What are the possible ways my case may be resolved?
Typically, criminal cases are resolved in one of the following ways;
- The State Drops the Charges
- Being proactive and hiring an experienced defense attorney quickly may led to the State dropping your case. For example, the fact that the police make an arrest does not necessarily mean that formal charges will be filed by the State Attorney’s Office. Prior to the arraignment, the State Attorney will make a filing decision based upon information received from the police reports and witness statements. Unfortunately, the State will not make any attempt to contact you to get your side of the story. Because the State needs to know about witnesses you may have as well, hiring an experienced criminal defense attorney prior to the arraignment is often a huge advantage and may preclude the charges from ever being filed. If formal charges are filed however, the State can always elect to drop these charges. Having an aggressive and experienced defense attorney on your side often plays a role in influencing the State’s decision to do so.
- Diversion Programs
- Deferred Prosecution Program (DP) – In some misdemeanor cases, the State may offer a Deferred Prosecution to resolve your charges. A deferred prosecution usually involves the payment of a fine and/ or the completion of community service hours in exchange for the State not going forward with a criminal prosecution in your case. This offer is generally only available prior to or at arraignment. You should consult with one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys to determine your eligibility for this program.
- Pre-Trial Intervention Program (PTI) – This type of program may be available in certain misdemeanor and felony cases. PTI is usually only an option for first time offenders charged with qualifying offenses. The Prosecutor will not make an offer of PTI. A specific request must be submitted by your defense attorney. Pre-Trial Intervention will allow you to be placed on a period of supervision and will require the completion of specific condition such as community service, classes and/or the payment of restitution. Once the period of supervision is successfully completed, pending charges are dismissed.
- Drug Court – In some instances you may qualify for Drug Court. Drug Court is an extensive diversion program which allows those who complete it successfully to have their charges dropped. It is an 18 month program and requires very active participation in drug rehabilitation.
- Mental Health Court – In some instances you may qualify for Mental Health Court. Participation of Mental Health Court requires that you have been diagnosed with an Axis 1 diagnosis and it is only available for misdemeanor charges. This program requires weekly court appearances for a period of time but completion of the program results in the charges being dismissed.
- Veterans Court – In some instances you may qualify for Veterans Court. Participation in Veterans Court requires that you are classified as a Combat Veteran (CVD) and that you are suffering from a military based mental illness or substance abuse. Completion of the program results in the dismissal of the charges.
- Plea Negotiations
- Many factors play a part in a decision to enter into plea negotiations with the State and it is important to discuss your individual case with an experienced criminal defense attorney. Most judges will allow and accept plea negotiations on new law offenses, but not on Violation of Probation cases. Having handled thousands of criminal cases, our attorneys are skilled and experienced in making an assessment of your own personal situation to determine if a plea negotiation is the best route for you.
- Sometimes the only way to resolve a criminal case is through a jury trial. Our attorneys are unique in that they have tried hundreds of cases on both sides of the criminal justice system. As former State prosecutors, our attorneys can anticipate what to expect from the prosecution in a jury trial and will be prepared to counter their case with an aggressive defense.