Getting Misdemeanor Charges Dismissed in Orange County, NY
If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor crime in Orange County, you’re not alone. Many normal people make mistakes which can disrupt their life. For some, these will be the first charges they ever face.
While many defendants imagine their case will go all the way to trial, this is rarely the case. Many also imagine plea bargains are the only way to avoid a trial.
In reality, a skilled, experienced criminal lawyer can also help you get charges dismissed.
Here’s how we do it.
Establishing an alibi.
If you have a solid alibi there’s usually no reason for the DA to continue pushing the case forward. You simply can’t be in two places at once.
It can be difficult for innocent people to establish an alibi simply because they don’t necessarily remember where they were at an important date or time. It can also be difficult because the prosecution won’t always disclose vital details of the case which might indicate the time they’re targeting fast enough for this evidence to result in dismissal.
Nevertheless your attorney will at least know the date the alleged crime happened thanks to police reports and arrest records. You can help establish an alibi by providing location records like time cards, receipts, or locations where you might have been. Your attorney may be able to strengthen your case by locating video evidence, time and date stamped, or eye witnesses who can help you demonstrate you where nowhere near the scene of the crime.
An alibi won’t necessarily lead to a dismissal: some DAs are stubborn. That said, many will drop the case if it looks like they can’t win.
Providing strong exculpatory evidence.
An alibi isn’t the only way to prove you weren’t guilty of a crime. You might be able to prove your acts were justifiable (for example, you committed assault, but in self-defense). You might be able to prove that no crime happened at all: for example, if you were accused of shoplifting but did not do anything wrong.
Evidence is rarely definitive, so it’s rare for exculpatory evidence alone to result in the dismissal of your case. Still, it may be an avenue to explore. In some cases, it may cause the DA to offer a plea bargain for a much smaller crime that would carry no jail time, or even to offer to knock the crime down to a “violation”, which does not carry more than 15 days in jail and which is considered an extremely minor crime.
Demonstrating the DA doesn’t have enough evidence.
You might not have much evidence which can help you, but the DA might not have much evidence which can convict you, either.
A good attorney can challenge the facts of the case and assert that there isn’t enough evidence to move forward.
Demonstrating improper conduct on the part of the police.
If a police officer conducts an illegal search and seizure, uses entrapment or violates your rights in any way then much of their evidence may be admissible. Challenging this evidence could be enough to make the case fall apart.
It may also be enough to cause the judge to dismiss the case.
Convincing a Grand Jury they should not indict.
While “Grand Jury” may sound a little too “grand” for a low-level marijuana or shoplifting charge, they’re part of the process. Their job is to decide whether there’s enough evidence to take you to trial. A Grand Jury “indicts” when they believe there is.
In some cases, it may be advantageous to testify in front of the Grand Jury so you can make your case. Grand Juries are quick to indict, but they do dismiss cases too.
If you’re in trouble with the law, don’t delay. Call our offices to get help.