Criminal lawyers are often asked a simple question that has a complex answer: what are the best ways to have a criminal case dismissed?
Here are the best five ways to achieve a dismissal of criminal charges in Florida:
1. Persuading prosecutors not to file charges.
2. Persuading the Judge that the charges are insufficient legally.
3 Persuading the Judge that essential evidence should be suppressed.
4. Completing the Pretrial Intervention Program or successfully completing specific crime programs such as those run for Drug Intervention or Domestic Violence.
5. Persuading a Jury in trial that the Defendant is Not Guilty.
In Tampa Bay, Florida effective defense lawyers will first do everything possible to persuade prosecutors not to file a criminal case even when there’s been an arrest. Since prosecutors will later have to either try the case or persuade the Defendant to plead guilty, it’s vitally important for the defense to initiate an effective early initial conversation with prosecutors and their supervisors to secure a decision not to file the case by establishing problems with evidence, witnesses or legal reasoning.
Second, a Motion to Dismiss the case should be granted by the Judge in a case where it can be established that the undisputed facts do not constitute a crime. If the prosecutor believes that the facts support the filed charge, a traverse can be filed which will block the Motion to Dismiss. The Judge may set a hearing to determine what the essential facts actual are to ascertain whether the facts should lead to the case being dismissed. It’s also possible for cases to be dismissed for other procedural reasons such as far too much time between the time of indictment and arrest.
Third, a Motion to Suppress evidence may be filed to literally throw out or suppress unlawfully obtained or seized evidence which may result in the dismissal of the charges if the prosecution finds it can no longer successfully move forward with the case. For example, if a search was conducted without permission and without probable cause the Judge may suppress evidence. Though Motions to Suppress are rarely granted, it is often devastating to the prosecution when they are. Further, the mere filing of the Motion may bring benefits by prompting further factual discovery and divergent witness testimony.
Fourth, a defendant with no criminal record charged with a nonviolent crime may under certain conditions to enter a Pretrial Intervention Program upon the completion of which the case will be dismissed. The program entails a period of something similar to probation for six months to a year depending on whether the charge was a misdemeanor or felony. Although in Florida this program is under the supervision of the States Attorney’s Office, the prosecutors will ask the presiding Judge to dismiss criminal charges against those who successfully complete the program. There are also similar special programs for select crimes such as drug crimes or domestic battery charges as well.
Finally, to end a criminal case with success when all other options are unavailable, a Clearwater criminal defense attorney must be capable of establishing to a jury that no crime was committed by being willing to go to trial.