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What’s the Difference Between Dismissed and Dropped Charges?

If you or a loved one is arrested, it’s a time of uncertainty. If you’ve never been arrested previously, you may not understand the terms that are being thrown at you or what your next steps may be. If your arrest involves aggravated assault, the first step is to contact an aggravated assault attorney in Tampa. They will have the tools and knowledge necessary to achieve a positive outcome.

However, there are a few outcomes that are considered positive. You’ve heard of cases being dropped or dismissed. You’ve also heard of an individual being acquitted of all charges. Are they all the same? Are they different? Is one preferable over the other? This article will provide clarity on those questions.

Differences Between Dismissed and Dropped Charges

If you are arrested, a number of actions occur before you potentially go to trial. If a prosecutor feels he has enough evidence to obtain a guilty verdict, he or she will file criminal charges. At a preliminary hearing, a judge will evaluate a prosecutor’s case and if he or she thinks there is enough evidence, the case may go to trial. If there isn’t sufficient evidence, the case may get dismissed. The term “dismissed” applies to charges that have been filed. If you are arrested, but your charges don’t get filed for any number of reasons, including a victim’s refusal to cooperate, insufficient evidence, or new information revealed via DNA evidence, your case may be dropped. Charges can be dropped at any point by a prosecutor or an arresting officer, in certain cases. Judges cannot drop charges, but they can dismiss them.

How Does This Differ From an Acquittal?

If a case goes to trial and a prosecutor is unable to determine beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the charge, you will receive an acquittal. If you are acquitted, you cannot be tried again for the same crime. However, if your case is dismissed, the charges can be re-filed at a later date.

For a free consultation with an experienced aggravated assault lawyer in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm at (813) 712-8736 or submit our contact request form.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.