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What Happens When Charges Get Dropped or Dismissed?

Comments Off on What Happens When Charges Get Dropped or Dismissed?

If you are facing criminal charges in Washington state, you may be worried about your future. You may wonder what would happen when your case goes to trial, and whether or not you can avoid serious penalties like fines or jail time. In some cases, however, criminal charges may be dropped or dismissed before your case even reaches the courtroom. There are many reasons why criminal charges may be dropped or dismissed, and it is important to understand how these outcomes could impact your future.

What Does It Mean When a Case Is Dismissed?

Dropped and dismissed criminal charges are similar in that the case does not go to trial and the defendant does not face penalties for the alleged offense. However, a charge being dropped is very different from a case being dismissed. It is important to understand the difference between these terms to know what to expect after these processes happen.

When you are arrested for allegedly committing a crime, the arresting police officer will forward your case information to a prosecutor. The prosecutor will then choose whether or not to file criminal charges against you and initiate legal proceedings against you. The prosecutor will need to determine whether or not he or she has enough evidence to convince the court that you are guilty of the crime. 

Criminal charges are usually dropped if the prosecutor or arresting officer believes that there is not enough evidence for the charge to hold up in court or that the facts of the case are not correct. In many cases, your case will be dropped if a prosecutor chooses not to file criminal charges against you after your arrest. The prosecutor may also choose to drop charges after your case is filed if he or she discovers new information that warrants the decision.

Criminal charges are dismissed, on the other hand, after the case has already been filed. Both the prosecutor and the court can choose to dismiss your case. These decisions are usually based on a legal error or a lack of evidence for the case to continue. 

Why Are Criminal Charges Dropped or Dismissed?

There are many reasons why criminal charges may be dropped or dismissed. In cases involving dropped charges, insufficient or conflicting evidence could factor into a prosecutor’s decision not to continue with a case. Other reasons why criminal charges may be dropped include the following.

  • Insufficient evidence that is not strong enough to convict you of the crime
  • New evidence that contradicts the arrest report or the prosecutor’s case
  • Evidence that was illegally obtained, such as conducting a search without a warrant
  • Procedural errors committed during your arrest, booking, or interrogation
  • A victim or witness that chooses not to cooperate with the case

Criminal charges can be dismissed for many of the same reasons, such as poor evidence, unreliable or unavailable witnesses, or violations of your constitutional rights. Your criminal defense attorney can raise these concerns before trial and argue that the prosecutor does not have enough sufficient evidence to convict you of the crime. At this stage, your lawyer can request the prosecutor to dismiss or drop the charge. 

If you are facing any type of criminal charges in Washington, it is important to seek the help of an attorney. A criminal defense lawyer can help you identify errors, rights violations, and other factors that could lead to dismissed or dropped charges. Contact an attorney as soon as possible following your arrest to discuss your legal options.

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