Understanding Your Rights

What Are The Odds A Judge Will Dismiss A Case Against You?

When a criminal law attorney examines a case, one of the first things they'll look for is potential grounds for the judge to dismiss the case. Courts dismiss charges for many reasons, including police or prosecutorial misconduct, incorrect paperwork, flawed legal logic, and insufficient evidence.

Defendants often wonder what the odds of dismissal are. A lawyer can't give you a solid number, but they can look at the following factors that might improve the odds.


Cops and prosecutors are often prone to overcharging cases. Not only do they often accuse defendants of worse offenses than the evidence justifies, but they frequently bring more charges than are necessary.

Suppose the state brings retail theft charges against a defendant. The prosecution might charge the defendant with multiple offenses for allegedly going back into the same store. A criminal law attorney might argue that the prosecutor overcharged the case and that the court ought to drop all but one of the charges. Even if the judge doesn't dismiss every charge, simply reducing the number of charges may reduce the associated penalties.

Wrong Charges

Judges generally don't like when prosecutors bring the wrong charges. If the state hits someone with a drug trafficking charge when the case looks more like simple possession, that's problematic. Some judges will dismiss the case entirely, while others may reduce the charges.

Legal Logic

Police and prosecutors also frequently fail to see the legal logic in play in a situation. The classic example is criminal defense law is self-defense. A responding police officer might not have the entire picture when they arrive at the scene. Rather than sorting things out, the cop may charge everyone with some combination of assault, battery, and disorderly conduct. If the prosecution doesn't look too closely at the details of the case, they may not catch the self-defense angle.

A criminal law attorney oftentimes has to be the one to explain what happened to the judge. They will then ask the judge to dismiss the charges based on your right to self-defense.

Incorrect Paperwork

Some judges also hold the state to high standards regarding paperwork. If the cops spelled your name wrong or the state didn't list your correct address on the filings, a defense lawyer will usually ask the court to dismiss the case.

Insufficient Evidence

Finally, when the state brings a case before the court, the prosecutor has to explain why there's enough evidence to support the charges. The defense might show a video supporting its argument or undermines the state's position to the point the judge throws the matter out.

For more information, reach out to a local law office, such as Cohen Law Offices, LLC.