October 6, 2023 | Criminal Defense
Navigating the criminal justice process can be complex in Dayton, OH. An important aspect of this procedure is understanding the concept of “dropping charges.” This term refers to discontinuing or dismissing criminal accusations against an individual, which significantly alters the progression and outcome of a case.
How Do Criminal Charges Get Dropped?
The process of getting charges dropped depends heavily on the specifics of each case. The following are some of the most common reasons charges would be dropped in a criminal matter:
Unreliable Witnesses or Loss of Critical Witnesses
Witness testimony often plays a critical role in prosecution cases. If witnesses are deemed unreliable, change their stories, or cannot be located to testify at trial, this could cast doubt on the case’s strength and potentially lead to a defendant having their charges dropped.
If a prosecutor knows they can’t prove their case without these witnesses, they may decide not to go forward.
Lack of Evidence or Insufficient Evidence to Prove Guilt
To proceed with a criminal case, the prosecution needs strong evidence to demonstrate beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused committed the offense. If they lack clear evidence or if what they have is insufficient for conviction, charges may be dropped if the prosecutor doesn’t believe there’s any chance they will get a conviction
Exculpatory Evidence Showing the Accused Might Be Innocent
When there’s evidence pointing towards the innocence of an accused individual — known as exculpatory evidence — it calls guilt into question. In such circumstances where proof supports innocence rather than guilt, it may result in the charges being dropped.
Legal proceedings require strict adherence to established rules and protocols. Should authorities fail to follow proper procedures during the investigation or prosecution – for instance, by violating search and seizure laws or neglecting to read you your Miranda rights – it may lead to a motion to suppress. This can result in charges being dropped due to compromised legality of evidence.
Additionally, if a prosecutor knows the police officers on the case didn’t follow proper procedure, they may drop the charges before even litigating a motion to suppress if they know they can’t win.
Working with an experienced defense attorney will increase your chances of having charges dropped if you’re facing legal proceedings.
Misconceptions About Dropping Criminal Charges
A common misconception when it comes to criminal cases is that the victim has unilateral authority to drop charges. This belief paints an unrealistic picture of how control over legal proceedings functions.
In reality, once a crime is reported and filed and prosecution begins, the state takes over. The alleged victim has a large role in the proceedings, but they don’t actually make any decisions about criminal proceedings.
Therefore, decisions about whether or not to proceed with a case — including if charges will be dropped — are largely under the control of the prosecuting attorney rather than at the discretion of the alleged victims themselves.
Having Charges Dropped is Different Than an Acquittal
Charges being dropped and a person being acquitted are both favorable outcomes in legal proceedings, but they differ significantly.
When charges are dropped, it means that the prosecution has decided not to go forward with their case against you.
On the other hand, an acquittal happens at a later stage of the judicial procedure. If your case goes all the way to trial and ends in your favor – meaning that either the judge (in bench trials) or jury declares you not guilty – then you have been acquitted.
The Importance of Legal Representation When Facing Criminal Charges in Dayton, Ohio
An attorney plays a pivotal role in advocating for the accused person. Here’s how they can help:
Review Evidence and Present Arguments
A lawyer will review all details surrounding your case and present any favorable evidence or argument to challenge the prosecutor’s case, with the aim of getting charges dropped or reduced.
Protect Your Rights
Legal counsel also has a crucial duty to preserve your rights throughout this process. They’ll ensure that law enforcement follows proper procedures and protect you from self-incrimination.
Negotiate With the Prosecutor
Your attorney may also negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf. They can discuss reducing charges or penalties based on mitigating evidence and circumstances surrounding your case. For example, your attorney may be able to have your felony charges reduced to misdemeanors.
Contact a Dayton Criminal Defense Attorney If You’ve Been Accused of Harassment
Ohio law takes harassment charges very seriously, but being charged does not automatically mean you will be found guilty. Every defendant has a right to defend themselves against accusations made in court, and the best way to do this is with the help of an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
If you need help with a harassment charge, don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney.
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Dayton
130 West Second Street #17-129
Dayton, OH 45402