How to Get Criminal Charges Dropped or Dismissed
After an arrest, you remain innocent until proven otherwise, but not every defendant facing criminal charges will go to trial or make a plea bargain. Instead, many charges are dismissed or dropped in Michigan courts, whereas the defendant is deemed innocent of the charges. In order to get your charges dropped or dismissed, it’s essential to gain a better understanding of the charges as well as the legal process you are facing. In the initial stages, such as during a consultation with your criminal defense attorney, your charges and the process ahead of you will be discussed so that you have a clear picture of the road you’re facing.
As your Michigan criminal defense team, one of our first objectives is to determine if there are grounds for a dropped or dismissed case. Dropped cases can occur for a wide variety of reasons, including violations of the defendant’s civil and Constitutional rights, the law enforcement’s possible failure in following legal detainment and arrest procedures, and lack of evidence. Therefore, if you’re charged with a crime, it’s critical to acquire the representation and legal expertise of a top-rated Michigan criminal defense attorney from Grabel & Associates. For a free, no-obligation consultation, call Grabel & Associates today at 1-800-342-7896.
Reasons Why a Criminal Charge May Get Dropped or Dismissed
Whether facing an infraction, a misdemeanor or a felony in Michigan, a best possible outcome involves dropped or dismissed charges. An innocent verdict is certainly desirable, but getting your charges dropped or dismissed could save you time and litigation costs. Some of the most common grounds for this result include:
- Lack of probable cause for the arrest
- Mistakes in the criminal complaint or charging documents
- Illegal stop and search
- Lack or loss of evidence, key witnesses, etc.
Additionally, even if you are initially given a guilty verdict, you can appeal the court’s decision and, at the appeals court, you can achieve a dismissed case.
Grounds for Dropped or Dismissed Charges
Dropped and dismissed charges result in the same outcome. “Dropped charges” means the prosecution stopped pursuing the charges; the defendant is never taken to court. “Dismissed charges” means the charges went to trial, but the judge dismissed them (often, the judge’s decision to dismiss the charges is against the prosecution’s will).
Below, we’ll better explore some of the grounds for dropped or dismissed charges:
- Lack of probable cause for arrest — Police in Michigan can only make an arrest if the officer has probable cause to believe that a suspect committed a crime. The officer cannot, by law, arrest a person on a “gut” feeling. The officer’s reasonable belief must include objective, factual evidence and circumstances. For instance, if a witness said the robber was wearing a blue jacket with a scorpion emblem, the officer may have probable cause to stop an individual matching that description. If the officer doesn’t have a description and simply arrests a person walking down the street, the officer may not have had probable cause to make the arrest. By showing the lack of probable cause, the court may drop or dismiss the charges.
- Mistakes in the criminal complaint — When the police officer is writing the criminal complaint or charging documents, he/she must sign the document under oath. Michigan and local laws state the specific ways that officers must write a complaint or charging document. If there are mistakes in the written complaint or charging documents, the prosecution cannot make an edit; only the charging officer can make edits. If the officer is unable to fix the mistake, then the prosecution may have to dismiss the complaint.
- Illegal stop and searches — Americans are protected from illegal stops, searches, and seizures based on the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. As such, law enforcement can only stop an individual under certain circumstances (such as a probable cause or a reasonable belief that the individual may have committed a crime). Additionally, law enforcement can search your person, your car, or your home only if an officer has a search warrant or if there are certain circumstances present. For instance, after arresting an individual, police can search the suspect’s person if the officer have reasonable belief that the suspect has a deadly weapon. If police conduct a search without a warrant or special circumstances, then the evidence gathered cannot be used against the defendant.
- Lack of evidence — To convict the defendant, the prosecution must present the case to a grand jury and show that there is sufficient evidence to establish probable cause. The evidence must show a factual, objective basis, and if the grand jury or the judge doesn’t find probable cause, then the charges must be dismissed.
Contact the Top Michigan Defense Attorneys at Grabel & Associates
There is nothing as frightening, confusing, and nerve-wracking as facing criminal charges. The consequences of a successful guilty conviction can include large fines and possible jail time. For these reasons, it’s essential to contact a criminal defense attorney who can look at your case and the evidence and determine whether or not there are grounds to file a motion to dismiss. If you’ve been charged with a crime, don’t hesitate and contact the top Michigan criminal defense attorneys at Grabel & Associates. Free consultations are available. Call 1-800-342-7896 now.