If you are currently facing criminal charges in Nebraska and you have never been through the criminal justice system before you are undoubtedly concerned the outcome of your case. As such, you likely have a number of questions about your case specifically and the process in general. One of the most frequently asked questions by defendants in a criminal prosecution is “Will my criminal case be dismissed in Nebraska?” Because of the individual nature of a criminal prosecution the best way to find out how likely it is that your specific case will be dismissed is to consult with an experienced Nebraska criminal defense attorney. In the meantime, however, it may help to know what the factors are that generally determine if a criminal case is dismissed.
If this is your first arrest, it helps to understand exactly how and when charges are formally filed against you. Contrary to what many people believe, the police do not decide what charges to file against you. When a police officer makes an arrest the suspect is arrested and booked under preliminary charges only. The police officer then files a written report with the prosecuting attorney’s office. The prosecuting attorney will review the report and conduct any additional investigation deemed necessary before deciding what charges, if any, to file against the suspect. Therefore, your first opportunity to have your case “dismissed” actually occurs before you are formally charged. Once charges have officially been filed against you, however, there are only limited reasons why they would be dismissed from that point forward, the most common of which include:
- Lack of evidence – the report filed by the arresting office typically provide only a “snapshot” of the alleged case against you. As the case against you progresses it may become apparent that the evidence against you is not sufficient to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and the prosecuting attorney may be forced to dismiss the charges.
- Victim cooperation – this actually falls under the “lack of evidence” category; however, because it is a specific type of evidence that frequently amounts to a dismissal it is worth mentioning separately. When a victim’s testimony is crucial to the prosecution, and the victim recants or refuses to implicate a defendant, the prosecution may be left with no case. Take note, however, that sometimes the prosecuting attorney will move forward even when a victim is uncooperative, depending on what evidence exists apart from the victim’s testimony.
- Plea agreement – if your attorney negotiates a plea agreement on your behalf the agreement may call for some of the charges against you to be dismissed in return for your plea of guilty on one or more of the charges.
- Technical reasons – sometimes, a mistake in procedure is made or another technical reason causes the prosecuting attorney to have to dismiss a case. For example, if you made a speedy trial request and the time within which to prosecute has elapsed without a trial, the charges may be dismissed.
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.