Can I Have My Case Dismissed?
There are several ways that our Tacoma Criminal Defense Lawyers can work to get your case dismissed. These include:
Lack of probable cause: If the police did not have a valid reason to stop, detain or arrest the defendant, the case may be dismissed. This could occur if the police did not have probable cause to believe that the defendant committed a crime.
Insufficient evidence: If the prosecution does not have enough evidence to prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, the case may be dismissed. This could occur if key witnesses are not available to testify or if physical evidence is missing or inconclusive.
Violation of defendant's constitutional rights: If the police or prosecution violate the defendant's constitutional rights during the investigation or trial, the case may be dismissed. This could include violations of the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures, or the Fifth Amendment, which protects against self-incrimination.
Speedy trial violations: If the prosecution does not bring the defendant to trial within a reasonable amount of time, the case may be dismissed. The time frame for a speedy trial varies depending on the circumstances of the case. It is generally considered a violation of your constitutional speedy trial, closer nine months to a year, rather than a violation of the speedy trial rule which is 60-90 days, that results in a dismissal.
Plea bargaining: A case may be dismissed or reduced in severity if the defendant agrees to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a reduced sentence.
Pretrial diversion: In certain cases, the prosecution may agree to place the defendant in a diversion program instead of going to trial. This may include programs such as drug or alcohol treatment, community service, or anger management. If the defendant successfully completes the program, the charges may be dismissed.
Knapstad Motion: A motion to dismiss under State v. Knapstad can be brought when the charging document, such as an indictment or information, does not allege facts that constitute a crime. For example, if the charging document alleges a crime that is not recognized by Washington State law or if the charging document does not include all of the elements of the crime, the charge may be dismissed. The prosecution then has to prove that the charging document is sufficient, meaning that it includes all the essential elements of the crime and the defendant's conduct is considered illegal under the state law.
If the court finds that the charging document is defective, it may dismiss the charge or order that the charging document be amended. However, if the court finds that the charging document is sufficient, the case will proceed.
It's important to note that dismissing a case is generally up to the discretion of the prosecutor, and there is no guaranteed way to get a case dismissed. It's also important to have a lawyer to navigate the legal process and advocate for your rights and best interests.
It's also important to note that even if a case is dismissed, it does not necessarily mean that the arrest or charge will be expunged or sealed from a person's record, and it could still affect a person's background check for employment or housing.
In conclusion, there are several ways that a criminal case can be dismissed in Washington State, including lack of probable cause, insufficient evidence, violation of defendant's constitutional rights, speedy trial violations, plea bargaining and pretrial diversion. However, each case is unique and it's important to have a lawyer to help navigate the legal process and advocate for your rights and best interests.