5 Telling Signs Your Criminal Case Will Be Dismissed

signs your case will be dismissed

If you’ve been charged with a crime, you’re worried about what comes next.

Will your case go to trial? Will you end up with a criminal record? Could you face jail time?

These questions weigh heavily on anyone facing criminal charges.

As former prosecutors who have brought charges and defense attorneys who defend against them, we know the boat you’re in right now. But there are often signs along the way that indicate your criminal case has weaknesses and may be dismissed.

Being aware of these signs can provide some relief in knowing your case could be dropped.

From our experience on both sides of a criminal case, we’ve seen certain patterns emerge when charges end up being dismissed. Here are five telling signs that your criminal case may be on the verge of dismissal.

Sign #1: Procedural Errors Were Made By Police or Prosecutors

The criminal justice system involves many rules that police and prosecutors must follow. Even small errors in arrest records, search warrants, Miranda rights, or chain of custody for evidence can be grounds for dismissal.

For example, if the police searched your car without consent or probable cause, any evidence found may not be usable against you. Or if you were questioned without being read your Miranda rights, your statements could be suppressed.

We carefully review all the documentation in your case to uncover any procedural mistakes. Bringing these errors to light can demonstrate sloppy police work and lead to dropped charges.

Violations of your core constitutional rights often lead judges to dismiss cases. As your attorneys, we would aggressively pursue dismissal if your protected rights were infringed upon.

Sign #2: The Prosecution’s Evidence is Weak

For a case to succeed, the prosecution must prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If their evidence is flimsy, circumstantial, or relies solely on unreliable witnesses, they may have difficulty meeting this standard of proof.

Some signs we look for are a lack of physical evidence, gaps in the chain of custody of evidence, contradictory eyewitness accounts, or witnesses who lack credibility. If the prosecution’s case is built on a shaky foundation, they often realize a dismissal or plea deal is their best option.

Sign #3: There are Statute of Limitations Issues

Most criminal charges cannot be filed indefinitely after a crime has been committed. Each state has established statutes of limitations that set strict time limits for prosecuting different types of crimes.

These time limits exist to ensure cases are prosecuted while evidence is still available and fresh. The length of the statute of limitations varies based on the severity of the crime, with more serious offenses like murder often having no statute of limitations. If prosecutors fail to file charges before the deadline, the case is essentially “expired” and must be dismissed.

As your criminal defense attorneys, we pay close attention to these details, ensuring you aren’t wrongfully prosecuted for alleged crimes that fall outside the statute of limitations.

Sign #4: Prosecutorial Misconduct

Prosecutors have an ethical duty to pursue justice and avoid any unscrupulous behavior that could undermine a defendant’s right to a fair trial.

Prosecutorial misconduct can take various forms, such as:

  • knowingly presenting false evidence
  • improperly influencing witnesses, or
  • making improper statements during opening or closing arguments that could unfairly prejudice the jury

At The Botnick Law Firm, we closely monitor for prosecutorial misconduct and will seek dismissal if it deprives you of a fair trial.

Sign #5: The Court Has No Jurisdiction in Your Case

For a court to have the legal authority to hear and rule on a criminal case, it must have proper jurisdiction. This jurisdictional requirement applies to the type of crime alleged as well as the location where it took place.

A court may lack jurisdiction if the crime occurred entirely outside its geographical boundaries or on federal/tribal lands. Jurisdiction can also be impacted by the defendant’s identity, such as foreign nationals with diplomatic immunity. If jurisdictional defects are raised, the court has no choice but to dismiss charges over which it has no authority.

While these signs indicate a higher chance of dismissal, it’s still critical to have an experienced defense lawyer in your corner examining the specifics of your case.

Don’t Go It Alone – Consult a Defense Attorney

Being aware of these common red flags can help give you hope if your case seems weak. But remember, charges can always be re-filed, so don’t let your guard down just yet. Having an experienced criminal defense lawyer in your corner is critical for identifying issues and boldly calling for dismissal when appropriate.

Don’t leave your future to chance. Reach out to the knowledgeable attorneys at The Botnick Law Firm today to explore your options. With their fierce advocacy, you can feel confident your rights will be protected, and your case will get the aggressive defense it deserves.

Author Bio

Botnick Law Firm

Robert Botnick is CEO and Managing Partner of Botnick Law Firm, a criminal defense law firm in Cleveland, OH. With more than 19 years of experience in criminal defense, he has zealously represented clients in a wide range of legal matters, including DUIs, misdemeanors, felonies, domestic violence, and other criminal charges.

Robert received his Juris Doctor from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University and is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association. He has received numerous accolades for his work, including the Best DUI Lawyers in Cleveland award by

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