A criminal charge is scary enough; having to go through a trial makes it 10 times worse and 10 times more expensive. Criminal defense attorneys hear this from clients all of the time. And the next thing they hear is this: “How can I resolve my criminal charges without a trial?”
In Indianapolis and across Indiana, there isn’t just one answer – there are several. All the legal details surrounding these ways to avoid a trial for a criminal charge may be overwhelming, but the main point is that you do have options.
Get Your Case Dismissed
Getting your case dismissed makes it almost like it never happened. But it isn’t always easy to do.
Here are some reasons why a prosecutor may choose to drop your case:
- The case cannot legally move forward: This could be because the alleged victim didn’t show up or because crucial evidence has been suppressed.
- The prosecutor begins to doubt that you are guilty: This could happen because your defense lawyer finds compelling new evidence in your favor.
- You remedied the situation: This doesn’t apply evenly in all cases. But sometimes, you can get your case dismissed if you satisfy an unwritten requirement, such as paying restitution in a theft case or getting a driver’s license after being charged with driving without a license in Marion County.
All of the above situations could lead to your case being dismissed or dropped – meaning you avoid trial.
Go for a Diversion Program
A diversion allows you to enter into a deal with the state to complete a prearranged program or criteria instead of going to trial. A diversion requires that you meet specific terms and confirm that there was reason to charge you.
While the terms of diversion agreements vary, they generally include a fine, counseling, classes specific to your charges, and community service. Fail to uphold your end of the bargain, and you can still be prosecuted.
In Marion County specifically, there are also specialized courts that allow diversions, which results in not having a trial. Here are a few examples:
- Drug Treatment Court
- Indy Veterans’ Court
- Behavioral Health Court
- The Psychiatric Assertive Identification and Referral program
Your defense attorney can help you understand whether you are eligible for any of these options.
Seek a Conditional Discharge
While in a diversion, you are never formally convicted. A conditional discharge leaves the charge on your record but – hopefully – ends with you completing the terms of the conditional discharge. On the condition that you uphold your end of the bargain, your charge will be removed from your record.
Keep in mind that conditional discharges in Indiana are often reserved only for first-time or minor offenses.
Enter a Plea Agreement
In a plea agreement, you agree to plead guilty to the charge, and the prosecutor agrees to reduce the charge, recommend a lighter sentence, or make some other concession.
This can result in much less severe criminal penalties; it also removes the need for a trial.
Sometimes, Court Makes Sense
It’s natural to want to avoid going to trial. We understand that. But any quality defense attorney will tell you that going to court sometimes makes sense. This, of course, depends on your situation.
For instance, what if you know the prosecution doesn’t have a strong case against you? Does it make more sense to go to trial and likely win or accept a plea agreement and do time behind bars?
Going to trial could make a lot of sense for your case, which is why it’s helpful to have a criminal defense attorney in Indianapolis help you understand your options and which tactics are available.
Contact an Indianapolis Criminal Defense Attorney
Resolving things without an official trial is the dream scenario for someone who has been charged with a crime. Unfortunately, this is often impossible unless you have the help of a criminal defense attorney who knows how to fight for you and what it will take to secure the best possible outcome in your case.