Want Your Case Dismissed? Don’t Accept a Plea.


When people come to my office and talk with me about their case, I ask what they want to have happen with their case. Almost everyone wants their case dismissed. Whether they broke the law or not, most want to move past this case without paying fines, being on probation, or doing jail time.

 

The Three Ways Your Case Could End

There are three ways that your case could end. It could go to trial, you could accept a plea agreement with the prosecutor, or your case could be dismissed. Any of those three things will end your case. That means your case won’t be dismissed if you show up to your first court date and accept an offer.

Do You Need A Dismissal?

If you want your case dismissed, think about why you want your case dismissed. Do you want to be able to clean up your record? Are you innocent? Do you want to avoid having to do classes? When the state makes an offer, does it get you what you want? If not, you may not want to accept the offer.

When Dismissals Happen

Dismissals are more likely to come later in a case. The decision about whether or not to dismiss a case is almost always up to the prosecutor. There are things that we, as defense attorneys, can do to make it more likely that your case will be dismissed, but the decision is not ours.

Early in a case, prosecutors are not likely to have gone over their cases fully. They’re often focused on cases that they have coming up for trial in the next week or so. On a first court date, when I approach prosecutors, there are a lot of times when they’ve never looked at your case. They’ll take a quick glance at the police report and maybe make an offer at that time. When your case gets closer to trial, that’s when they may notice that a witness is not available to testify, that what an officer put on his police report doesn’t match up with the bodycam, or something else that may make it hard to prove your case at trial.

We Don’t Always Know When A Case Will Be Dismissed

Several times, I’ve had clients whose cases have been dismissed when I didn’t expect it. It’s obvious that a case will be dismissed in some situations, but in others, it’s impossible to predict.

Not all cases can be dismissed. The state will often have a strong case that they can win at trial. Not accepting a plea does not necessarily mean that your case will be dismissed, but accepting a plea means that your case definitely won’t be dismissed.

How Bad Do You Want It?

The decision about pushing a case to trial, hoping to get a dismissal, is about how much risk you’re willing to take. There’s not much risk early in a case because you can usually accept the plea later. On the eve of trial, the risk is much higher. Not accepting a plea may mean your case ends up in trial or the offer changes. If your case does end up in trial, there’s always the risk that you’re found guilty, even if you’re innocent.

What You Need to Do

If you’re being charged with a crime, you need to have a discussion with your attorney. They should know what you want to have happen in your case. You should have a discussion about what a trial would look like, what the odds are your case will be dismissed, if there is anything that can be done to make a dismissal more likely, and compare your options with any offers you receive from the state.

It is your decision to accept a plea or not. Your attorney should give you their recommendation and discuss all of your options, but you get to choose whether to take the offer or not.

If you’re being charged with a crime in San Antonio, use the link below to schedule a free consultation or give us a call at 210-900-2806. We’ll be happy to discuss your case with you, answer any questions you have, and let you know how we can help.

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Sean Henricksen

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