How to Get a Domestic Assault Charge Dismissed in Minnesota
If you are facing charges of domestic assault in Minnesota, it could be possible for you to see those charges dismissed by the state. While no one wants to be arrested on allegations of domestic assault, a dismissal of the charges against you could help you restore your name and avoid the possibility of jail time.
A dismissal is a possible outcome, but it is not guaranteed. In order to obtain a dismissal, it is necessary to build a strong case in your defense. If you can show the prosecution that they lack the evidence needed for a conviction, your case could be dismissed.
You do not have to take on this difficult challenge alone. The right attorney could serve as your advocate while building a defense strategy that allows you to avoid a conviction. Reach out to the attorneys of Gerald Miller today to get started.
The Power to Dismiss Charges
The right to dismiss criminal charges once they have been filed is limited. This right primarily rests with the prosecution, although the judge could also dismiss your case as well.
The Prosecutor Could Dismiss Your Charges
When you are seeking a dismissal of your domestic assault charges, the prosecutor is the first person you should talk to. The state has the ultimate power to bring criminal charges, and they also have the right to dismiss them.
A prosecutor has the right to dismiss your case, but that does not mean they will do so willingly. Most prosecutors aggressively pursue domestic assault cases for political reasons, even when there is little evidence of a conviction.
The best way to secure a dismissal in your case is to show the prosecutor that moving forward is unlikely to lead to a conviction. This could involve providing a strong defense. Often, prosecutors agree to dismiss the case when a complaining witness recants their allegations or refuses to assist in your prosecution.
The Judge Could Dismiss Your Charges
It is also possible for the judge in your case to dismiss the domestic assault charges against you. The judge could not only order your charges dismissed, but they could also do so with prejudice. This type of dismissal forever bars the prosecution from bringing the charges against you in the future.
While the judge has the power to dismiss the case, they will typically not do so on their own accord. In order for the judge to consider dismissal, you and your attorney will likely need to pursue a motion requesting a dismissal.
You must have a valid ground for your motion to dismiss. Without it, the judge will have little choice but to allow the charges against you to move forward. Some of the common defenses that result in a successful motion to dismiss include violations of speedy trial rules, a breach of the statute of limitations, or an unlawful search or seizure.
The Complaining Witness Cannot Dismiss Your Charges
Your domestic assault charges resulted from allegations made by a complaining witness. That person—likely a family member or romantic partner—had the power to notify the police and initiate the case against you. However, they do not have the power to drop those charges. Once a report is made to the police, only the state can determine how a criminal case will proceed.
In fact, the prosecution could move forward with the case against you even if the complaining witness refuses to participate. The prosecution could issue a subpoena and require the complaining in your witness to testify, or simply bring the case without their assistance.
This might be an option, but many prosecutors reconsider their case when the complaining witness refuses to participate. A prosecutor might agree to drop the charges voluntarily at the request of a witness, or decide they do not have enough evidence of a conviction to move forward. Either way, it could impact your case dramatically if the complaining witness chose not to participate.
Is It Harder to Get Domestic Assault Charges Dismissed Compared to Standard Assault?
Depending on the prosecutor, it could be more difficult to secure the dismissal of the domestic assault charges against you compared to other assault charges. This is because these charges carry steeper penalties, and there is often greater political pressure for prosecutors to aggressively pursue these cases.
That said, these criminal charges are very similar to other assault cases. A strong defense strategy could push the prosecutor to dismiss the charge against you. With the help of our firm, a favorable outcome could be possible.
What if the State Won’t Dismiss the Charges Against You?
If you have been arrested and charged with domestic assault, there is no question that the best-case scenario is for the state to dismiss all of the charges against you. However, that is not always possible. The good news is that there are other ways to secure a positive outcome in your case outside of a dismissal.
It is not uncommon for domestic assault charges to result in a plea bargain. However, these plea bargains could be in the best interest of the accused depending on the details. In some cases, they might not even result in a conviction on your record.
In some cases, a plea bargain could result in a modification of the charges you face. For example, the state might agree to amend your charge to standard assault if you plead guilty. This could help you avoid the collateral consequences that come with a domestic violence conviction, like the loss of your right to own a firearm.
Another major factor regarding plea bargains is the impact they have on penalties. Even if you plead guilty, your plea bargain agreement could keep you out of jail or limit the number of fines you owe.
There are also times when a guilty plea will not result in a conviction at all. A judge could defer entering your guilty plea for a set period of time. If you remain out of trouble during that time, the judge could dismiss the charge instead of entering the plea. Your attorney could assist you with negotiating a fair plea bargain.
Favorable Trial Verdict
The other possibility is that you take your case to trial and win. Domestic assault cases are defensible, and prevailing at trial is not uncommon. Whether or not you proceed to trial is a decision you should make with your attorney. While the best-case scenario is that you walk away without a conviction at all, the worst-case possibility is that you face penalties that are worse than what the state offered in a plea bargain. The strength of your case will depend on what option is in your best interest, but only you can decide if you want to go to trial or consider a plea.
Will a Dismissal Last Forever?
Whether or not a dismissal lasts forever depends on the type of dismissal the court enters. Dismissals with prejudice bar the state from ever bringing the charge again. That is not the case with a dismissal without prejudice. The attorneys of Gerald Miller could advise you when each option is on the table.
Dismissal with Prejudice
A dismissal with prejudice not only ends your case but also bars the state from filing the charge again. These dismissals usually occur when a judge rules on a motion to dismiss in your favor. If the basis of the dismissal would apply to any future prosecution, the court will typically dismiss with prejudice.
Dismissal without Prejudice
Dismissal without prejudice ends the case against you—but not necessarily forever. The state has the right to refile the charge, although they do not always do that. When a prosecutor dismisses a charge, they do so without prejudice. A judge could also dismiss with prejudice depending on the circumstances.
Talk to an Attorney About Your Domestic Assault Case
A dismissal could be possible in your domestic assault case. Even if the prosecutor will not agree to dismiss your charge, you could secure a favorable outcome in your case in other ways. The attorneys of Gerald Miller are ready to help you fight for the best possible outcome in your case. Call today for your free consultation.