What Happens If Charges Are Dropped Before Trial?
If you are charged with a crime in California, you will face legal action from the state. However, not all hope is lost because charges in both misdemeanor and felony cases may be dropped. Only the prosecution side may decide to drop the charges, and the charges may be dropped before or after the prosecution files your case. To find out whether the charges against you have been dropped, contact your criminal defense lawyer or the court.
When the Prosecution Drops Charges
The prosecution may drop a charge for any number of reasons. For example, you may have a defense to the charge, or there may not be enough evidence to secure a guilty plea or verdict. Furthermore, new evidence may clear you of the charge, or evidence may have been obtained improperly and therefore cannot be used by the prosecution. This may occur through warrantless searches and seizures, which violate Fourth Amendment protections. In addition, charges may be dropped through a deal or plea bargain with the prosecution. For example, you may be provided the option of assisting the government in solving other crimes. You may also serve as a witness in other criminal cases.
If the prosecution drops charges against you, this means that the prosecution will not pursue the allegations against you, and the case will not go to trial. Additionally, you will not face penalties for the alleged offense and are no longer required to meet court dates for the dropped charge. If you are in custody, you will be released when the charge is dropped.
When the Alleged Victim Drops Charges
Charges may also be dropped if the victim of the alleged charge refuses to participate in the case. Victims may drop charges for several reasons, including if they fear the accused, they wish to maintain a relationship with the accused, or they determine that the wrong person was identified. However, victims may not retract their statements of blame or substantially alter their story. Victims that do so may be charged with submitting a false police complaint.
If the prosecution determines that you threatened or pressured the complainant to drop the charge, new charges may be filed against you. As such, it is important not to engage in any actions that may make you look guilty. Charges may also be reinstated in the future. This often occurs when the court believes the prosecution will be able to gather more evidence. If your charges are reinstated, the prosecution will refile the case. Accordingly, the case will begin once again.
Dropped vs. Dismissed Charge
A dropped charge is slightly different from a dismissed charge. Both will stop the government from pursuing a criminal case against you for the charge. However, a dropped charge pertains to a prosecutor deciding to stop the case, while a dismissed charge pertains to a judge deciding to stop the case. Judges will dismiss charges only after it has been filed. If a judge dismisses the charge with prejudice, the prosecution cannot reinstate the charge on the same claims and facts. If a judge dismisses the charge without prejudice, the prosecution can reinstate the charge on the same claims and facts.
Contact Wallin & Klarich Today
If you do not want to go through a burdensome trial, contact our attorneys to see if we can help you get your charges dropped before court. With 40+ years of experience, our attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have helped thousands of clients clear their names and get their cases dismissed before trial. We understand that criminal allegations carry great financial and emotional stress, but we will do everything in our power to help you achieve the best possible results so that you never need to worry.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Torrance, West Covina, Los Angeles, and San Diego, you are sure to find an available and convenient attorney near you. Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.