After criminal charges are assessed, a trial commences determining whether the defendant is guilty. While many trials end in a jury verdict, others are cut short early through dismissal. A dismissal is great for defendants because the charges are completely thrown out.
Criminal cases may be dismissed for lack of evidence. If prosecutors have insufficient evidence to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, you can make a motion to have the charges dismissed. Mistrials occur when juries cannot reach verdicts, or there is some misconduct in the case. However, a judge will dismiss the charges in some cases rather than retry the case. Prosecutors and law enforcement must take care to avoid constitutional violations, which also sometimes lead to dismissals.
Our Utah criminal defense lawyers can help you assess your case and fight your charges. If your case can be dismissed, our team can help you make it happen. Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 for a free review of your case.
Getting a Criminal Case Dismissed for Lack of Evidence in Utah
Prosecutors not only must have enough evidence to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but they must have enough evidence to warrant a trial at all. The preliminary hearing usually determines whether there is sufficient evidence to support your charges.
The preliminary hearing is a pre-trial hearing where prosecutors must present at least some evidence that shows the defendant should be held over for trial. If there is not enough evidence, the court may dismiss the charges for lack of evidence. Smaller charges like misdemeanors usually do not get preliminary hearings, but prosecutors are still required to have sufficient evidence to move forward with the case.
Keep in mind that prosecutors do not need enough evidence to prove guilt at the preliminary hearing and do not even have to present all of their evidence. They must only show probable cause that the crime occurred and the defendant likely committed it. Our Salt Lake City criminal defense lawyers can argue against this evidence and undermine the prosecutor’s case in the hopes of getting your charges dismissed.
You may also challenge the prosecutor’s sufficiency of the evidence with a directed verdict at your trial. You can make this motion after the prosecution rests if there is no way they have enough evidence to legally meet their burden.
Dismissing a Criminal Case After a Mistrial in Utah
Mistrials often happen at the end of a trial when a jury cannot reach a unanimous verdict, but there are many ways to have a mistrial. In some cases, a mistrial might lead to a complete dismissal of the case. Our Utah criminal defense attorneys can help you determine whether your case can be dismissed after a mistrial.
Most mistrials do not result in a dismissal of the case. Instead, a new trial with a new jury is scheduled. In cases where a mistrial results from prosecutorial misconduct, a new trial might not be permitted, and the court might dismiss the case entirely.
Prosecutorial misconduct includes bad behavior by prosecutors that derails the case or breaks the rules. For this to result in a mistrial, it must happen in a way that violates the defendant’s right to a fair trial. Many courts will not stand for such an injustice, and judges often dismiss the case completely to punish the prosecutor for the misconduct. Otherwise, the prosecutor would get a second chance at a new trial.
We can argue against a new trial by saying that a new trial would reward the prosecutor’s bad behavior. You should not have to endure two trials because the prosecutor in the first trial broke the rules.
Dismissing a Criminal Case in Utah for Constitutional and Statutory Violations
Defendants often feel as though everyone is against them in a criminal trial, but they have numerous constitutional and statutory rights that must be protected. If these rights are violated, the defendant might have grounds to file a motion to dismiss. Our Logan criminal defense attorneys can help you file the motion.
One important constitutional right is the right against double jeopardy (being tried twice for the same crime). Suppose you were previously tried for a criminal offense and acquitted, and prosecutors try to file charges for the same offense again. In that case, we can file a motion to dismiss the charges. Filing charges for the same crime twice is often an oversight by prosecutors rather than an intentional act, but it must still be checked and challenged. The proper remedy in these cases is dismissal.
You have a constitutional right to a trial, so any violations that taint the trial might also be grounds for dismissal or at least a mistrial.
Certain laws also exist to govern how and when trials are conducted. For example, if the court takes too long to schedule the trial, your right to a speedy trial under the laws of Utah might be violated. If a trial cannot be scheduled in a reasonable amount of time, we can argue that the case should be dismissed.
Additionally, prosecutors must file charges against you within the time limits set by the relevant statute of limitations. These statutes impose deadlines for filing criminal charges, and if the deadline passes, no charges can be filed. If charges are filed late, we can demand they be dismissed.
Dismissing a Criminal Case After Completing a Diversionary Program in Utah
Criminal cases may also be dismissed after the defendant completes certain diversionary programs. These programs often focus on rehabilitation rather than punishing the defendant. If you complete the program, the judge should dismiss your charges.
One common diversion program is Drug Court. This program is administered at the county level and requires the defendant to plead guilty to their drug charges before starting. The guilty pleas are then set aside by the court until the defendant completes the program. Upon completion of the program, the charges are dismissed. If the defendant does not successfully finish the program, the guilty pleas will be formally entered, and the case will be moved straight to sentencing.
Whether your charges are dismissed or merely set aside for a long period depends on what kind of program you are in. Our Ogden criminal defense attorneys can help you determine if you are eligible for a diversionary program to get your charges dismissed.
Call Our Utah Criminal Defense Attorneys for Help and Advice
Our Park City criminal defense attorneys can help you fight your criminal charges while protecting your rights. If possible, we can help you get your charges dismissed. Call Overson Law, PLLC at (801) 758-2287 for a free review of your case.