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How to Get Criminal Charges Dismissed Before Trial

If you have been charged with a crime in North Carolina, the first question you are likely asking yourself is, how do I make these criminal charges against me go away? The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, have a record of getting criminal charges dismissed before their clients’ cases even proceed to trial. Even if your case does proceed to trial, you still have the opportunity to file a motion to dismiss with the court.

Pre-File Representation

The most common time when the court will dismiss the case is during the pre-file representation. The suspect will be required to appear before a judge within 24 hours after an arrest or being held in custody by law enforcement. This appearance is called the initial appearance. During the initial appearance, the judge will set bail and state the conditions for the suspects to be released from jail.

During the second appearance in court, pre-file representation is crucial. During this appearance, the formal indictment or the official charges are brought by a grand jury. At this hearing, your attorney will have the opportunity to convince the judge to reduce or potentially even dismiss all of the charges against you before the state prosecutors ever file the charges. Once a grand jury rules, the criminal charges will move forward.

Voluntary Dismissals

In a voluntary dismissal of a case, the prosecution, either the county prosecutor or district attorney, will choose to dismiss the case voluntarily. Sometimes, the victim decides they do not want to pursue criminal charges and will not testify in court. Hence, the prosecutor dismisses the case. In other cases, the prosecutor may decide they do not have enough evidence to obtain a conviction and voluntarily ask the court to dismiss the charges.

Involuntary Dismissals

An involuntary dismissal, as the name suggests, happens when a judge stops a case despite the prosecutor's objection. In other words, the prosecutor would still like to proceed with bringing charges, but the judge steps in and issues an involuntary dismissal. Generally, the defendant will file a motion to dismiss if they believe there is a lack of evidence, a breach of the statute of limitations, improper jurisdiction, or if they believe the other party is not complying with a court order. At other times, a judge may invoke their right to dismiss the case when a party to a case is acting properly or a legal issue arises.

The Difference Between Dismissing a Case With or Without Prejudice

Whether a case is voluntarily or involuntarily dismissed, it will always be found dismissed with or without prejudice. When a case is dismissed with prejudice, it will be closed for good. A dismissal with prejudice is the best-case scenario for defendants. When a case is dismissed without prejudice, it could potentially be reopened in the future.

Dismissing the Evidence Against You

There are several ways to convince a court to dismiss the charges against you. You may be able to ask the court to throw out important evidence against you, leaving the prosecutor no option but to petition the court to dismiss the charges. In other cases, you could be eligible for a diversion program, especially if this is your first time being charged with possession of a controlled substance or a DWI. In other cases, police officers may have obtained evidence against you illegally by violating the rules of evidence.

You may be able to get the evidence suppressed, preventing the prosecution from using it against you. For example, suppose law enforcement obtained evidence against you through an illegal search and seizure. They may have searched your house without a search warrant. In that case, you could get the evidence thrown out. Without that evidence, the prosecutor may not be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you have committed the crime, and the criminal charges against you may be dismissed.

Discuss Your Case With an Experienced Attorney

If you or your loved one are being investigated for a crime or have already been charged with a crime in North Carolina, there is still time for you to get your charges reduced or have the court dismiss your case entirely. You will need the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

The attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC, have extensive experience representing clients before trial, obtaining dismissals, and reducing the severity of the charges against clients. If you are convicted, you could lose your freedom, and your future could be in jeopardy. Do not hesitate to contact Arnold & Smith, PLLC, to schedule a complimentary case evaluation with a skilled criminal defense attorney.