If you are currently facing criminal charges in the State of Nebraska, the best outcome you could possibly hope for is for all of the charges to be dismissed, meaning you walk away without a conviction and with a clean record. With that in mind, one of the first questions you will likely have for a potential attorney is “Can a criminal attorney get my charges dismissed?” While it is understandable that you would ask the question, the answer is not simple. An attorney cannot guarantee you results. Furthermore, every case involves a unique set of facts and circumstances, meaning that an attorney must review and analyze those facts and circumstances before even offering an opinion on the outcome of your case. Nonetheless, it may be helpful to learn more about the steps involved in a criminal prosecution and what would have to occur for a criminal attorney to get your charges dismissed.
The Players in a Prosecution – Who Does What?
Understanding the steps involved in a criminal case begins with understanding who the players are and who does what. A criminal prosecution can begin under a wide range of circumstances. A victim might file a complaint. A crime might be committed and law enforcement agencies conduct an investigation that leads to a suspect or a criminal offense might be committed in the presence of a law enforcement officer (think DUI or shoplifting). Regardless of how it begins, the first substantial step occurs when a law enforcement officer makes an arrest. Contrary to what many people believe, the police officer does not decide what charges to file against the person under arrest. Instead, the officer files a report and books the suspect under preliminary charges. It is an assistant prosecuting attorney who actually decides what charges to file based on the report issued by the police. If a victim is involved, the prosecuting attorney will typically make several attempts to communicate with the alleged victim as well, just to find out what the victim’s position is and whether he/she will cooperate. People are frequently under the misconception that a victim has the authority to “drop the charges.” Because the State of Nebraska is prosecuting a defendant, however, only the State (through the prosecutor) can dismiss the charges.
How Might a Criminal Attorney Get My Charges Dropped?
The primary objective of any criminal attorney is to avoid a conviction. There are several different ways in which that objective can be attained. Obviously, having the charges in a case dismissed would be the best possible way to achieve that objective. For that to happen, one of several things must occur, including:
- Technicalities – everyone involved in the criminal justice system are, at the end of the day, human beings. As such, they are not infallible. Police officers make mistakes when investigating a crime and/or arresting a suspect. Judges make mistakes when signing warrants. Even prosecutors make mistakes when handling a case. Sometimes, a mistake on the part of someone on the side of the prosecution is cause for a dismissal once your criminal attorney points it out.
- Lack of evidence – ideally, a prosecutor will not charge someone without being certain that sufficient evidence exists for a conviction. It does occur though when an overzealous prosecutor files charges without dully reviewing the case. It can also occur as a result of dwindling evidence caused by a defense attorney challenging the evidence.
- Uncooperative witness – when a case involves a victim, such as a domestic violence case, sexual assault, or even some types of theft, the State typically needs the victim’s testimony in order to secure a conviction. If the witness is uncooperative, the State is often left with no choice but to dismiss the charges against the defendant.
- Plea bargain – a plea bargain will not result in the dismissal of all charges; however, a criminal attorney may be able to negotiate the dismissal of some charges in exchange for a plea of guilty to other charges.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense in the State of Nebraska it is certainly in your best interest to consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal attorney right away. In Nebraska contact Petersen Criminal Defense Law 24 hours a day at 402-509-8070 to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.