February 21, 2024
If you are facing criminal charges, don’t think your sentencing is inevitable. There are a number of different things that a skilled Denver criminal lawyer can do to help you get your charges reduced, dismissed, or dropped.
You may be able to make a plea agreement with the prosecution, admitting your guilt in exchange for lesser charges. Alternatively, some Colorado defense attorneys have a successful track record at getting charges dropped before the case even goes to trial by using a pretrial motion to dismiss.
What are pretrial motions? These are requests made to the judge before the trial begins. Most pretrial motions involve admitting or excluding evidence in the trial. However, the motion to dismiss is different. It is specifically meant to stop a trial before it begins.
If a pretrial motion to dismiss is successful, you may be spared the financial and reputational costs you would otherwise endure in a trial, as well as the punishments. However, the motion puts your fate squarely in the hands of the judge, who may or may not look favorably upon your case.
When your Denver criminal defense attorney files a motion to dismiss, the judge allows the prosecution to respond in writing. He or she then sets a date for both sides to argue their positions, and will normally decide that day whether to grant or deny the motion.
Several circumstances may justify the pretrial motion to dismiss, including the following.
Lack of evidence
Prosecutors must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime with intent. Even if evidence exists, there may not be enough to make a conviction. Prosecutors must have a solid body of evidence. If that’s lacking, your charges may be dropped.
Lack of resources
Sometimes prosecutors bear a heavy workload, and aren’t able to adequately take on every case assigned to them. They often use their resources on cases with high priority. If your crime is minor, or if prosecutors aren’t sure they can win against you, the case may be dismissed.
Statute of limitations
In many cases, a time limit exists between the alleged act of the crime and the time charges can be filed. If too much time has passed, the prosecution cannot pursue the case.
Right to a speedy trial
After the charges have been made, the defendant’s case must be sent to trial within a reasonable time. When the government causes a delay that exceeds reasonable limits, the trial may be dismissed.
First time offense
If you’ve been accused of a minor crime, and you have no previous criminal history, the prosecution may grant you a waiver.
If you’ve been acquitted of a crime, you can’t be tried again for the same crime. This is termed double jeopardy by the court system.
Lack of witness
Sometimes the crime victim or a witness to the crime decides not to press charges or come forward with a witness statement. If the prosecution does not have a strong witness, the case may be dropped.
Willingness to cooperate
Your ability to help prosecutors with other criminal cases may allow you to work out a deal so the charges can be lowered or dropped altogether.
As you can see, there are a lot of potential options. Whatever your situation is, it’s important to consult with a Denver criminal lawyer to discuss the specific details of your case. They will be able to advise you on the best course of action and help you to proceed.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.