CAN YOUR CRIMINAL CHARGES BE DISMISSED OR DROPPED?
Being found NOT GUILTY of a misdemeanor or a felony in Michigan is great! Having the charges dropped or dismissed is PHENOMENAL! When charges are dropped or dismissed you save time and litigation costs, as well as, stress, aggravation and worry.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN A CASE IS DISMISSED OR DROPPED?
When charges are dropped it 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.
In some ways they are the same, since each results in a defendant going free. But charges can be dismissed only after such charges have been filed. A charge can be dropped before or after a charge has been filed.
WHAT ARE GROUNDS FOR DROPPED OR DISMISSED CHARGES IN MICHIGAN?
The first task for a defense attorney in a criminal case is to determine whether there are any grounds on which the charges can be dropped or dismissed. Some grounds for dismissal include:
Illegal stops and searches
Americans are protected from illegal stops, searches, and seizures based on the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. If evidence is gathered without a warrant or special circumstances, then the evidence gathered can be excluded from the case against the defendant. Law enforcement can only search your person, your car, or your home if an officer has a search warrant. Additionally, law enforcement can only make a traffic stop for specific reasons such as probable cause or reasonable belief that the individual may have committed a crime.
EXAMPLE: Illegal Stop and Search
No probable cause for the arrest
A police officer pulls over a vehicle for a traffic stop and searches the vehicle without a warrant and without consent from the driver. The officer finds drugs and the driver is charged with drug possession. If the defense can show that the search that uncovered the drugs was illegal, the drugs cannot be included in evidence and the entire case will fall apart, resulting the charges being dismissed.
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.
EXAMPLE: No probable cause for the arrest
Unavailable Witness or Lost Evidence
If a witnesstells police that the robber was wearing a black jacket with a yellow butterfly emblem on the sleeve, 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.
If key evidence is lost that is necessary to prove you committed the crime, the charges against you could be dismissed by the judge or voluntarily by the prosecutor. Also, if the police cannot show the proper chain of title—that the evidence was handled properly from the time the police took it as evidence until the trial—the evidence could be suppressed. If the evidence is critical to proving your guilt, the prosecutor may not have a case.
If a witness dies, is missing or refuses to testify on Fifth Amendment grounds (because his testimony may incriminate him, in that it shows that he also committed a crime), (and his testimony is critical to the charges against you) the judge could grant a motion to dismiss the charges or the prosecutor may have no choice but to dismiss the case because there is not enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Some cases also hinge on a witness being able to identify the defendant as the person who committed the crime. Without the identification, the other evidence might not be strong enough to get a conviction. If a witness realizes after first identifying the defendant that he or she is unsure and not able to to identify the defendant at trial, the prosecutor might decide that, without the witness identification, there is not enough evidence to win at trial and a dismissal is in order.
In some cases, the defense will challenge the procedure police used to obtain the witness' identification of the defendant by challenging the way the police conducted a line-up or raising other issues with the witness identification process. If the judge finds the police conducted a line-up or other identification process improperly, the judge may not allow the witness to identify the defendant at trial.
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 the complaint does not comport with state or local law because of a significant error or omission, the prosecutor cannot simply edit the document by hand and submit it to the court. The officer who wrote and signed the complaint, under oath, must make those changes. If the officer retires or leaves his job before the error is discovered or is unavailable for some other reason and no other officer was involved in the case, the prosecutor may have to dismiss the complaint.
Have you been charged with a crime and want to explore your options?
If you’ve been charged with a crime, it’s a good idea to contact a criminal defense attorney. An experienced attorney can evaluate the options for prosecutors to drop criminal charges.
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 discussions 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.
Attorney Carl Jordan’s Approach to Getting Charges Dismissed
Carl Jordan work persistently and diligently toward getting your charges dismissed if at all possible. He explores all the possible avenues for a dismissal. He gathers all the information regarding your arrest and the investigation by law enforcement agencies, including any search techniques, interrogation methods, relevant videotapes, exculpatory evidence, witness testimony, uncooperative witnesses, etc. He also considers the circumstances of the charges in your case, as well as your previous criminal history. Only then can he move foreward with options for dismissal of the charges you are facing.
Since dismissal of the charges against you can occur any time after the arrest and up until conviction, Carl Jordan never loses sight of that option throughout the proceedings. He will vigorously work to get the charges against you discharged.
About Carl Jordan
As an experienced criminal defense attorney, Carl Jordan has racked up an impressive number of cases where the charges were dismissed.
Click here to see a small sample of the cases where Attorney Jordan was successful in having his clients charges dismissed.
No matter how daunting the criminal charges against you may be, Carl Jordan can provide the aggressive and effective defense representation you need to secure the best possible outcome to the case. He is committed to protecting your rights and making sure your right to a fair trial is protected every step of the way. He scrutinizes the evidence against you for illegal evidence or procedural errors and then aggressively challenges the illegal evidence or errors. He investigates the facts of your case to uncover new evidence for your defense that could prove your innocence or cast reasonable doubt on your guilt.
He will stand beside you each step of the way, passionately advocating for your rights and protecting your future against the consequences of undeserved or unduly harsh punishment.