What Does it Take to Get Your Criminal Charge Dismissed in Orlando?

Getting Your Criminal Case Dismissed in OrlandoHaving a criminal charge on your record can work against you even if you’re never convicted. A potential employer might see the charge when reviewing the results of your background check, and it can hurt your chances of getting an interview. In some cases, it’s possible to have your criminal charge dismissed before you even enter a plea or attend a trial. To look into this, you can rely on a trusted Orlando criminal defense lawyer, such as the team of attorneys with The Umansky Law Firm.

Working with a criminal defense lawyer helps to ensure the court treats you fairly. Your lawyer’s ultimate goal is to guide you through the confusing criminal justice system and reduce the potential for penalties, mitigating the effects of a criminal charge on your future. Before a defense lawyer starts to construct a defense, he or she will look into the possibility of getting the court to dismiss your charge.

How Can an Orlando Defense Lawyer Get My Criminal Case Dismissed?

Your lawyer will find out if there are any grounds on which the court may dismiss your case before he or she begins developing a defense. It may be possible to have your charge dismissed before you’re asked to enter a plea or attend the trial. Some grounds for dismissal of a criminal charge in Orlando are:

  • There was a lack of probable cause for your arrest
  • There was an improper criminal complaint or charging document
  • The police conducted an illegal search or stop
  • There’s a lack of evidence to prove you committed a crime
  • The witness the prosecution needs to prove you committed a crime is unavailable to give testimony

Sometimes, cases are dismissed after going to and losing at trial. It may be possible to have your case dismissed after the court convicts you if you win an appeal. You may wish to appeal an unfavorable court decision with the help of a criminal appeals lawyer. 

Let’s explore the different grounds for dismissal of a criminal charge:

Lack of Probable Cause for Your Arrest

Before an officer may arrest you, he or she must have probable cause to believe you committed a crime. This must be based on objective evidence and not just a gut feeling. The police officer must be able to point to objective circumstances leading them to conclude that a suspect committed a crime. Courts determine whether probable cause existed at the time of arrest on a case-by-case basis. 

A police officer who has probable cause has the right to:

  • Arrest a suspect
  • Search a suspect or his property
  • Obtain a warrant

Probable cause is the legal justification needed to take action, such as arresting a suspect or conducting a search. So long as any reasonable person in the officer’s position would believe a suspect to have committed a crime, the officer may be justified in arresting the suspect.

Mistakes in a Criminal Complaint or Charging Document

A criminal complaint or charging document is a document police file in court that is mailed to the defendant and requires the defendant to appear in court to answer to the listed charges. Basically, it’s a document that charges a defendant with a crime. The police officer who writes the document must sign it under oath, which attests to the truthfulness of its content. 

If there’s a mistake in the charging document, the officer who wrote it must make the changes himself; the prosecution may not make changes. The document must also comply with local and state laws. If there are errors and the police officer who wrote up the document is unavailable to fix it, the prosecutor must dismiss the complaint.

Illegal Stop or Search

If you were arrested for a traffic offense, police have the authority to stop any vehicle so long as they have a reasonable suspicion that the driver broke a traffic law. If police stopped you on the street, they may do so only if they reasonably suspect you’re committing a crime. 

Police officers have the authority to search a house, car, or person with a warrant and without a warrant in limited circumstances. An officer may conduct a search without a warrant when special circumstances permit it; for example, if the officer sees contraband in plain view in a car, he may search the vehicle. An officer may search a suspect whom he or she lawfully arrested, and may search a house when responding to an emergency.

Police officers who conduct warrantless searches when no special circumstances apply gather evidence that the prosecution may use against the defendant in court. If the court finds that a stop or search was illegal, and the evidence is inadmissible, the defense can request for the court to dismiss the case on the grounds that the prosecution has no evidence to prove the charges.

Unavailable Witness

Some cases rely on witness testimony to prove that a defendant is guilty. However, this is one of the least reliable methods the prosecution can use. If a witness disappears, becomes ill, or otherwise cannot be located or refuses to testify, the prosecution may lack enough evidence to proceed with the case.

There is Not Enough Evidence to Convict

The burden of proof to gain a criminal conviction is extremely high. Generally, the prosecution must be able to prove that the defendant committed the alleged crime beyond a reasonable doubt. When the prosecution lacks the evidence to meet this standard, the court or prosecutor may dismiss the case.

When a defendant is arrested and has charges pending against him, the prosecutor must present the case to a grand jury or judge and show that the prosecution has enough evidence to convict the defendant. The evidence must show an objective and factual basis for believing the defendant committed the crime. If the grand jury or judge do not find that the evidence proves the defendant’s guilt, then the charges must be dismissed. When prosecutors have insufficient evidence against a defendant, they may decide to dismiss the charges on their own.

Find Out How The Umansky Law Firm Can Fight Your Criminal Charges

Attorneys with The Umansky Law Firm have dedicated their careers to providing competent criminal defense to people in Orlando facing criminal charges. We strongly believe that everyone deserves a second chance, and we work hard to make that happen. We do not think that your entire future should be affected by a mistake, and we work hard to make sure you’re thoroughly educated on your charges and the criminal process as we work closely together. 

Our team of Orlando defense lawyers has more than 100 years of combined experience practicing criminal defense in Central Florida. For a free case review,  contact us or call (407) 228-3838.