegally. The 4th amendment guarantees that we should be secure in our persons, houses, papers, and effects. If your attorney can show that the officers lacked probable cause for a traffic stop then all evidence collected after the stop can be thrown out by the judge. If your attorney can show that a warrant lacked probable cause then anything obtained during the execution of that warrant will be inadmissible at trial.
Community Service for Dismissal - For charges like evading arrest, theft, or even resisting arrest or assault a deal could be reached where the prosecutor asks that a client perform a certain amount of community service, without being on probation, and in exchange for a case being entirely dismissed. This allows for an expunction of criminal charges unlike the completion of a deferred probation which only allows for a non-disclosure. (in certain circumstances.)
Class for Dismissal - There are many different types of behavioral modification classes that are offered. Sometimes completing a class like this and providing the prosecutors with a certificate that the class was completed can garner a dismissal and eventually an expunction.
Lack of proof beyond a reasonable doubt - It may be the case that the police officer believed he had probable cause to make an arrest for a criminal charge but at the time of trial there is no proof beyond a reasonable doubt. In cases like this it could be that a key witness has gone missing, or that video or audio of the events which were supposed to be captured or recorded have gone missing. This can lead a prosecutor to believe (with the proper argument from a competent defense lawyer) that the case is not winnable and therefor has no proof beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecutor believes there is no ability to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt they can dismiss the charge making way for an expunction.
Conviction in Lower Charge - Sometimes charges are dismissed because the defendant pleads guilty to a lower or lesser included offense. For Example when someone is charged with a Class A Assault Family Violence, if they are allowed to plead guilty to a class C deferred then the original Class A charge is dismissed and the new charge can be expunged after the completion of the 90 day or otherwise specified time period of deferred disposition.
In the Interest of Justice - One of the ways a prosecutor can dismiss a charge is to dismiss "In the interest of Justice." A prosecutor's job is not merely to convict but to see that justice is done. When a competent defense attorney can make the argument to a District Attorney that prosecution of a particular case would be unjust it is the duty of the prosecutor to dismiss the charges and allow the person to move on. While these are not easy to obtain a dismissal in the interest of justice is often times the most important type of dismissal that can be granted.
BORING LEGAL DISCLAIMER
For litigants who do not have counsel: Reading this blog post does not create an attorney client relationship. Call to set up a free consultation.
For the general public: This Blog/Web Site is for educational purposes only and it provides general information and a general understanding of the law, but does not provide specific legal advice. By using this site, commenting on posts, or sending inquiries through the site or contact email, you confirm that there is no attorney-client relationship created. Don't just read this as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney.
For attorneys: This Blog is informational and educational in nature and is not a substitute for Westlaw or other research and consultation on specific matters pertaining to your clients. As you know the law can change day to day based on recent case opinions. And unfortunately you shouldn't cite it in court as binding authority because it is not. Mention it to your friends, just seek real consultation if its something important.