What Happens When Charges Get Dropped in Brooklyn?

DA Alvin Bragg Still Won’t Drop Charges Against Manhattan Woman Charged With Murder Who Say She Acted in Self-Defense. Or…Clumsy Photoshop of Guns Leads Queens DA to Drop Charges Against Man Accused of Menacing Ex-Business Partner. You see dropped charges in the news all the time, but they’re wildly misunderstood.

Getting charges dropped or dismissed is one of the best outcomes we can achieve in your criminal case. It’s certainly one we attempt whenever we have the grounds to do so.

Here’s everything you need to know about dropped or dismissed charges.

Who Can Drop Charges in Brooklyn?

Only the District Attorney may drop charges. Victims can’t, cops can’t. Once you’re arrested the best thing you can do is stay silent and demand a lawyer, because the only thing talking to the cops will do is make it harder to defend your case. Once they charge you, they can’t let you go.

This is because in New York, all crimes are considered to be crimes against the state, so only a representative of the state may drop charges against a suspect.

When cops ask “do you want to press charges” all they’re asking a victim is whether they want them to make an arrest. A police officer has discretion to arrest or not arrest as they see fit. This is a vital building block in the criminal justice system.

When can charges be dropped?

Charges can be dropped in any point in the process, all the way up to the date of your trial. 

When can charges be dismissed?

Charges may only be dismissed after they’ve been filed. 

With or without prejudice?

In either case (dropped charges, or dismissed) you need to be aware of whether the charges were dropped or dismissed with or without prejudice.

If dropped or dismissed without prejudice, the state can’t bring the same charges against you for the same crime. They may still bring charges for a similar crime that happened on a different date and time or to a different victim.

If dropped or dismissed with prejudice, the DA reserves the right to press charges again for the same crime if they obtain new evidence indicating you were the culprit.

Why Charges Get Dropped or Dismissed

We can get charges dropped or dismissed when:

  • There is insufficient evidence to charge you with the crime.
  • The cops did not have probable cause for the search they conducted which led to your arrest.
  • The cops performed an illegal arrest.

Recourse After Charges Are Dropped or Dismissed

Recently the US Supreme Court has made it much easier for victims of wrongful arrests to sue. A plaintiff only needs to show that his prosecution ended without a conviction, which would cover dropped or dismissed charges.

This is both good news and bad news. The good news is this decision is a lot more respectful of people’s rights. The bad news is it might be harder to get DAs to agree to drop or dismiss charges in the future, as they won’t want to open law enforcement to the lawsuit. 

Get Help Today

You will never be able to get charges dropped or dismissed on your own. Contact Ruskin Law to get help today.

See also:

What Brooklyn Residents Need to Know About False Arrests

Can a Victim Drop New York Criminal Charges?

What to Do When Stopped by Officers

Contact Neil S. Ruskin

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Office Location

Neil S. Ruskin
188 Montague Street Suite 900
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Local: (718) 237-1547
Fax: 718-875-4011