Facing criminal charges can be devastating. If convicted, you fear the penalties, are worried about what your future might hold and are unsure of how to get yourself out of this mess. A Columbus criminal defense attorney may be able to have your charges dismissed.
At Luftman, Heck & Associates, our Columbus defense lawyers have helped many clients get their criminal charges dismissed, reduced, and proven innocent. Here are the top five ways in which your attorney may be able to accomplish this goal for you.
1. Lack of Probable Cause
Police must have probable cause to believe that you committed a crime and make a lawful arrest. Probable cause must be more than a suspicious feeling about you. Police need objective facts to reach a reasonable assumption of your criminal involvement.
For example, let’s say there was a hit-and-run accident on Morse Road. A witness to the accident describes a red four-door sedan. If you drive a car that matches this description, police would have probable cause to believe your vehicle was involved in the hit-and-run.
However, if you drive a black sports car and are stopped and arrested for the hit-and-run, there would be no probable cause to arrest. In this example, a criminal defense attorney could help you get the charges dismissed.
2. Lack of Evidence
If you have been arrested, the prosecutor will need to show evidence that supports your guilt. All charges against you are pending until the prosecutor convinces a grand jury – or a judge – that there is evidence to establish probable cause that you committed the crime in question. If the grand jury or judge deems the evidence does not support probable cause, the charges could be dismissed.
3. Illegal Search
Police only have the right to search you, your car, or your residence under particular conditions. They must have a reasonable belief that you committed a crime. They do not have the right to search you because of your race, gender, religion, or because they have suspicions that you have committed a crime.
Law enforcement officers with probable cause may ask a judge to issue a search warrant. There are rare circumstances that allow police to search your home without a warrant. Any evidence obtained during an illegal search may be enough to have your charges dismissed.
4. Discretion of the Prosecutor
You might be surprised to learn that prosecuting attorneys have the authority to dismiss certain charges. An Ohio criminal defense attorney might convince the prosecutor to dismiss the charges against you.
Prosecutors are more inclined to dismiss charges if:
- Charges are minor
- You have a clean criminal record
If you are arrested within one year or are charged criminally during this time, the prosecutor can then refile your original charges. The prosecutor may also elect to dismiss your case at the victim’s request if testifying would be too traumatic.
5. Lack of Jurisdiction
There are certain situations in which the state’s prosecutor may not have the right to hear your case, including federal prosecutors who lack the jurisdiction to do so. Federal and state courts are different. If your case is heard in a court without proper jurisdiction, your charges could be dismissed or your conviction overturned.
Your criminal defense attorney will analyze the details of your case to determine whether lack of jurisdiction is relevant in your case.
Difference Between Dismissed & Dropped Charges
While both dismissed or dropped charges are desirable, there is a distinction.
Charges can be dropped at any point by the prosecutor or an arresting officer after you are arrested. Dropped charges usually indicate that the prosecution does not feel they can get a guilty verdict. Should the prosecutor file charges but a judge determines insufficient evidence at the preliminary hearing, the judge may dismiss the charges.
Judges cannot drop charges, but they can dismiss them.
Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Columbus
You don’t have to spend your days terrified of what your future might hold. Your Columbus criminal defense lawyer at Luftman, Heck & Associates, may be able to get your charges dismissed or reduced. Let us take a closer look at what our premier legal defenders could do for your case.