The Hive Law

What Happens If Charges Are Dropped Before Court (Are You Safe Now?)

What Happens If Charges Are Dropped Before Court - Can Charges Be Dropped After Indictment - Can Charges Be Dropped At An Arraignment Hearing

What happens if charges are dropped before court appearances?

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • how to know if your charges get dropped
  • if your charges get dropped, can you get charged again
  • can charges get dropped after an indictment or arraignment hearing
  • can both felony and misdemeanor charges get dropped
  • how to get charges dropped
  • why the prosecutor would drop charges against you

Let’s dig in.

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What Happens If Charges Are Dropped Before Court

When you get criminal charges, those charges can get dropped before your court date.

There are several reasons your charges could get dropped.

You may be able to get an expungement or have your case dismissed.

Let’s look at how charges can get dropped and how to know if they were.

Overview of Criminal Charges Being Dropped

Getting your charges dropped depends on things like:

  • the case itself (i.e., prosecutor dropping charges, violation of constitutional rights, etc.)
  • the jurisdiction (i.e., types of charges, penalties, laws on pleas, etc.)
  • the parties involved (i.e., criminal defense attorney challenging evidence)

Your charges can get dropped by:

  • the prosecuting attorneys 
  • the judge
  • a plea agreement between the defendant and prosecutor

Many times, the evidence is insufficient to press charges. 

In this case, the judge or the prosecutor will drop the charges. 

How To Know If Charges Were Dropped

Let’s say you have your charges dropped. 

How would you know if the charges against you were dropped? 

You’ll either get notified:

  • in writing by the prosecutor or the courts
  • by your defense attorney

Some states have the cases’ statutes posted on their websites. 

You can also contact the courts or the prosecutor’s office to find out if charges were dropped. 

The prosecutor will tell you that:

  • the charges have been dropped
  • the case is now closed

You can also ask them (or your attorney) for information about why the charges were dropped. 

Can You Drop Charges Against Someone Before Court?

Yes, you can drop charges against someone before going to court.

The defendant benefits from this by avoiding:

The accusing party (the prosecutor) benefits from this by avoiding:

  • a lengthy criminal trial 
  • expenses of the trial (i.e., court fees, defense attorney fees, etc.)
  • the defendant being able to challenge the charges
  • the defendant gathering evidence that exonerates them
  • ruining the relationship with the defendant 

Prosecutors may want to avoid defendants getting legal representation. 

Because it could lead to the defendant:

  • challenging the charges
  • gathering evidence
  • drawing out the trial
  • exonerating themselves
  • weakening the prosecutor’s case against them

You can drop your charges against someone before court to avoid all of this. 

If a prosecutor’s case gets weakened by the defense, then:

  • they may drop the charges before the court appearance
  • they may seek a plea bargain

Reasons Charges Can Get Dropped Before Court

Charges get dropped before court for a variety of reasons. 

The most common ones are:

  • insufficient evidence
  • mistaken or false identification
  • a statute of limitations

Charges can get dropped if the court is unable to move forward with the case. 

The most common reasons we experience charges getting dropped are:

  • insufficient evidence
  • mistaken or false identification (identification is incorrect or unreliable)
  • statute of limitations (charges brought outside of the statute of limitations)
  • improper search or arrest (searches or arrests conducted without probable cause)
  • not having a proper arrest or search warrant
  • uncooperative witnesses (witnesses unwilling to testify or provide evidence)
  • lack of information or knowledge (intent to commit the crime cannot get proven)
  • prosecutorial discretion (they can drop charges as they please)
  • a plea bargain (they can drop charges to take a less severe charge)
  • double jeopardy (if they have already been charged with the same crime)
  • conflicting testimony (witness testimonies are conflicting)
  • law enforcement officer making an illegal stop

An experienced criminal defense lawyer knows how to use these in your favor. 

They will use this information to:

  • reduce your sentences (jail time, fines, and probation)
  • get the charges dropped
  • protect your rights

Fill out the form on this page to get a free consultation with our law firm. 

Can Charges Get Dropped During Court Processes?

Yes, charges can get dropped during court proceedings. 

Either the prosecutor or the district attorney can drop your charges. 

Let’s say that new evidence gets presented and you have a valid defense. 

And there’s not enough evidence to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

You can get your charges dropped during the court processes. 

Can You Drop Charges Against Someone Before Court?

Yes, you can drop charges against someone before court. 

It’s possible for the person making the complaint to drop the charges. 

But law enforcement or the prosecutor can still pursue the charges. 

Even if the person filing the initial complaint wants to drop the charges. 

This is because it’s their duty to uphold the law and seek justice. 

Some charges will get dropped before court if there’s not enough evidence. 

Can The Victim Drop Charges?

No, the victim cannot drop charges against someone. 

The decision to prosecute someone is made by the state and not the victim. 

But, the victim can file a petition to drop charges against someone. 

And the courts will decide whether or not to grant the petition. 

Can Charges Be Dropped After Indictment?

Yes, charges can get dropped after an indictment. 

An indictment is a formal accusation of someone committing a crime. 

You’ll get notified of the indictment:

  • by a letter or call from the courts 
  • by the court’s attorney
  • by getting summoned to the courts to get notified in person

Charges get dropped after an indictment if:

  • there is a lack of evidence
  • new evidence exonerates the accused person
  • the prosecution dismisses the case

Can Charges Be Dropped At An Arraignment Hearing?

Yes, charges can get dropped at an arraignment hearing. 

An arraignment hearing is the first court appearance in a criminal case. 

There may still be an arraignment hearing even if charges are getting dropped so that:

  • the prosecutor can present their physical evidence
  • the judge can review the physical evidence
  • the judge can make the final determination to drop the charges

The defendant can also present evidence during the arraignment hearing. 

The judge can drop your charges at the arraignment hearing based on the evidence. 

Can Misdemeanor Charges Get Dropped?

Yes, misdemeanor charges can get dropped. 

A misdemeanor charge won’t get dropped if:

  • there’s a strong case against the defendant 
  • the defendant has a criminal history
  • it’s a serious charge (i.e., murder, vehicular manslaughter, hit and run, aggravated assault, etc.)
  • the crime was committed in front of a minor
  • the defendant refused the plea deal
  • the prosecutor has a personal grudge

Can A Felony Charge Be Dropped

Yes, felony charges can get dropped. 

A felony charge won’t get dropped if:

  • there’s enough evidence for a strong case
  • the defendant has a criminal history (i.e., domestic violence, drug possession, DWIs, etc.)
  • the victim does not wish to drop the charges (i.e., sexual assault, domestic violence, etc.)
  • the crime violates federal or state laws
  • it’s a serious charge (i.e., homicide, owning illegal guns,  etc.)
  • the crime was committed in front of a minor
  • the defendant refused the plea deal
  • the crime was committed with a deadly weapon

How To Get Charges Dropped Before Court

There are lots of ways that charges can get dropped before your court date. 

Some of the ways you can get charges dropped before court are:

  • Negotiated Plea Agreement: Both parties can come to an agreement outside of court to reduce or drop the charges.
  • Prosecutorial Discretion: The prosecution can decide to reduce or drop the charges.
  • Motion to Dismiss: The defense can file a motion to have the charges dismissed.
  • Grand Jury No-Bill: A grand jury can decide not to move forward with the charges.
  • Statute of Limitations: The charges can be dropped if the time limit for pressing charges has passed.
  • Lack of Probable Cause: If the police officer didn’t have a reasonable belief the crime was committed, the charges can be dropped.
  • Insufficient Evidence: If there isn’t enough evidence to prove the case, the charges can be dropped.
  • Immunity: A defendant can be granted immunity from prosecution.
  • Violation of Rights: If any of the defendant’s rights were violated, the charges can be dropped.
  • Mistaken Identity: The charges can be dropped if the defendant was misidentified.
  • Double Jeopardy: If the defendant was already tried for the same crime, the charges can be dropped.

How To Get Charges Dropped

The steps to take to get charges dropped are:

  1. speak to your defense lawyer to discuss your options
  2. gather evidence and build a defense for your case
  3. negotiate terms of a plea bargain (if possible)
  4. fulfill all of the requirements for a pretrial diversion (if possible)
  5. file the paperwork for an expungement (if you’re eligible)

The best possible outcome is the charges getting dropped before court.

But expungement is a great way to clear your criminal records.

How To Get Felony Charges Dropped

Felony charges are more difficult to get dropped. 

It’s up to the judge to determine if you can drop felony charges. 

Your defense lawyer will need to work with the prosecutor to get charges dropped. 

Some common ways felony charges can get dropped are:

  • Plea Bargain: agreeing to plead guilty to a lesser charge (i.e., taking reckless driving instead of a DUI)
  • Dismissal: insufficient evidence or a strong defense (i.e., proving the defendant was not driving a car in a hit-and-run)
  • Reduction of the Charge: showing remorse and taking certain actions 
  • Pre-trial Diversion: completing certain requirements to avoid a conviction (i.e., taking alcohol education classes or doing community services)
  • Expungement: sealing the records of the charge 

How To Get A Prosecutor To Drop Charges

The prosecutor is the one who decides whether to formally file charges. 

The prosecutor also has the option to drop the charges against you before court. 

You should hire an experienced criminal defense lawyer to represent you. 

They will negotiate with the prosecutor to get your charges dropped. 

If there is a good reason to, your attorney can get your charges dropped. 

Some things your lawyer can discuss with the prosecutor are:

  • dropping your charges
  • seeing if there is enough evidence to prosecute you
  • negotiating a plea bargain
  • reducing your sentencing

Some things that your attorney will make sure of are:

The Outcome Of Charged Getting Dropped

Let’s look at some situations surrounding your charges getting dropped before court.

What Happens If Charges Get Dropped?

When charges get dropped, the defendant:

  • gets released
  • is no longer facing charges

When your charges get dropped, you need to update your criminal records. 

You’ll want your criminal records to reflect the case’s dismissal. 

You can have your criminal defense lawyer file a motion for expungement. 

If Charges Are Dropped Can You Be Charged Again?

Yes, if charges are dropped, you can get charged again. 

The prosecutor may have dropped your charges due to a lack of evidence. 

When new evidence gets presented, they can bring charges against you again. 

Even if you took a plea deal, you can get charged again with new, sufficient evidence. 

If Charges Are Dropped Is It Still On Your Record?

Yes, if charges get dropped, they still show up on your records. 

They will normally get noted on your criminal records as “dismissed” or “dropped.”

This helps explain the charges to potential employers later on. 

Charges Dismissed vs Dropped

What’s the difference between getting your charges dismissed vs dropped? 

Getting your case dismissed when the prosecutor no longer pursues the case. 

It’s usually due to a lack of evidence. 

Charges get dropped when the prosecutor terminates the case before trial. 

It’s usually due to plea deals or not enough evidence. 

Getting Your Criminal Charges Dropped

If you are facing a criminal conviction, fill out the form on this page.

Our criminal defense attorneys have the experience you need to defend your rights.

This way, you don’t:

  • get wrongfully convicted of criminal activity
  • spend years in jail needlessly
  • not see your family or loved ones for potentially years
  • get wrongfully accused of a serious crime by police officers

You deserve a fair trial in the criminal justice system.

Our law firm can provide you with that.

Talk soon.

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