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How Are Criminal Charges Dropped in Indiana? Contact Us
Indianapolis Criminal & OWI Lawyers > Blog > Criminal Defense > How Are Criminal Charges Dropped in Indiana?

How Are Criminal Charges Dropped in Indiana?


Being charged with a crime can be a scary experience. The potential consequences of a criminal conviction can result in significant stress and anxiety. However, if you are facing criminal charges in Indiana, you should understand that not all criminal charges result in a conviction. In some cases, criminal charges end up being dismissed, or “dropped.”. Prosecutors dismiss criminal charges for various reasons. Also, there are some ways defendants may seek to have their criminal charges dismissed. Below is more on how criminal charges are dropped in Indiana.

Advantages of Having Your Criminal Charges Dismissed

When your criminal charges are dismissed, it means the criminal proceedings against you are halted without a conviction. A criminal case can be dismissed at any stage of the criminal justice process. A criminal case can even be dismissed during a trial for various reasons. Having your criminal charges dismissed can offer several advantages, including the following;

  • Reflection of your innocence to the crime
  • Preservation of your reputation
  • Minimizing financial stress
  • Minimizing emotional stress
  • Preventing harsh consequences such as imprisonment, fines, and loss of certain rights
  • Preservation of personal and professional relationships
  • Avoidance of stigma
  • Peace of mind

Can Victims or Complainants Dismiss Charges in Indiana?

Often, people assume that victims or complainants can decide to drop charges. This is not true. The decision to drop criminal charges in Indiana rests with the county prosecutor. Indeed, whether a victim or complainant wishes to cooperate can impact the prosecuting attorney’s decision-making process. However, a victim’s or complainant’s wishes do not automatically result in charges being dismissed. For instance, in a domestic violence case, the prosecutor might still choose to pursue the case even if the victim refuses to cooperate. In some cases, when a victim changes their mind about cooperating, they may be compelled to testify. If they refuse to do so, they may be held in contempt of court, which could lead to them facing fines or jail time.

Why Would a Prosecutor Dismiss Charges?

A prosecutor may dismiss criminal charges for various reasons. The following are some of the common reasons that result in prosecutors dropping criminal charges:

  • Insufficient evidence: If the prosecutor believes they do not have sufficient evidence to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, they are bound by the Rules of Professional Conduct to dismiss the case. The prosecutor may come to this conclusion because of the evaluation of their own evidence or if the defense has enough of their own evidence to create reasonable doubt for the jury.
  • Procedural errors: If a prosecutor fails to meet procedural obligations, the Court may dismiss, or “discharge” the charges. Procedural errors may include violating discovery rules and failing to provide timely disclosure of evidence to the defense. Dismissal is an extreme remedy that Courts are reluctantly, and rarely, use.
  • Violation of Constitutional rights: These are usually errors that occurred during the investigation stage. For example, a violation of the Fourth Amendment right against search or seizure without probable cause or the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination [Miranda violation].

How Can a Criminal Defendant Get Their Charges Dismissed?

A criminal defense attorney can work to convince the prosecutor, or the Court, that the charges should be dismissed but they cannot, on their own, dismiss charges.  There are several ways a criminal defense attorn4ey can pursue dismissal, including the following:

  • Presenting exculpatory evidence, which is evidence that excuses, justifies, or absolves your guilt to the county prosecutor
  • Win legal challenges in Court

Contact Us for Legal Help

If you are facing criminal charges in Indiana and need legal help, contact a qualified Indianapolis criminal defense lawyer at Rigney Law LLC.

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