My Son Was Arrested and Charged With a Felony. Is There a Way to Get The Charge Dismissed?
First, I’m going to break this post down into two parts. The first part I’m going to talk about is the “Dismissal.” In the second part, I’m going to talk about felony criminal charges in Texas. Why am I doing it like this? That’s because everyone cares much, much more about dismissals than how felonies work! Just to give you a complete view though, I’ll explain both.
In an ideal world, criminal defense lawyers could snap their fingers and criminal charges would be dismissed. The problem is, we don’t live in an ideal world. A dismissal always seems to be the first question on every client’s mind.
Q: Can you get me a dismissal?
A: No. Or even more likely, it depends.
I never promise clients things I can’t deliver on. That’s why I don’t mention much about dismissals. Of course I’m working towards one but that still doesn’t mean I’ll likely get one. If anyone promises you a dismissal, you should be very skeptical. A dismissal is the Holy Grail of criminal defense. Everyone wants one. I get it – just pull the rabbit out of the hat for me this one time! Dismissals are rare. They’re the exception and not the norm.
How do I get my case dismissed?
It depends. The answer to this most likely will be in the criminal discovery you receive from the District Attorney’s Office or County Attorney’s Office. These are the police reports, videos, body cams, pictures, witness statements, audio recordings, drawings, etc… Most of the dismissals I’ve gotten for my clients have come by digging closely into the evidence against my clients! They can be a gold mine if you know what to look for.
Police may give their opinions on video about how good or bad you performed on DWI Field Sobriety Tests. They may write in their reports whether they believe the victim or the witnesses that they interview. Details can be left out and procedures may not be followed. For example, was your car illegally searched? Major holes or flaws in the State’s case can work to your advantage. The most likely outcome, if the State’s case has some weaknesses, is that your felony charge may be dropped down to a misdemeanor. On the flip side, if the case against you is very strong, then the chances for getting a dismissal are slim.
Who can dismiss a criminal case?
In a criminal case, charges can only be dismissed by the Prosecutor, or in the case of a felony, by the Grand Jury. If a District Attorney brings your son’s case to the Grand Jury for indictment, the prosecutor can choose which evidence to present to the Grand Jury. If the Grand Jury doesn’t find there is enough evidence to Indict then they can choose to “No Bill” the case. At that point, the prosecutor may sign a Dismissal Order and give it to the Judge to sign. At that point, the case is dismissed.
Dismissals aren’t the norm and they don’t come easy. This is especially true if the charge is a felony. The crime at that level is more serious and the stakes are higher. Like anything else in life, being prepared and working hard can pay off big time. Sometimes this means legal research or some investigation early on in a case. Pointing out the legal holes or flaws in a case can affect the outcome. This can mean whether or not your son’s case will go forward and be finalized through a plea bargain with the State or a trial by jury, which I always recommend. Fighting hard for my clients and getting cases dismissed puts a smile on my face. It has put even bigger smiles on theirs.