What it Really Means When Your Criminal Case is Dismissed
Having your case dismissed is a great relief. But does this mean you are completely out of the woods? That this frightening and stressful situation is completely over? Unfortunately, the answer is no. Although a case dismissal can mean that law enforcement and prosecutors will never revisit the possibility of charging you with a crime, it is also still possible for them to re-open the case.
If you would like more information about your case dismissal or what it could mean for you long-term, we recommend speaking with a Houston criminal defense attorney. At Maverick Ray & Associates, we are dedicated to offering sound legal advice to all of our clients. We will review your case and offer expert insight into what you can expect in the future. Contact us online or call (281) 672-8029 to speak with one of our criminal defense lawyers for FREE.
When Are Criminal Cases Dismissed?
When a prosecutor feels their case just isn’t strong enough or when they learn evidence was illegally obtained or is inadmissible in court, they can choose to drop the case against you. In other words, if they don’t believe they have a strong enough case or the facts or circumstances surrounding the alleged wrongdoing don’t warrant proceeding with legal action, they will dismiss your case.
Judges can also dismiss your case and will do so if they find there is no legal basis for the charges against you. They will also dismiss your case if they feel your rights have in any way been violated or if the prosecution fails to prove its case effectively.
Who Can Dismiss a Case?
Judges and prosecutors are the only parties who can dismiss a case. Prosecutors are the ones who file the initial charges; therefore, it is within their right to dismiss the charges they initially brought against you.
Judges can dismiss your case either on their own motion or on the motion brought by you, the defendant. Most cases, however, are dismissed by the district attorney.
Circumstances That Can Lead to a Case Dismissal
Prosecutors and judges dismiss cases for many reasons. An experienced criminal defense lawyer in Houston can review the charges against you and identify legitimate grounds for a charge dismissal. Grounds for dismissal include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Expired statute of limitations
- Your right to a speedy trial was violated
- A witness has become uncooperative
- The alleged victim recants their statement.
- Evidence, such as DNA test results, reveals new information.
- There was a violation of the double jeopardy clause
- Misconduct on the part of the prosecution
What Happens After Your Case Is Dismissed?
If your case is dismissed, it means it was closed without finding guilt. This means you were not convicted of any crime. However, a case dismissal does not mean you were found innocent or that the charges against you are “erased.” The charges will remain on your criminal record unless you take action to have them removed.
Can Criminal Cases Be Re-opened?
Maybe. If the D.A. dismisses your case “without prejudice,” they have the right to refile charges against you - as long as the statute of limitations has not expired. So, if they find additional evidence against you or other circumstances arise that make them feel charges are warranted and a conviction is likely, they can reopen the case and refile charges.
However, if the prosecution dismisses the case “with prejudice,” the case is permanently closed, and no charges can ever be refiled.
What to Do After Your Case is Dismissed
If you were fortunate enough to have your criminal case dismissed, you should speak with your defense attorney to see whether you can have the charges expunged or “erased” from your criminal record. In many cases, Texas law allows you to remove the charges from your record, making it easier to gain employment, rent a home, and apply for credit.
Contact Maverick Ray & Associates Today
There is nothing better than hearing a judge say the words, “Case dismissed.” Having your charges dropped is definitely a best-case scenario. And the chances of having your case dismissed are significantly more likely with the help of a knowledgeable Houston criminal defense attorney.
If you need a strong defense against criminal charges, Maverick Ray & Associates can help. Our exceptional team of Houston criminal defense lawyers is here to vehemently protect your rights and identify loopholes and develop strategies to get the case against you dismissed. So, when you need skilled legal representation, turn to an experienced and aggressive criminal defense law firm. Contact us online or call (281) 672-8029 to schedule a FREE consultation and take the first step toward protecting your rights and freedom.