Is it Possible to Have Federal Criminal Charges Dropped?

 Posted on January 30, 2024 in Federal Crimes

IL defense lawyerIf you are awaiting trial for federal criminal charges, the process can be agonizing. Between pre-trial hearings and meetings with your attorney, you are more than ready to put the entire ordeal behind you. 

While the vast majority of criminal cases are resolved through plea bargains, others never make it to trial due to other factors. If you are facing federal criminal charges, do not hesitate to contact a Chicago criminal defense lawyer.

Reasons Criminal Charges May Be Dropped

A prosecutor may drop charges against a defendant in the following circumstances:

Prosecution Has Not Met Burden of Proof

In every criminal case, the prosecutor must prove the defendant's culpability beyond what we call a reasonable doubt. This is the highest standard in criminal law, meaning that based on the information available, a person of reasonable intelligence would draw the conclusion that you committed the alleged crime.

The most common reason for failing to meet this burden is insufficient evidence. If it is unlikely that the state will win the case due to lack of evidence, then a prosecutor will most likely drop the charges.

Illegally Obtained Evidence

Most searches conducted by law enforcement require a warrant. If a police officer searches your home or vehicle without a warrant and you do not provide consent, chances are that any obtained evidence will be inadmissible. 

Additionally, any evidence that is obtained as a result of illegally obtained evidence must be thrown out. This is known as the fruit of the poisonous tree doctrine

If this illegally obtained evidence was key to the prosecution’s case, there is a high likelihood that there will be insufficient evidence to prosecute you.

Failing to Read Miranda Rights

The Fifth Amendment protects the accused from self-incrimination. If a police officer fails to read these rights upon your arrest, then any testimony that you give will be unusable by the prosecution.

These rights are known as Miranda Rights, after the landmark case Miranda v. Arizona. In Miranda, the defendant was taken into police custody, where he was questioned for two hours. He then signed a written confession that was admitted into evidence.

At trial, Miranda was found guilty, and the Supreme Court of Arizona affirmed the lower court’s verdict. The defendant appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court reversed the decision, stating that the defendant was not made aware of his right to remain silent and to have an attorney present at questioning. The Supreme Court held that any testimony given by a defendant without being read their Fifth Amendment rights should be excluded at trial. 

Dropped versus Dismissed Charges

Although the two concepts are often confused, having charges dropped is different than having charges dismissed. The main difference is when it takes place in the course of your case. 

Dropped charges will usually happen before your case proceeds to court, while dismissed charges typically happen if the judge or district attorney realizes that they do not have enough evidence to incriminate you. 

A seasoned Chicago criminal defense lawyer will file the necessary motions to help you achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

Contact a Chicago, IL, Criminal Defense Lawyer Today

If you are facing federal criminal charges, you want experienced counsel to defend you. Our Chicago, IL, criminal defense lawyer has nearly 20 years of experience representing clients in federal court and is ready to assist you. To schedule your free consultation, contact Law Offices of Hal M. Garfinkel LLC, Chicago Criminal Defense Attorney online or by calling 312-629-0669.

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