If you desperately wish to find out how to get charges dropped before the court date, then you are in luck. This post covers every single detail from factors that may affect getting charges dropped before the court date to the processes involved and basically all you should know.
Overview: How to Get Charges Dropped Before Court Date
For most people, the prospect of facing criminal prosecution is terrifying. They are frightened by the idea of going to prison, losing their jobs, or that their families may be unable to maintain themselves. In a criminal proceeding, the accused or defendant should seriously consider hiring a lawyer to represent them.
Basically, a criminal record can keep you from being able to:
- Rent an apartment
- Possess a firearm
- Obtain employment
- Get a loan from a bank
- Obtain occupational license approval
Meanwhile, no lawyer can guarantee that your charges (criminal or not) can be dropped before or after the court date. The vast majority of criminal cases are not dropped. In fact, over 90% of criminal cases result in a plea bargain, 8% result in dismissal, and 2% result in a jury verdict.
However, each case is unique, and in some circumstances, prosecutors have little choice except to drop the case. A judge may also rule that your rights have been infringed and dismiss your lawsuit.
With these constraints in mind, below are the most straightforward methods for having your criminal case dropped before the court date; it also includes factors involved. But let’s start with the basics…
Why Do Persecutors Drop Charges
There are a variety of reasons why prosecutors drop charges. One of them is when a criminal charge’s victim — the person around whom the case is formed — refuses to cooperate. It’s possible that the victim has changed his or her mind, making it futile for the prosecutor to continue without more evidence.
Here are five more reasons why your lawyer may be able to get your charges reduced or dropped before the court date:
#1. Insufficient Proof
A prosecutor may drop a criminal charge if the evidence against the accused is found to be insufficient. Alternatively, fresh evidence may be discovered that undermines the prosecution’s case against the defendant. When the DA and prosecutors are first evaluating police reports, your attorney may be able to intervene and argue that there is no basis for pursuing a formal case against you because there is insufficient evidence. However, if charges are filed despite the lack of evidence, our lawyer can make a move to dismiss the case.
#2. Violations of the Fourth Amendment
The Fourth Amendment protects civilians from police, investigators, and law enforcement officers conducting illegal searches and seizures. Any evidence collected illegally can and should be thrown out of the case. If it is decided that any of the evidence used by prosecutors was obtained legitimately and is inadmissible in court, prosecutors may drop the charges. If this has occurred, a good defense attorney can demonstrate it, possibly due to police failure to get a legal warrant to search for evidence. In other words, any evidence discovered without a legal warrant is ruled inadmissible. This also means that the prosecutor may drop or dismiss the criminal charge.
#3. Issues with the Procedure
When arresting, booking, interrogating, scheduling a bail hearing, or engaging in pretrial operations, police and prosecutors must follow specific criminal processes. These procedural flaws may be grounds for case dismissal or sentence reduction if a defendant’s rights have been infringed. However, because these concerns are complex, it is vital that you consult with an experienced and educated defense attorney.
#4. Scarcity of Resources
Prosecutors and district attorneys are frequently confronted with considerably more cases than they can manage. As a result, they may be forced to focus their time and resources on a limited number of high-priority cases while dropping or dismissing minor offenses. If you’re accused of a minor crime and have no prior criminal record, this is more likely.
#5. Willingness to Work Together
If prosecutors discover that you are prepared to cooperate with authorities in the investigation of additional crimes or in some other cases, your attorney may be able to persuade them to work out a compromise with you in which your sentence is reduced or your case is dropped/dismissed entirely.
Meanwhile, in rare cases, authorities can search a person, residence, or car without a search warrant if they violate the Fourth Amendment. A search may be conducted if police have grounds to believe an apprehended person is in possession of a criminal weapon. For example, after arresting a driver for driving while intoxicated, police might search the vehicle (DWI). In the event of an emergency, such as shots being fired, police can enter a house without a search warrant.
However, if it is discovered that the suspect was subjected to an illegal stop or that there was insufficient probable cause to make an arrest, the charge may be withdrawn. Police must have a reasonable belief that an arrest is warranted based on clear facts. They cannot also detain you based on a hunch or by “profiling” your race.
In any case, by pointing out these reasons to prosecutors, your defense lawyer can make the case for you that a charge should be dismissed even before the court date.
Why Are Charges Dismissed by Courts and Prosecutors?
Prosecutors and courts may dismiss charges after they have been filed for some of the same reasons that charges are dropped before they are filed. It’s possible that the evidence is inadequate, witnesses are unavailable, or that illegal tactics were employed to obtain evidence or make arrests.
A criminal defense lawyer can help speed up this procedure, which is best done early in the legal process or during the pretrial bargaining period.
A defense counsel can argue that the prosecution’s case will not hold up in court and encourage the prosecution to dismiss or drop the charge before going to trial or setting a date. The prosecution may react with a plea bargain offer. On the flip side, your lawyer may then argue that even the lesser charge won’t hold up in court.
How to Get Charges Dropped Before a Court Date
The following are popular techniques defense attorneys use to get criminal charges dropped before a court date is set.
#1. Motion to Dismiss on the Grounds of Self-Defense:
If the accused or respondent’s acts were fully taken to defend him or herself, the attorney can file a petition to dismiss. This would be a move to dismiss based on self-defense grounds. An affirmative defense, which can be part of the defendant’s defense strategy, is a motion to dismiss that uses self-defense as its major foundation.
An affirmative defense implies that the accused or respondent does not deny that the act or certain aspects of the act occurred. The essence of an affirmative defense is that the accused or respondent argues that his or her acts were legally justified. While the activity may appear to be a criminal or an offense in and of itself, the accused or respondent is immune from culpability because it was justified in the first place.
A more specific example would be when a burglar breaks into a homeowner’s home and threatens the homeowner’s or family members’ lives. If the threat to his or her life or the life of a household member was already imminent, the homeowner would be justified in retrieving a gun and firing at the burglar.
In this scenario, the accused should have been in a circumstance where the attacker who was injured was about to do or had already done something illegal to the accused or respondent.
#2. Motion to Dismiss on the Grounds of Factual Inaccuracy
In some cases, both the plaintiff and the defendant agree on the essential aspects and facts of the case. A full-fledged trial may not be necessary if they agree to such an extent that other facts related to the case no longer need to be determined. The accused or respondent may ask the judge to make a decision based on the facts and dismiss the case. A motion to dismiss based on factual grounds is known as a C4 motion.
A driver of a vehicle, for example, may have abruptly swerved from the correct lane to the embankment. As a result, the vehicle could have collided with someone on the sidewalk. If the motorist had no alternative since the vehicle in front of him abruptly stopped without notice and the opposite lane was blocked by approaching traffic, his decision to divert to the right and climb the slope could be justified. This is a form of self-preservation to prevent a life-threatening situation for the motorist.
Rule 3.190 (c)(4) of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure provides the legal foundation for a C4 Motion to Dismiss. According to this rule, the court hearing the case may consider a C4 Motion to Dismiss at any time if no material facts are in dispute. It should also raise the point that the indisputable facts based on what both parties have raised are insufficient to proceed with the accused’s trial.
The government agents, on the other hand, may submit a traverse disputing or denying part or all of the significant facts presented in the move to dismiss. When this happens, the C4 request to dismiss is almost certainly going to be refused.
#3. Motion to Dismiss on the Grounds of Statute Of Limitations
A motion to dismiss based on the statute of limitations is another way to get charges against an accused or defendant dropped. The basic concept of the statute of limitations is that the prosecution or plaintiff has a deadline for filing charges against the accused or defendant. To put it another way, they must file the charges before a specific deadline.
This is normally calculated starting from the time of the crime. In civil cases, however, this is calculated from the time when the circumstances that gave birth to the cause of action occurred. When the prosecution or plaintiff fails to file the required charges before the deadline expires, the accused or defendant may file a motion to dismiss asserting that the statute of limitations has expired.
Depending on the nature and seriousness of the offense, the statute of limitations can range from one to ten years. However, several offenses are exempt from the statute of limitations, including:
- Felonies with a capital or death punishment classification
- When a person dies as a result of a felony crime
- Felony offenses that are punishable by life in prison
- In a case involving a capital offense, the accused lied on oath.
- Charges of human trafficking
- Sexual battery charges have been filed.
#4. Motion to Dismiss Based on Timeliness of Trial
If the prosecution takes too long to start the trial, the accused or defendant might have the charges withdrawn on the grounds that the defendant’s right to a speedy trial has been violated. The trial of misdemeanor charges in Florida must begin within 90 days of the accused’s arrest, according to the state’s criminal procedural laws. Felony trials are expected to begin in 175 days. So, defendants have the right to request that their trial begins within 60 days of their arrest.
What Is a Dismissal of a Grand Jury?
When a grand jury is assembled to examine an indictment on a charge, it is judged that the case isn’t strong enough, and the grand jury dismisses the accusation. The charge can then be dismissed or “no-billed” by the grand jury or by the prosecutor. Basically, prosecutors would rather do that than waste time prosecuting a case they can’t win.
How Are Crime Charges Dismissed?
Many safeguards exist in the judicial system to protect against erroneous convictions. These measures aren’t always effective. However, in rare situations, they can avert a miscarriage of justice by causing your charges to be dismissed.
Charges can be dismissed by one of two parties:
Following your arrest by the police, the prosecutor will file a criminal accusation against you. The prosecution must have reasonable cause to suspect you committed a crime before filing charges.
If your criminal defense attorney can persuade the prosecution that the case against you is flawed, the prosecutor might request that the case be dismissed in court.
The charges against you may possibly be dismissed by the judge. The judge could, for example, rule that the evidence is insufficient to establish the charges. However, in most cases, the judge will allow prosecutors to submit their cases to the jury and then let the jury decide.
When the prosecutor’s case is legally deficient, the judge has the right to dismiss the charges. The investigation, arrest, or prosecution of your case could all have legal flaws.
Even before the trial date, there are ways to have charges against an accused or defendant dropped. The most common course of action is to file a motion to dismiss the case. A motion to dismiss might be made for a variety of reasons by the defendant’s attorney. If the claims in a request to dismiss are true, the court may decide to dismiss the matter without a trial.