Why Would Criminal Charges Be Dropped Or Dismissed In Philadelphia?
When you’re arrested after committing a criminal offense, your best case scenario is having your charges dropped or dismissed. It’s the closest you can get to making the whole situation “go away.” In order to move on with your life, you’ll want an experienced criminal defense attorney helping you understand the possibility of dropped or dismissed charges in your specific case. So why would criminal charges be dropped or dismissed in Philadelphia?
Charges Dropped vs. Dismissed
First, let’s clarify the differences between the two. When charges are dropped, it can only be done by a prosecutor or arresting officer. This decision could be based on a number of circumstances such as the victim is no longer willing to cooperate, there is insufficient evidence, or new evidence is found contradicting the original arrest. In most cases where a charge is dismissed, there is an insufficient evidence to proceed with the trial. Unlike dropped charges, it can only be done after the case has already been filed.
Reasons Why Criminal Charges are Dropped:
When a prosecutor or arresting officer decides to drop criminal charges, it may be for one of the following reasons:
Constitutional Rights were Violated
This typically involves a violation of the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits law enforcement from conducting a search without paper justification. If a search occurs without probable cause or a warrant, the evidence is considered to be illegally seized and cannot be used in the case. If this evidence happens to be a essential to the case, it could be a reason to drop the charges.
Procedure Violations were Committed
From the time of the arrest to the prosecution, there are strict procedures that must be followed by law enforcement and prosecutors. For example, under the Sixth Amendment, if a suspect asks for an attorney but continues to be interrogated by the prosecution, then a procedural violation has occurred which could be grounds for dropping the charges.
Evidence is Destroyed or Lost
In some cases, evidence is destroyed or lost before the case goes to trial. It is common in these situations that important documents or files have been misplaced, which make it difficult for the prosecutors to prove their case.
There are Insufficient Resources
Criminal cases are an extremely common occurrence in big cities. A lot of prosecutors in Philadelphia will deal with multiple cases every single day. For this reason, many of them will choose to drop specific charges for trivial or summary offenses, such as traffic violations or disorderly conduct. But keep in mind, that also means if you’re facing charges for a much more serious offense, your case will be a prosecutor’s priority.
Victim is Uncooperative
Contrary to popular belief, a victim doesn’t actually have the authority to drop charges. But while the decision is one the prosecutor must make, it could also be based on the victim’s unwillingness to cooperate. If this is the case, it becomes more difficult for the prosecution to prove their case effectively, so they may consider dropping the charges as a result.
If you or someone you know has been arrested in Philadelphia, you’ll want an experienced defense attorney who will review the details of your case and know how to leverage this information to have your criminal charges dropped. Contact our lawyers to discuss your case today.