December 7, 2023 | Criminal Defense
Being charged with a crime in Lexington can be frightening. The best way to protect your legal rights and mount a vigorous defense is with the help of an experienced Lexington criminal defense attorney. A crucial step in the defense process is developing a strategy to attempt to have your criminal charges dropped.
What Does Dropping Criminal Charges Mean in Lexington, KY?
Dropping criminal charges refers to the prosecution withdrawing or dismissing the criminal allegations. It ends the criminal case without a conviction. The prosecutor decides whether to drop criminal charges or proceed with the case.
Dropping charges is different from a court dismissing charges. Judges may dismiss criminal charges following a preliminary hearing because there is a lack of evidence against the defendant. In both situations, the criminal charges are dropped and the case ends, but the distinction lies with who is responsible for dropping the charges.
A prosecutor can dismiss or drop criminal charges at any point before a verdict is entered. When a judge dismisses a case, the prosecution has no say in the matter. A judge can dismiss criminal charges even though the prosecutor vehemently argues that the case should proceed.
Reasons Why a Prosecutor Might Drop Criminal Charges
A prosecutor may drop the criminal charges against you for many reasons. Your Lexington criminal defense lawyer will use the evidence in your case to develop an argument to present to the prosecutor that supports dropping criminal charges.
Reasons why the prosecutor may decide to drop your charges include:
Violations of Constitutional Rights
If a law enforcement officer violates a person’s civil rights, all evidence collected as a result of the violation is inadmissible in court. For example, the police discover drugs during an illegal search and seizure. The drugs must be excluded from the evidence at trial.
When evidence is excluded from use at trial, the prosecutor might have no choice but to drop the criminal charges.
Lack of Victim Cooperation
A victim has no say in whether criminal charges are filed against the defendant. However, if a victim is uncooperative, it could make obtaining a conviction more challenging. Unless the prosecution has other evidence proving guilt, the prosecutor might decide to drop the charges.
Reluctance of Witnesses
The prosecution may subpoena witnesses to testify in court. The testimony may be crucial for obtaining a conviction.
If a witness is unwilling or unable to testify, it could weaken the case. Depending on the other evidence in the case, the prosecutor might move forward or drop the criminal charges.
If new evidence surfaces that would generate significant doubt about a defendant’s guilt, the Indiana Rules of Evidence require the prosecutor to provide the evidence to the defendant. The prosecutor might decide that the evidence would be sufficient for the jury to rule in favor of the defendant, so the prosecutor drops the charges.
Your Lexington criminal defense lawyer may negotiate a plea deal that includes the prosecutor dropping serious felonies to misdemeanor charges. Charge reductions can significantly impact the sentencing for a guilty plea.
Discretion is the authority of a judge or public official to act on their own judgment and within general legal principles. Prosecutors analyze the facts and evidence of the case. They consider the quality of the evidence, the public interest, and other matters relevant to taking a criminal case to court.
If the prosecutor believes the facts support dropping criminal charges in Lexington, they have the authority to drop charges under prosecutorial discretion. The decision to drop criminal charges may involve a complex analysis that weighs the pros and cons of going to trial against serving the public interest.
Victims in Criminal Cases Cannot Drop Charges Against the Defendant
Many people mistakenly believe that the victim can withdraw or drop criminal charges. A victim’s desires, concerns, and opinions may significantly influence a prosecutor’s decision to drop charges. Victims cannot stop the prosecutor from proceeding with a criminal case.
However, a victim may decide not to cooperate with the prosecution in a criminal case. For example, they may refuse to show up to testify or take the stand and refuse to answer questions. The court can hold a victim in contempt if they refuse to testify or appear in court when ordered to do so.
Many judges and prosecutors are hesitant to force victims to testify if they do not want to victimize someone again. Holding a victim in contempt and forcing them to testify is usually reserved for serious criminal charges.
Seek Legal Advice About Criminal Charges in Lexington, Kentucky
Being charged with a crime can have serious consequences. It is unwise to represent yourself in criminal court. The prosecutor is a trained, experienced attorney.
You can protect your rights by consulting a Lexington criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible after an arrest. It is also wise to contact a lawyer if you become aware that a law enforcement agency is investigating you.
Contact the Lexington Criminal Defense Attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Lexington
333 West Vine Street #212
Lexington, KY 40507