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When and How Can Criminal Charges Be Dropped?

Criminal charges do not necessarily have to lead to a trial. In fact, in some circumstances, your charges might be dropped entirely.

First, it’s important to understand who actually has the power to drop criminal charges. The alleged victim has no power to do so, because the charges are actually brought by the government — whether it’s an assistant district attorney or other local law enforcement authority. The office that brings the charges has the sole power to drop them. The victim may decide he or she no longer wishes participate in the case and request that the government drops the charges, but in the end, the decision lies with the prosecutor.

Prosecutors typically drop charges for the following reasons:

  • Credible witnesses having refuted stories that led to the charges
  • The defense team has gathered enough evidence to sufficiently convince a jury of the defendant’s innocence
  • A lack of strong evidence against the accused individual
  • New evidence exonerating the accused
  • The best evidence of the prosecution being ruled inadmissible for use in court (for example, it was obtained without a warrant)
  • Serious charges dropped in exchange for the accused pleading guilty to lesser charges

Protecting your constitutional rights

With this in mind, if you are looking to have your charges dropped, your best bet is to either compile a significant amount of evidence in your favor or to attack the credibility of the evidence collected by the prosecution. The method you use depends on the circumstances of your case.

After an arrest on serious criminal charges, be sure to contact the skilled La Plata criminal defense attorneys at Mudd, Mudd & Fitzgerald, P.A.

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