By: South Sound Law Group

What Happens When Charges Get Dropped or Dismissed?


It’s really dismissed with prejudice vs dismissed without prejudice. If a case is dismissed without prejudice then the prosecutor can refile the case anytime within the statute of limitations. If a case if dismissed with prejudice then it cannot be re-filed at anytime in the future.

What Happens When Charges Are Dropped?

The downside of having charges dropped is that the prosecutor retains the option to reinstate the charges later. They may drop charges because they don’t feel they have enough evidence to convict at that time but think there’s a possibility for additional evidence to be introduced eventually. If that happens, the charges are reinstated, and the case can go to court. 

What Happens When Charges Are Dismissed?

Dismissed charges are much more likely to remain dismissed. That means the person charged is much less likely to have the possibility of reinstated charges facing them in the future. The reason is that charges are usually dismissed later in the prosecution when the likelihood is that enough problems have been discovered in the case to make it not worth pursuing.

What Are Some Reasons Charges Are Dropped or Dismissed?

There can be several reasons for dropping or dismissing a charge. As mentioned above, one reason is that the prosecutors don’t think they have enough evidence at that moment to convict, so they opt to drop the charge in case more evidence surfaces later.

Some other reasons for dropping or dismissing charges:

Technicalities. Police officers have specific procedures when charging, arresting, booking, and having someone wait for a criminal trial. If those procedures aren’t followed, that can derail the prosecutorial process.

Lack of resources. An overwhelmed prosecutor may have to cut their caseload by determining which crimes most urgently need attention. Others may be dropped for lack of staff to handle them.

Violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights. Suppose evidence was obtained illegally, such as without a search warrant. In that case, that can be grounds for dropping or dismissal, as the evidence obtained illegally will not be allowed to enter the courtroom.

The defendant is working with authorities. Suppose a defendant is willing to testify against another person charged with crimes or act as an informant to help prosecutors build evidence against another person. In that case, they may have their charges dropped. 

Let Us Advise You

Call us at 253-383-3328 to learn more about getting criminal cases dropped or dismissed.