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Why Do the Courts Dismiss Criminal Cases?

Case dismissed

What is better than getting acquitted?  Not getting charged with a crime at all. Isn’t it too late for that if you are already sitting in the back of a police car with handcuffs on?  You would be surprised. Getting convicted of a crime is only the last in a long row of dominoes, and if even one of them is not in exactly the right position, then your case will end without a conviction. A not-guilty verdict at trial is only one of the other possible outcomes. In fact, the vast majority of criminal cases do not go to trial at all. You may have heard the scary statistic that more than 90 percent of pleas are guilty pleas, but this figure only counts the cases where the defendant enters a plea. It does not account for the many cases where the court dismisses the case. A Texas criminal defense lawyer will advocate for you to get a good outcome in your criminal case, perhaps including a dismissal of the charges.

Lack of Sufficient Evidence

One of the most common reasons for the court to dismiss a criminal case is insufficient evidence. For example, at a probable cause hearing, the judge might decide that the evidence on which the officer made the decision to arrest the defendant was not even sufficient for an arrest, much less for a conviction. In other cases, the evidence might exist, but it might not be available for the trial for one reason or another. For example, the evidence might be inadmissible in court, such as if the police found drugs in the defendant’s house, but they searched the house without a warrant. There is also insufficient evidence if a key witness refuses to cooperate with the investigation or testify at trial.

Formalities and Technicalities

The courts might also dismiss the case on a technicality, such as if the statute of limitations for filing charges has expired or there have been unnecessary delays in the case, thus violating the defendant’s right to a speedy trial. The court must also dismiss the case if proceeding with it would count as double jeopardy.

Prosecutorial Misconduct

Prosecutorial misconduct is when prosecutors break the rules. One example is when the prosecution finds a piece of evidence that you could use to establish reasonable doubt about your guilt but does not reveal this evidence to you and your criminal defense lawyer.

Just Because

The court might even drop the case when the above reasons don’t apply; this is called prosecutorial discretion. The cases most likely to be dropped due to prosecutorial discretion are misdemeanor cases. In other words, the court system only has enough resources to pursue so many cases, so it concentrates on the most serious crimes.

Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC About Criminal Defense Cases

Dallas criminal defense lawyer can help you persuade the court to drop the charges against you if there is a good reason to do so. Contact the Law Office of Patrick J. McLain, PLLC, in Dallas, Texas, to discuss your case.

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