First, there is no guaranteed way to get any criminal charges dismissed, and any attorney who claims such is likely violating the code of ethics. That being said, there are many things an experienced criminal defense attorney can do to persuade the prosecutor not to pursue charges against the defendant.
Felony charges are the most severe criminal charges. Certain felony charges may lead to a lifetime of imprisonment or even capital punishment if one is convicted. If you face felony charges, you likely feel overwhelmed and a bit lost about what to do next. It wouldn't be surprising if you're feeling a sense of hopelessness as well. However, it's important to know that no matter what charges you face, you are innocent until proven guilty. With the right assistance and a credible defense, there is still hope. Before going to trial, a determined criminal defense attorney in Louisiana can work tirelessly to have felony charges dismissed, even for serious felony charges like murder. Here are some ways an attorney can encourage the dismissal of felony charges and help you get your life back on track.
Build a Credible Defense
The most common method for dismissing felony charges is by getting the case dismissed via a credible defense. Those kinds of defenses are highly dependent on the circumstances surrounding your case. Some of the most common defenses for felony charges include:
- Illegal stop and search
- No probable cause to arrest
- and mistakes in the criminal complaint.
Through gathering evidence, experienced attorneys can also uncover an alibi or an eye-witness account to overturn current charges.
The key to successful dismissal is to present enough evidence to support the defendant's innocence before a bill of information or a grand jury indictment gets filed. These two documents are used to list the allegations against a defendant and lay the foundation for the charges against him. A grand jury indictment does not allow for any opportunity to file motions to dismiss or reduce charges; grand jury indictments ensure that a defendant will go to trial on the charges against him and are usually reserved for felony charges.
File a Bill of Information
If there is not enough evidence to support a dismissal of the charges, the next best option is to reduce the charges you face. A bill of information provides the opportunity to request a reduction of the charges when there is insufficient evidence to support the charges. The District Attorney determines the appropriate charges depending on the evidence provided in the police report. Oftentimes, the D.A. may exaggerate charges in order to exert pressure on the defendant to settle a deal or testify against a co-defendant. If you face felony charges in Louisiana, it is of the utmost importance that your criminal defense attorney reviews the bill of information carefully to detect such instances.
Present Crucial Evidence
Prior to the filing of a bill of information or grand jury indictment, an attorney fighting felony charges can take steps to weaken the D.A.'s case.
- Provide physical evidence: In some cases, it may be possible to provide direct statements from the victim(s) involved that cast doubt on the allegations against the defendant. Your attorney can provide such a statement in writing to the D.A.'s office in addition to any other evidence that supports your innocence.
- Schedule hearings in front of the judge: Hearings introduce the evidence into the official record as a way to document the evidence presented to the D.A. When the evidence is established, the D.A. must face the fact that the evidence will be introduced in front of the jury at trial.
- File motions to present evidence in front of the judge.
Any and all available evidence should be presented to support the dismissal of the case. Suppose your attorney provides all possible documentation, DNA evidence, recordings, photographs/ video, witness statements, and so forth to support your innocence. In that case, it could cause the D.A. to question the strength of his case as he realizes that he may very well lose. The more evidence presented, the closer the D.A. can be “pushed” to the tipping point when the case will be dismissed.
Competent & Credible Criminal Defense Lawyers Near You
If you are up against felony charges in the state of Louisiana, you must act quickly if you want to have your charges dismissed. Upon knowledge or suspicion charges may be filed against you, the first step you should take is to find an experienced criminal defense lawyer you can trust. The best criminal defense lawyers in Louisiana will work hard to have your charges dismissed before you go to court, as it's always best to avoid a jury trial.
Aaron Lawrence has handled over 500 criminal cases in Lincoln Parish and would be happy to discuss your case with you. Call or contact Lawrence Law Firm to discuss the possibility of obtaining a dismissal or mitigating criminal charges before they are brought to trial at 318.232.4000.
The blog published by Lawrence Law Firm is available for informational purposes only and is not considered legal advice on any subject matter. By viewing blog posts, the reader understands there is no attorney-client relationship between the reader and the blog publisher. The blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney, and readers are urged to consult their own legal counsel on any specific legal questions concerning a specific situation.