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Why do prosecutors sometimes drop charges?

| Sep 9, 2020 | Criminal Defense |

Anyone charged with a crime finds him/herself in a difficult situation. Both federal and Texas state criminal courts could seek to impose harsh penalties, depending on the case. However, thee might be instances when the US attorney’s/district attorney’s office chooses to drop the charges. The reasons for doing so might vary.

The accused shouldn’t automatically assume a decision to drop charges is a wholly positive development. The prosecutor may drop several misdemeanors or minor charges to focus on the most serious ones. In such instances, the defendant continues to face serious charges.

A “inverse” version of the scenario mentioned above may occur, too. A prosecutor might drop felony charges as part of a plea deal. Pleading guilty to messer charges ends the proceedings and allows the defendant to avoid a potentially devastating loss at trial.

And then there are scenarios where charges end up drop due to lack of evidence, the loss of witnesses, or other issues that would make prosecuting the case difficult. Procuring a conviction beyond a reasonable doubt would become difficult when a witness turns out to lack credibility, or evidence appears lacking.

Police officer misconduct or errors might ruin a case. Planting evidence on a suspect or coercing a confession would be egregious examples leading to a case being dropped. Errors in judgment leading to “lack of probable” cause might be more common, but also problematic for prosecutors.

Searched performed without a warrant might also lead to prosecutors dropping a case. Evidence seized without a warrant could be “thrown out” by a judge. Bringing drug and weapon possession charges against someone when the drugs and weapons cannot be entered into evidence would seem unlikely.

At times, the accused might work with the police and the prosecution to build a case against a higher-profile criminal. Charges may end up reduced or dropped in return for cooperation.

Criminal law statutes may provide more detail on reasons why prosecutors could drop charges. Persons facing misdemeanor or felony charges may wish to discuss these statutes and related scenarios with a criminal defense attorney.

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