Getting a Criminal Charge Dismissed or Reduced

Jun 17th, 2022 | by Scott C. Thomas, Orange County Criminal Law Attorney

Have you Been Charged with a Felony Crime?

You need help! You’ve been charged with a crime and the authorities are already involved. You may feel like your life is over. You may feel as though all hope is lost.  You’re probably asking yourself, “How can I get these charges dismissed?”

It’s true that a criminal conviction can have serious repercussions as it relates to your life and future. However, suffering a conviction is not a foregone conclusion.  There are a myriad of ways to fight a case convictions are not the only outcome if you have criminal charges. Getting a criminal charge or case dismissed may be possible, but it’s always possible.  This can be rarely but is it easy?

What should you do first?  Hire an experienced Orange County attorney!

Getting a Criminal Charge Dismissed or Reduced

If you have done nothing wrong and are innocent, one of the benefits of hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney is having an advocate.  Your counselor in your corner to help get you through a stressful situation and demonstrate your innocence.  If successful, your case will be dismissed or you will be acquitted.

If you Committed a Crime

On the other hand, if you have committed a crime and do not have a viable defense, you really need an experienced criminal defense attorney.  Having one in your corner to see if there are any legal defenses, factual issues, or mitigating factors.  These can be used to negotiate for reduced charges or even an outright dismissal.

An experienced criminal defense attorney will investigate your case to mount the strongest possible defense or present the best mitigation.  This will increase the likelihood of charges being dismissed or reduced.

How can your attorney get your case dismissed or reduced?

Prosecutorial Dismissal or Reduction in Charges

An experienced criminal defense attorney will seek a prosecutorial dismissal or reduction by way of negotiation and litigation.

For example, a suppression motion may be appropriate, and if granted, will result in the prosecutor being forced to dismiss the case.  This is if there no evidence to prosecute the case.  Further, a prosecutor can reduce some felonies to misdemeanors by way of a PC 17(b) motion.

Additionally, depending on the offense and the Defendant’s prior history, an aggressive attorney may be able to seek prosecutorial diversion.  This is whereby a defendant has the opportunity to earn a dismissal.

Judicial Dismissal or Reduction in Charges

Unlike a prosecutor, generally, a judge cannot dismiss a charge or a case on the Court’s own motion.  This is rooted in the separation of powers doctrine.  A prosecutor being an executive officer has the power to bring and dismiss criminal charges.  However, a judge, a judicial officer, is not able to do this as this is an executive function. That being said, a judge does have the ability to reduce certain felonies to misdemeanors.
An experienced criminal defense attorney will seek to convince a judge to grant judicial diversion on a qualifying misdemeanor offense, whereby a defendant is given the opportunity to earn a dismissal.

What to Do if You Have Criminal Charges

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, it is important to hire a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Once an arrest is made, a prosecutor still has to decide whether or not to file a case, so the earlier you can get your lawyer involved, the better your chances are of getting a criminal charge dismissed, reduced, or not filed at all.

Contact us today for a free case evaluation.

Scott C. Thomas

Law Office of Scott C. Thomas
(949) 945-2085


FREE Case Evaluation

Practice Areas

No matter the nature of your criminal charges, Scott. C. Thomas can assist you through the legal process.

Criminal DefenseCriminal Defense

A criminal arrest, especially on felony charges can turn a life upsidedown, ruin a reputation, and put the defendant at serious risk for long-range punishments.

DUI & DWI DefenseDUI & DWI Defense

A local police or state patrol stop for suspicion of drunk driving shouldn’t be the end of the world for anyone — whether it’s your first offense or your third.

Drug ChargesDrug Charges

A guilty verdict in a criminal trial for methamphetamine manufacture or heroin trafficking can put you in prison for years.

White Collar CrimesWhite-Collar Crimes

Whether you are an executive or a receptionist, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty, and you have a right to your day in court.

Identity TheftFraud & ID Theft

In criminal law, fraud is a very broad category that includes a wide array of actions that many people do not even realize are crimes.

Violent CrimesViolent Crimes

A domestic violence complaint may have started with a “he said, she said” situation. Scott C. Thomas explores every strategy for having your charges reduced or dismissed.

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