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What Happens When Charges Get Dropped in an NY Criminal Case?


What Happens When Charges Get Dropped in an NY Criminal Case?

One of the best outcomes we can get for our clients are those times when the charges get 100% dropped. Dropped charges mean you aren’t going to be convicted of any crime. 

No trial. No additional jail time, even if you’ve already been arrested. No criminal record.

What do dropped charges really mean? There are several types of dropped charges. There are also dismissed charges to think about.

Dropped Charges Without Prejudice

When charges are dropped without prejudice the state can no longer bring the same charges against you for the same crime. That’s true even if they get some sort of new evidence that says you are guilty.

They can charge you with a different, similar crime.

For example, you were charged with robbing the 7-11 on July 1. The charges are dropped without prejudice. You can no longer be charged with robbing the 7-11 on July 1. But you can be charged with robbing the Circle K on August 2 if the police have reason to suspect you committed that crime. 

Dropped Charges With Prejudice

When charges are dropped with prejudice the DA is retaining the right to press charges for the same crime all over again any time any additional evidence comes to light. Usually there isn’t any new evidence to find, but sometimes it does happen. 

If you’re guilty, you’ll want to watch what you do and say very carefully in the event that your lawyer manages to attain this outcome for you.

Dismissed Charges

Dropped charges can be dropped before you are charged. Dismissed charges can only happen after you’ve been charged with a crime.

The outcome is basically the same, but you might hear your attorney use one term or the other depending on which scenario applies to you.

How will your criminal defense attorney get your charges dropped?

Sadly the victim of the crime can’t just tell the police to give you a pass, like on TV. Instead, the DA tends to drop charges when defense lawyers can prove cops performed an illegal search and seizure, had inadequate probable cause to stop you, or when the DA simply doesn’t have enough evidence to push the matter all the way to trial. Sometimes charges are dropped when new exonerating evidence comes to light, though this is also rare, but can happen after conviction.

Dismissed charges may also happen as part of an overall decriminalization effort, such as the recent Brooklyn county court agreement to dismiss and seal 3,578 marijuana cases. In this case, arrest warrants were vacated, conviction judgements were vacated, and guilty pleas were vacated. This is obviously a special situation and one that does not happen very often. 

If the DA does have evidence or witnesses to work with then dropped charges are highly unlikely and your attorney will need to try other strategies.

Are you in trouble? Don’t wait. Contact Scott Russell Law to get help.

See also: 

6 Mistakes People Make When Charged With a Crime in New York

What Does It Take to Prove Actual Innocence in an NY Criminal Case?

Can a Felony Charge Be Reduced to a Misdemeanor Charge?

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