Being arrested and charged with a criminal offense is typically a frightening experience, particularly if you have never been in trouble with the law before. If you are convinced you did not break the law, your first thought may be “How do I get my charges dropped?” Contrary to what be often see portrayed in movies and television shows, however, getting your charges dropped is not nearly as simple as it is often portrayed. At better understanding of how the criminal justice system really works may help illustrate this point.
When you are arrested the arresting officer has to write up a report that should include the facts and circumstances that led up to your arrest. Although the officer may tell you what charges you are being arrested on, those are only preliminary charges. A police officer does not actually have the authority to decide what charges will be filed against you. That authority lies with the prosecuting attorney. After the police report is filed, a deputy prosecuting attorney will typically review the report and decide what offenses, if any, it appears the defendant committed. Only then will official charges be filed against you. Therefore, the first opportunity you have to get your charges dropped will be before official charges are even filed. You, however, will have no influence on what charges are filed or dropped at this point.
Your next stop will be at your arraignment, or initial hearing. Here, the prosecuting attorney must convince the judge that probably cause existed or your arrest. If the prosecutor fails, your attorney will likely move to dismiss the charges against you. If, however you make it past that point, it becomes clear that you will be prosecuted.
At that point, there are typically only two routes to having charges dismissed. One is pursuant to a plea agreement. Often, if a defendant agrees to plead guilty to one or more charges the prosecuting attorney will agree to dismiss other charges. The only other way to get charges actually dismissed is for the prosecuting attorney to become convinced that there is not enough evidence to convict you on the charges. This is why having an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney on your side is so important. Going to trial and being acquitted is certainly a victory; however, getting your charges dismissed without the need to go to trial is an even better victory!
If you have been charged with a criminal offense 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.
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