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La Plata & Waldorf Criminal Defense Lawyer
The Charles County Criminal Defense Firm Hablamos Español 301-259-3488

Are Dropped or Dismissed Charges in the Cards?


You’ve been charged with a crime, and it’s petrifying. How could this have happened to you? Right now you are praying that law enforcement resolves that it was all some crazy mistake and you’ll be able to walk away and forget the whole thing. That kind of marvel could occur if the charges were dropped or dismissed before ever reaching a courtroom. Is it possible one of these results could find their way to your case?

Having Charges Dropped

 A prosecutor who thinks they have a strong enough case to get a guilty verdict will generally forge ahead and file charges, frequently taking the case all the way to trial. On the other hand, when a prosecutor has misgivings about the strength of the case, they may decide to drop the charges. From there they might instruct police to find further evidence, look for a new suspect, or drop the case altogether. This could happen at any stage of the process.

Having Charges Dismissed

Let’s say the prosecutor is confident that they can get a conviction. Of course, they will press forward with the case. A magistrate judge will then consider the issue of reasonable cause during a preliminary hearing. At that time the judge will weigh the strength of the evidence currently available. If the judge believes there is probable cause to move forward, the prosecutor will get the green light to pursue the matter further.  If the judge finds that the case is lacking a strong and convincing foundation, however, the complaint will be dismissed, and the defendant is off the hook.

Do Victims Have a Say? 

Sometimes victims change their minds about pressing charges after the fact. But the final decision is the prosecutor’s, and they may keep pushing if they believe it’s in the interest of public safety. However, it can be tough to win a case if the victim is uncooperative.  That’s because if a victim fails to assist the prosecutor, it can obliterate the prosecution’s case, resulting in dropped charges after all, despite the prosecutor’s best efforts. This happens in cases of domestic violence, for example, when victims choose not to testify against their abusers.

When Prosecutors/Judges Choose to Drop or Dismiss Cases 

So what, specifically, might lead to a case being dropped or dismissed? To be sure, a case could come back to haunt a defendant later down the road, but, there really are times when a case takes a U-turn and the original respondent is no longer a suspect. Conditions that could lead to this kind of exoneration include:

  • The evidence at hand simply doesn’t support the possibility of getting guilty verdict;
  • Evidence might have been lost, mismanaged, or is otherwise inadmissible;
  • New evidence flies in the face of the original theory of the crime;
  • A victim could request to drop the case and no longer cooperate with the prosecution;
  • The Constitutional rights of the plaintiff were violated;
  • An acceptable plea deal is reached.

Fighting for You 

The experienced LaPlata & Waldorf criminal defense lawyers at The Law Office of Hammad S. Matin, P.A. always fight for the best possible outcomes for our clients.  More often than you’d guess, we can settle matters before the case ever makes it to trial.  To discuss your situation, schedule a confidential consultation today.



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