Felony charges are serious, and defendants may face devastating consequences for a conviction. This makes dismissal a very attractive possibility for anyone accused of a felony. A dismissal can keep a defendant out of jail and prevent any further prosecution of the case.
In a criminal case, a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. This means that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. If the prosecution does not meet this standard, the defendant may make a motion for a dismissal of the charges.
When a defendant moves for dismissal, he is arguing that the prosecution has not shown any of the proof necessary to find him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This means that no reasonable jury would find him guilty. This motion will be decided on by the judge. If the judge agrees, the case will be dismissed, meaning that it will not proceed any further. The felony charges no longer threaten the defendant.
In the United States, a person cannot be tried twice for the same crime. This is known as the protection against double jeopardy. If a case is dismissed, the prosecution cannot try it again even if it finds better proof or makes stronger arguments. The dismissal is just as binding as a jury verdict for acquittal would be. A dismissal protects the defendant against any further prosecution on those felony charges. However, prosecutors may still file different charges arising out of the same incident.
After a dismissal, a defendant in a felony case may still suffer long-term consequences. While she has not been found guilty of the felony, the fact that she was ever charged may still show up on background checks in the future. Also, a defendant may still owe lawyers' fees or court costs. In some cases of egregious misconduct, defendants may sue the prosecutor's office for costs and to clear their names.
- Photo Credit NA/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
What Is the Meaning of "Dismissed With Prejudice"?
When a legal case is "dismissed with prejudice" in the United States, it means that the same case cannot be refiled again...
How to Get Charges Dismissed in a Criminal Case
If you ever find yourself facing criminal charges, whether an infraction, misdemeanor or felony, the best possible outcome would be to get...
Difference Between Withheld Judgment & Dismissed
Definition: Withheld Judgment. ... Because charges are often dismissed for reasons other than innocence, a dismissal will remain on a person's record...
How to Expunge a Felony Record in Kentucky
... of the charges or the charges are dismissed. Felony convictions, including juvenile convictions that could have been charged as a felony...
What Happens When a Case Has Been Dismissed?
What Is the Meaning of "Dismissed With Prejudice"? ... How to File for Continuance If the Charges Are Not Dismissed; How to...
How Will a Misdemeanor Show Up in a Background Check?
... background checks sometimes turn up dismissed charges and misdemeanor convictions that people thought had been expunged from records by a court,...
What Happens at a Judgment Pretrial Conference?
What Happens at a Judgment Pretrial Conference?. ... requests for the dismissal of the case and requests to exclude potential ... How...
How to Get Dismissed on an Arraignment Day
When you are taken before a judge after being arrested, ... You can get your case dismissed on an arraignment day and...
What Happens at a Felony Arraignment?
What Happens to a Felony Charge on a Dismissed Case? Felony charges are serious, ... What Does DEA Mean on an Arraignment...