An arrest on criminal charges is not a guilty verdict. You have the right to retain a criminal defense lawyer and fight the charges. Some criminal cases may be dismissed after an attorney investigates the facts of the case and the circumstances surrounding your arrest. The lawyer may discover one or more grounds for petitioning the court for a dismissal.
Grounds for Petitioning for a Dismissal of Criminal Charges
Five grounds that you may have for asking the court to dismiss your criminal charges are:
No Probable Cause for a Stop or Arrest
A police officer must have probable cause before he can stop you or your vehicle. Probable cause is a reasonable belief that a person was committing a crime or committed a crime.
For example, say a police officer believes that you are in possession of illegal drugs and stops you. If the police officer does not have probable cause for a stop or an arrest, the court could dismiss the criminal case.
Illegal Search and Seizure
The police are not entitled to search your person, home, or vehicle without a valid search warrant, except under special circumstances. If the police officer conducts an illegal search, any evidence obtained from the search may be inadmissible in court.
Your lawyer can file a motion to suppress the evidence from an illegal search. If that evidence is the only evidence in your homicide case, the judge may have no choice but to dismiss the charges. Never give your consent to a search of your home, vehicle, or person.
Improper Chain of Custody
Law enforcement agencies must maintain a strict chain of custody of evidence. Otherwise, the evidence may be tampered with before trial. For example, there is a process for maintaining evidence from a rape kit in a rape case. Also, there is a process of maintaining blood samples after a violent crime.
When the chain of evidence is broken, the court could throw out the evidence. Your case could also be thrown out along with it.
Violations of Your Civil Rights
If the police violate your right to counsel or right to remain silent, anything you say may not be held against you. One common misconception is that police officers must always state Miranda warnings to a person. Law enforcement officers only need to state the Miranda Rights if they want to use anything you say in court.
Talking to the police can make it more difficult to have your criminal charges dismissed. It is always best to exercise your right to remain silent and your right to legal counsel. Do not make any statements, sign documents, or answer questions without a criminal attorney present.
Lack of Evidence
The state has the burden of proving that you committed a crime. It must prove each of the legal elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. If your attorney can raise reasonable doubt, the jury may find you not guilty of theft crimes or weapons charges.
If there does not appear to be sufficient evidence to prove a case, your attorney may file a motion to dismiss. The judge reviews the evidence and decides whether to dismiss the case or proceed to trial.
What Should You Do After an Arrest in Lexington, KY?
Your arrest is not the time to argue your innocence. If police officers are arresting you, they are already convinced that you committed a crime. Nothing you say is going to change their minds.
Instead, remain calm and quiet. Do not resist arrest. If you resist arrest, the police could charge you with additional crimes. You could also cause the situation to become violent and dangerous.
Ask for your telephone call as soon as possible. Call a criminal defense attorney or a family member or friend who can hire an attorney for you. Continue to remain silent until you speak with your lawyer.
If you appear at an arraignment before speaking with a lawyer, do not try to explain your side of the story to the judge. It is best to plead not guilty and ask for bail. Otherwise, do not offer any explanation for the criminal charges.
When you speak with your lawyer, be honest. Tell your lawyer everything you know. A criminal defense lawyer cannot defend you to the best of his ability if he does not have all of the facts.
A detail that you might not find important could be the detail that gives your attorney the grounds to file a motion to dismiss your case. If you are released on bail, do not contact any parties involved in the case. Do not talk to your family or friends about the case. That could make them witnesses at a trial.
Instead, follow the advice of your criminal defense lawyer. Respond to your lawyer’s requests promptly. Allow your lawyer to do his job by investing your arrest circumstances to identify ways to get your criminal case dismissed.