How To Get Charges Dropped Before Court Date

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Facing a criminal charge can be very intimidating for most people. The mere prospect of going to prison is enough to unnerve most people. They can lose their jobs, or their family could be left with no financial support. The accused or defendant in a criminal case should seriously consider getting the services of a lawyer to defend them.

If you’re facing charges, you might want to consider getting an attorney to help you drop the charges against you at the first possible opportunity. You can read more about a Florida motion to dismiss and other law-related articles to know how to get the charges against you dismissed early. Here are some of the ways by which your attorney can have the charges against you dropped even before the case becomes a full-blown trial.

  1. Motion To Dismiss On Grounds Of Self-Defense

The attorney can file a motion to dismiss if the actions of the accused or respondent were all done to defend him or herself. This would be a motion to dismiss based on the grounds of self-defense. A motion to dismiss that invokes self-defense as its primary ground is employing an affirmative defense, which can be a part of the defense strategy of the defendant.      

An affirmative defense basically means that the accused or respondent isn’t denying that the act or some elements of the act did happen. The essence of an affirmative defense is that the accused or respondent is arguing that he or she was legally justified in doing such actions. While the action itself may appear to be a crime or an offense, the accused or respondent does not have liability because it was justified in the first place.  

A more precise example would be when a burglar intrudes into the house of a homeowner and threatens the life of the homeowner or the family members. In such a scenario, the homeowner would be justified in getting a gun and firing at the burglar if the threat to his or her life or the life of a household member was already imminent.  

The motion to dismiss based on self-defense can have the charges against the accused or respondent dismissed. The accused or respondent should have a reasonable basis to consider that what he or she did was necessary. In this case, the accused should’ve been in a situation where the attacker who got hurt was about to or was already doing unlawful actions to the accused or respondent.

2. Motion To Dismiss On Factual Grounds

There are cases wherein both the plaintiff and the defendant agree on the fundamental aspects and facts of what happened. If they agree to such an extent that there’s no longer any need to determine other facts that are relevant to the case, then a full-blown trial may not be necessary. The accused or respondent may move for the judge to decide based on the facts at hand and to have the case dismissed. This is called a motion to dismiss based on factual grounds, also known as a C4 motion.

For example, a person driving a vehicle may have suddenly swerved from the correct lane to the embankment. As a result, the vehicle may have rammed into a person standing on the sidewalk. If the driver had no choice as the vehicle in his front suddenly halted without warning and the opposite lane was filled with oncoming vehicles, then his action of veering to the right and climbing the embankment could be justified. This is a form of self-preservation to avoid a threat to the driver’s life.

The legal basis for a C4 Motion to Dismiss is under Rule 3.190 (c)(4) of the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure. Under this rule, the court trying the case may entertain a C4 Motion to Dismiss anytime if it alleges that no material facts are being disputed. It should also raise the issue that the undisputed facts based on what both sides have raised aren’t enough to continue the trial against the accused.

However, the government agents may file a traverse that disputes or denies some or all of the material facts raised in the motion to dismiss. When this happens, it’s not unlikely that the C4 motion to dismiss would be denied. 

3. Motion To Dismiss Based On Statute Of Limitations

Another ground to have the charges against an accused or defendant dropped is the motion to dismiss based on the statute of limitations. The basic idea of the statute of limitations is that there’s a deadline for the prosecution or plaintiff to file the charges against the accused or defendant. In other words, they have to file the charges before a certain date arrives.

This is usually counted from the time that the crime was committed. However, in civil cases, this is counted from the time when events happened that would give rise to the cause of action. The accused or defendant may file a motion to dismiss alleging that the statute of limitations has passed when the prosecution or plaintiff fails to file the appropriate charges before the deadline lapses.  

The statute of limitations can range from one to 10 years depending on the nature and graveness of the crime. But some crimes aren’t covered by the statute of limitations, such as:

  • Felonies that are classified as capital or death penalty
  • Felony crimes when a person died as a result
  • Felony crimes which are penalized by life imprisonment
  • When the accused lied under oath in a case involving a capital felony
  • Human trafficking charges
  • Sexual battery charges. Wherein the crime was committed on July 1, 2020, onwards and if the victim hasn’t reached 18 years old yet

4. Motion To Dismiss On Grounds Of Speedy Trial

If the prosecution is taking too much time before they get the trial going, the accused or defendant can have the charges dropped on the ground of violation of the right of the defendant to a speedy trial. Under the Florida rules of criminal procedure, the trial of charges involving misdemeanors should start within 90 days from the time the accused was arrested. The trial of felonies should start within 175 days. Defendants can demand that the trial should start within 60 days after they are arrested. 

Conclusion

There are ways to have charges against an accused or defendant dropped even before the trial date. The typical action is to file a motion to dismiss. The defendant’s lawyer can invoke various reasons for a motion to dismiss. If the allegations raised in a motion to dismiss have merit, the court may throw away the case without going to trial.

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