If you have been charged with a Kentucky criminal offense — or more than one crime — you may be feeling a variety of emotions. You might be panicking, worrying about your future or if you will spend time in jail. You may be stressed about how this will impact your family, or you might simply be overwhelmed by the entire situation.
These possibilities are scary — yet they are not guaranteed. After being charged with a Kentucky crime — or if you know that you may be charged — you should consult with a Lexington criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Depending on the facts of your case, your attorney may be able to have the charges reduced or even dismissed entirely.
There are a range of reasons why a prosecutor might agree to drop the charges against you. Understanding why the charges may be dismissed is important to gaining perspective and having a more realistic picture of the state’s case against you.
Why Would a Kentucky Prosecutor Dismiss Criminal Charges?
In many criminal cases, there is an opportunity for an aggressive criminal defense attorney to argue for one or more charges to be reduced or dismissed. Depending on the circumstances, the prosecutor may even drop a criminal charge on their own. This may happen for a number of reasons.
First, there are what may be broadly characterized as practical factors that lead to a dismissal. Many prosecutors are overworked, and simply lack the resources to devote the time to every case that comes across their desk. If you have been charged with a relatively minor, nonviolent offense and you lack a criminal history, then the prosecutor may decide to dismiss or reduce the charge against you.
Other times, prosecutors have the time to prosecute your case — but lack crucial evidence to convict you. The evidence may have been lost, or the police may not have gathered sufficient evidence in the first place to support the charges. Your attorney can file a motion seeking to have the charges dismissed if there is not sufficient evidence to support the charges.
Second, there may be situations where newly-discovered evidence demands that the charges be dropped. For example, if you were charged with a motor vehicle theft, but the police later find video footage of an entirely different person stealing the car, then the prosecutor should drop the charges. In some cases, your Lexington, Kentucky criminal defense lawyer may still have to advocate for the charges to be dismissed.
Third, there are variety of legal reasons why the prosecutor may drop the charges against you — most of which will be brought forward by your attorney. If the police searched your home without a warrant, your lawyer may file a motion to suppress all evidence illegally obtained as a result. If the motion succeeds, then that evidence cannot be used against you — and the prosecutor may not have any evidence remaining to support the criminal charges.
Your lawyer may also determine that the police illegally stopped you, leading to the suppression of any statements you made or evidence seized, or that the police lacked probable cause to arrest you. An improper criminal complaint or charging document can also lead to a dismissal of the criminal charges.
Having a skilled Lexington, Kentucky criminal defense lawyer can make a significant difference in how your case is resolved. The Baldani Law Group recently had an assault charge dismissed when it became clear that our client’s actions did not meet the definition of the crime of assault in Kentucky. In a separate case, we had drug possession, drug trafficking and firearm charges dismissed when we were able to demonstrate that our client was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Can a Crime Victim Drop the Charges?
In pop culture, it isn’t uncommon to see stories of victims who decide that they simply cannot move forward with the case (for any number of reasons), and “drop the charges.” This has created a myth that a victim can simply drop the charges in a criminal case, and the case will be dismissed. This is not how the Kentucky criminal justice system works.
In a typical criminal case, the police investigate a crime, often after receiving information from a member of the public or the victim of the crime. The police will then pass this information onto the prosecutor. It is the prosecutor — not the victim — who then files the criminal charges.
Prosecutors represent the interests of the community in a criminal case. When a criminal complaint is filed, it is prosecuted on behalf of the Commonwealth of Kentucky — not the alleged victim. While the victim may request that a case be dismissed, the decision is ultimately up to the prosecutor.
If a victim does not want the case to proceed or is reluctant to participate in the process, that may factor into the prosecutor’s decision as to whether or not to proceed with the case. However, it is important to remember that the victim herself or himself cannot drop charges in a criminal case. A victim should never be pressured into dropping criminal charges — an act that can lead to a separate criminal charge of intimidating a participant in the legal process.
An Experienced Lexington Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Make the Difference
Kentucky prosecutors have a significant amount of discretion in deciding whether to drop criminal charges. A seasoned attorney can often negotiate a dismissal of criminal charges based on their knowledge of Kentucky law and their courtroom experience. If negotiations fail, a skilled lawyer should be willing and able to take the case to court to seek a dismissal through the legal process.
The Baldani Law Group strives to obtain the best possible outcome for each of our clients. In many cases, that means a dismissal or reduction of criminal charges. We are tireless advocates for our clients, working to help them get a favorable result for their case.
If you have been charged with a crime, we are here for you. Contact our firm online or call our office at 859-259-0727 to schedule a free initial consultation.