No matter what you were arrested for, getting your criminal charges dismissed is probably the best-case scenario. This means being released without the time and expense of a trial.
Except in rare cases where the prosecutors or police admit to a mistake, cases don’t get dismissed on their own. It takes tenacity, careful examination of the details, and strong defense.
How To Get Criminal Charges Dismissed in Indiana
Getting charges dismissed in Indiana may prove more challenging than you thought. The state’s prosecutor is threatening harsh penalties if you are convicted. But here are five ways you could get your criminal charges dismissed after you’ve been arrested.
1. Lack of Evidence and Violations of Your Rights
Depending on the details, you may have several possibilities for the dismissal of your charges. The most common reason criminal charges are dismissed is based on a lack of evidence or a breach of your constitutional rights. These issues – often interrelated – need to be raised quickly to maximize your chances of success.
When it comes to evidence, a prosecutor must meet certain burdens. To secure your conviction, the prosecutor will need to present enough evidence to show beyond a reasonable doubt that you committed the crime. But prosecutors also need to meet a burden before the trial starts.
If they don’t have enough evidence to show probable cause to believe that you committed the crime, then going through the trial process is unnecessary. This often requires filing a motion to dismiss.
There are various reasons why a prosecutor can’t meet this initial burden. Sometimes, witnesses refuse to testify or become unreachable. Evidence can get lost, or a crime lab may not use samples collected at the crime scene.
One of the most common reasons prosecutors find themselves without enough evidence for a trial is that the defense successfully motioned to suppress.
2. Motions To Suppress Evidence in Indiana
A motion to suppress the evidence involves removing any evidence from the case that was obtained based on a breach of your constitutional rights. If the police questioned you without reading your Miranda rights, your lawyer could move to suppress your statements.
Similarly, if the police conducted an unlawful search of your person, car, home, or place of business, the results of that search may be removed from evidence.
Finally, if the police cannot articulate what gave them probable cause to arrest you in the first place, all evidence obtained because of the arrest may be suppressed.
3. Exclusion of Witnesses and Witness Depositions
When charged with a crime involving a victim, the state will often rely on witness statements obtained through depositions. Depositions are statements given by witnesses under oath that go over their version of events and answers regarding your case.
If the state cannot include witness depositions for whatever reason, whether it be because the witness failed to appear for their deposition or because the witness’s credibility was later called into question, the charges against you may be dropped.
4. Negotiating a Plea Agreement
Another way to get your charges dismissed is for your attorney to negotiate with the prosecutor to enter into a plea agreement. Here, you may be able to avoid being charged with more serious charges by agreeing to plead guilty to a lesser charge.
Your attorney will need to carefully examine the details of your case to determine whether this route is in your best interests.
5. Deferred Adjudications in Indiana
Pretrial diversion programs are another way to avoid the devastating impact an Indiana criminal conviction can carry. Here, you might agree to plead no contest or guilty to a specific charge. But the state agrees to allow you to complete probation, a drug or alcohol treatment program, or another type of diversion program instead of being sentenced to jail or prison.
Once you complete the program, you will not have to worry about a criminal conviction on your record.
Get Help From a Criminal Defense Attorney
Every case is different, and there could be many possible ways to request a case dismissal–some of them atypical or highly technical. For example, flaws in the criminal complaint or a charge that comes after the statute of limitations have expired may also be reasons for dismissal. Therefore, it’s crucial to have an experienced lawyer take a close look at your case as early as possible.
An experienced Indiana criminal defense lawyer at Hessler Law can put your case on the path to dismissal by challenging these violations and affording you every protection.