Types of Dismissed Cases: When Can Prosecutors Throw Out Your Case?

Although an attorney cannot ethically guarantee that a criminal case will be dismissed, there are circumstances when dismissal is a realistic possibility. In most cases, only a prosecutor has the legal authority to dismiss a criminal charge. Among the factors that may influence a prosecutor’s decision are the quality and availability of witnesses, the reliability of evidence, possible defense strategies and any extenuating circumstances surrounding the accused. The role of a criminal defense attorney is to investigate the available evidence and discover additional evidence that undermines the prosecution’s case.

Straight Dismissal

Sometimes it turns out that the evidence in a criminal case was acquired by violating the legal rights of the accused. If a defense lawyer can demonstrate that law enforcement officials failed to follow proper legal procedures, that evidence is inadmissible in a court of law. The realization that certain evidence is inadmissible, insufficient or contrary to the state’s case can result in an outright dismissal by the prosecution.

Grand Jury Case Dismissals

A criminal defense attorney is often able to convince a prosecutor that a felony crimes case is without merit at the grand jury level. This may result in dismissal of the case by the prosecutor or the handing down of a no bill by the jurors. This is only possible in felony cases and when a defendant retains a defense attorney prior to criminal charges being filed.

Deferred Prosecution Dismissal

Plea bargain agreements often include a pre-trial diversion called a deferred prosecution dismissal. For the most part, deferred prosecution dismissals are only available to individuals with no previous criminal record. The prosecution agrees to dismiss the case in exchange for a signed confession and other obligations.

The defendant may agree to participate in community service or a counseling program for example. If the defendant fails to honor the deferred prosecution agreement, the state can still file criminal charges and use the confession as evidence in the case.

Additional Types of Dismissal

Deferred disposition dismissal is a pre-trial diversion program for class C misdemeanor defendants. It is similar to the deferred prosecution program and is usually available as part of a plea bargain.

Charge reduction dismissal is a kind of plea agreement that allows a defendant to plead “no contest” or “guilty” to a lesser offense in exchange for dismissal of the original charge.

Deferred adjudication is a form of probation in Texas. It is neither a dismissal nor a final conviction. The defendant may be eligible to file a non-disclosure petition upon successful completion of a probation commitment.

Judicial clemency authorizes a judge to dismiss a criminal charge once the defendant has been discharged from a straight probation program. The defendant will not be eligible to file for expunction.

If you would like to find out how you can get your criminal case dismissed, reach out to The Law Office of Matthew D. Sharp at 713-868-6100.