How Can I Get My Charges Dropped?
After you are arrested, a police officer will file an arrest report that prosecutors then use to decide which charges to file against you. These charges can be dropped before or after the prosecution files charges and sets a court date. Once charges have been brought against you, you will need to have your criminal defense attorney file a pretrial motion to dismiss the case and have all charges dropped.
Which Factors Determine Whether My Charges Are Dropped?
The prosecutor in your case must act in the interest of justice, and the decision to have your charges dismissed ultimately falls to them. A skilled criminal defense attorney can work with you to convince the prosecutor that pursuing your charges is not the optimal course of action. Some reasons may include an expired statute of limitations, inadequate evidence, or emergence of new evidence.
Will I Have a Criminal Record if My Charges are Dropped?
In most cases, if your charges are dismissed before your trial, then you will have no criminal record. In fact, the effect on your life will be the same as if the charges were not filed at all. However, the prosecution can decide to prosecute you in the future if new evidence is gathered. The exception to this rule is if your case is dismissed “with prejudice,” which means that the prosecution can never file the charges again. This is the court’s way of saying that the case against you has no legal merit, and usually this decision comes only after your legal representative brings a strong defense forward.