The most effective way to get a criminal case dismissed is to file a motion to suppress evidence. This asks the judge to throw out evidence that was obtained illegally, such as during an unlawful search or interrogation. For example, if the police searched your car or home without a valid warrant, your lawyer can argue that the search violated your Fourth Amendment rights. If the judge agrees and suppresses all evidence obtained from the search, the prosecution’s case will often fall apart, leading to a dismissal. Skilled criminal defense lawyers know how to identify potential Fourth Amendment violations and argue for suppression of evidence.
Reveal weaknesses in the prosecution’s case
The prosecution lacks solid evidence or has flaws in their legal theory. An experienced criminal lawyer will aggressively highlight any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and argue that charges should be dropped. For example, if the prosecution’s main witness has credibility issues or gave inconsistent statements, your lawyer can file a motion to dismiss detailing how the witness is unreliable. Or if the prosecution is overcharging you based on a faulty understanding of the law, your attorney can explain how the charges are invalid and ask for dismissal. Revealing fundamental weaknesses in the prosecutor’s legal argument is an extremely effective way to get cases tossed out early. Skilled lawyers know how to review the evidence, identify holes in the prosecution’s theory, and advocate for full dismissal.
Cooperate with prosecutors
- Agreeing to cooperate with law enforcement can lead to charges being dropped. This often happens when a defendant provides substantial assistance in investigating or prosecuting others.
- Defense lawyers may negotiate cooperation agreements where a defendant agrees to provide information or testify for the prosecution in exchange for the dismissal of charges. Cooperation can potentially reduce or even eliminate sentences.
- However, cooperation agreements come with risks and require extensive discussions with an attorney. Experienced criminal lawyers can advise clients on whether cooperation is advantageous in a particular case.
Argue unconstitutionality of statutes
In rare cases top criminal lawyers in Scarborough statutes themselves can be unconstitutional or applied unconstitutionally. Skilled defense lawyers scrutinize the underlying criminal statutes and how they are applied to see if there are grounds to argue unconstitutionality. If a judge agrees that a statute or its application is unconstitutional, this can lead to the dismissal of charges. However, most constitutional issues tend to address statutes as applied to particular circumstances rather than being facially unconstitutional. Still, arguing that a particular statute cannot apply lawfully to your conduct can result in dismissal.
Reasonable doubt on mental state
Certain crimes require prosecutors to prove intent – meaning the defendant committed the illegal act deliberately and knowingly. Experienced defense attorneys will look for ways to cast reasonable doubt on a defendant’s mental state. In some cases, a lawyer can successfully argue that the defendant lacked the criminal intent required to be convicted. For example, evidence of mental illness or lack of awareness around key facts of the crime can sometimes create enough doubt regarding intent that charges get dismissed. While a high bar in most jurisdictions, negating intent by raising reasonable doubt regarding mental state can be an avenue to dismissal in appropriate cases.