How Often Can Charges Be Dropped, Dismissed Or Reduced?
The best chance you have of getting charges reduced or dropped is to hire an experienced defense lawyer with ties to the prosecutor’s office and who knows the people and the players because they know which buttons to push to get the best results. Each case is completely different but in 80% of the cases I handle, things are made so much better with litigation that it becomes a no-brainer for a client to take a plea and in the other 20%, we feel so strongly about the case that we take it to trial and let the chips fall where they may.
It all goes back to whether to plead guilty or not, because once you plead not guilty, the prosecutor now has to give you something for you to take a plea. There are some poorly crafted statutes where, if you are convicted, you go to jail for two years and if you enter a plea, the least they can offer you is two years, so you’re getting the same sentence no matter what, so you’ll at least have a chance to get something better at trial. So, better crafted laws give the prosecutors and the courts wide discretion as to what they can do; even if it’s a plea to a third degree offense and you’re facing three to five years, the prosecutor may offer three years’ probation for a plea or go to trial and ask for five years in jail, and that‘s a pretty big difference; with one, you go home every night and with the other, you are in jail.
Something has been happening with the law for the last few years; prosecutors and legislators are trying to come up with a system that would basically eliminate the incentive to get a lawyer. The way to take away a man’s rights is similar to boiling a frog; you put them into a pot of cold water and you slowly turn up the heat to the point where he doesn’t know he’s being cooked until it is too late.
One example I’ll give you is red light camera tickets. Before they were done away with, red light camera tickets in New Jersey were an $85 fine with no points; they wanted to change your behavior, but to do so by taking away your money and they decided to penalize people in a way that would not make them get a lawyer because they didn’t want lawyers fighting those charges. People knew they did nothing wrong, but they also knew it wasn’t worth retaining a lawyer for that.
Eventually, somebody came forward and started taking these cases on principle; they planned to spend all of the money necessary to handle this case and appeal it if necessary, and they got a decision which weakened the state’s ability to handle these cases.
They also tried to do the same thing with DWI; they were going to replace suspensions. New Jersey has some of the toughest DWI laws in the country; they don’t put people in jail for the first couple of offenses, but they do take away their license, for a year for a first offense and two years for the second, so they decided that, instead of a license suspension, they would require them to put an ignition interlock device on their car, in order to make people say, because they get to keep driving, they don’t need a lawyer; they’re being deprived of their freedom.
It’s taking away people’s rights a little at a time. The government doesn’t like that people are fighting a lot of DWI cases in New Jersey and they’re slowing down the process, and they’re winning. The good part of this is, police know they have to follow every procedure and courts know that they need to protect every person’s rights because, if they don’t, the case will be reversed on appeal or be dismissed. If you take attorneys out of the equation, police will know that no one is watching and they arrest people they shouldn’t.
That would reduce the backlog in court but I don’t think it’s a great idea. Right now, it’s hard to go a day without seeing stories about allegations of police misuse of force and many of these cases have started with innocuous encounters with the police. There was a gentleman in the Bronx who died after an encounter with the police over selling loose cigarettes and another in Missouri over stealing cigars, and one in South Carolina who was pulled over for unpaid traffic tickets and child support. Police are free to arrest people for really minor things and not use discretion to let them go because nothing goes to trial anymore; too many cases plead out.
If every case went to trial and the police had to prove what they did on every case, the number of arrests would go down; they wouldn’t have the manpower to handle it. By creating a situation where fewer cases go to trial and fewer lawyers are retained, the government is trying to increase government power and take power away from the people.
What is the Best Way to Contact You For A Consultation?
Pick up the phone and give us a call. Our number is (732) 898-0780 and you can find a great deal of information on our website, located at www.jabatelaw.com. You can download some articles, find reviews of us and other attorneys and you can find some real knowledge and request a consultation through the website. Those are probably the two main ways for people to contact us, although if worse comes to worse, you can come into the office, at 7 East High Street in Somerville, New Jersey.
For more information on Dismissal or Reduction of Criminal Charges, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you’re seeking by calling (908) 210-9755 today.
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