When a person faces criminal charges, they may hear the terms “dropped” and “dismissed” used interchangeably. However, in legalese they mean two different things and the outcome of a case is very different depending on whether it is dropped or dismissed. Read on to learn about the distinction. Then contact Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell at (909) 920-0908 if you need legal assistance with a domestic violence charge.
What it means when charges are dropped
If a case is dropped by the prosecution, that means that the prosecution has made a decision to withdraw the charges against you. When they do so, the charges are stricken. The prosecutor may drop all charges related to a domestic violence case, or they may drop just one type of abuse charge and move forward with other charges.
The most common reason that prosecutors will drop charges against a defendant is because they no longer believe that they have enough evidence to win their case. This may be because they have uncovered additional information and believe the defendant to be innocent, or it may be that the facts they have just do not add up to enough to convince a jury or judge.
In domestic violence cases, this can happen if the prosecution is presented with evidence that the case was related to self-defense. In other instances, the prosecutor could agree to drop charges as part of an agreement with the defendant to engage in diversion or to plead guilty to certain charges in exchange for their more serious charges being dropped.
What it means when charges are dismissed
If a case is dismissed then a judge has found reason to stop the charges against the defendant. This may be because the judge found that there were legal errors or because they believe that there is insufficient evidence that the defendant committed the crime. Another example would be if the judge believed that the defendant did commit the acts they were accused of but did not find that the acts fit the legal definition of the crime they were accused of.
What it means when a defendant is acquitted
If the case is taken to trail and the jury finds the defendant not guilty, then this is known as an acquittal. Essentially, it means that the defendant has beat the charges. It may not mean that the jury believes the defendant is innocent, but it does mean that they believe the prosecution did not prove guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Domestic violence is a serious charge. California laws should be appropriately administered to hold the guilty accountable without sacrificing the freedom and good name of those who are not guilty. If you are involved in a domestic violence case, no matter which side you are on, then we recommend contacting Law Offices of Torrence L. Howell at (909) 920-0908 for a legal consultation right away.