How do criminal charges get dropped?

On Behalf of | Dec 10, 2020 | Criminal Law

Being accused of a crime is an upsetting, frightening experience. You can feel helpless, angry and scared about your future, not to mention intimidated by the people arresting and charging you with a criminal offense. 

However, it is essential to stay calm and remember that a criminal charge is not a conviction. Every person is presumed innocent in the U.S., and you have the right to defend yourself in court. And in some cases, it can be possible to have your charges dropped. 

If there is insufficient evidence to build a strong case against a person, an officer or prosecutor can drop the charges. 

How charges get dropped

Some ways that charges can be dropped include:

  • Challenging evidence: The evidence collected during an investigation is subject to challenge. With the help of your attorney, you could find that someone tampered with or planted the evidence. It could be possible that the evidence does not link you to a crime.
  • Providing context and explanation: There are at least two sides to every story. If someone makes allegations against you, you have the right to give your side of the story. What you say and can prove could be enough to make the case against you weaker.
  • Proving a search was illegal: If a search is illegal and violates your rights, courts can dismiss any evidence resulting from it. In some cases, having evidence dismissed can make it impossible for prosecutors to pursue their case.
  • Calling witness testimony into question: Statements from witnesses are hardly objective facts. Often, witness identification and memory are flawed. People can be mistaken and jump to the wrong conclusions, making it critical to challenge a witness’s credibility.

These represent some ways to defend yourself against charges so that they do not turn into a conviction.

Other options

Even if parties do not drop charges altogether, there are other ways to minimize the impact of a criminal allegation. 

Some possibilities include negotiating a plea agreement and pursuing alternatives to imprisonment. Further, the dismissal of even some of the charges can reduce the severity of the charges and possible sentence.

Defending yourself against criminal charges may not be easy, but it is crucial to protect your rights, freedom, and future.