Prosecutors are not unassailable gods of justice. They’re human, and they have personal biases like anyone else. It’s not uncommon to meet a prosecutor who has pre-conceived notions about a case before the evidence is even processed. If you find yourself facing criminal charges, you need to be aware of how the prosecutor thinks and what he or she is looking for when making decisions about your case. High-stress situations like these require thoughtful preparation and diligence at all times. That’s where having a strong advocate on your side comes in handy. A lawyer can act as an intermediary between you and the prosecution to ease tensions and make sure that both sides understand each other as much as possible. Having legal counsel from the outset also helps, since it gives you an informed partner from day one rather than having to scramble for someone once trouble hits. In this article, we explore some effective strategies for convincing a prosecutor to drop charges against you in any given case.
How To Convince A Prosecutor To Drop Charges
Establish Character and Build Trust
Innocent people have nothing to fear from a court case, so they shouldn’t hesitate to take it all the way to trial if need be. Guilty people, on the other hand, would rather take a plea deal any day. If you put on a show of strength and conviction, it’s a good sign to the prosecutor that you’re innocent. If you ask for a deal because you know you’re guilty or because you don’t want to face the risk of losing at trial, the prosecutor will know that as well. If you’re up to the challenge, try to avoid pleading guilty at all costs, even if it means going to trial and risking a worse sentence.
Ask to have the charges dropped instead of pleading guilty
A prosecutor may try to pressure you into admitting guilt, but you have the right to plead not guilty and have the charges against you dropped. This is a great strategy when you’re innocent but the evidence against you is strong. Let the prosecutor know that you understand he or she has a job to do, but that you have nothing to hide and are ready to fight the charges in a court of law.
Show there’s no evidence for the charge
This is easiest to do if the evidence is against you. For example, let’s say the police say that you were driving under the influence. You know for a fact that you had only one drink the whole night, but the police found that drink in your car. The most obvious course of action here is to claim entrapment. You were given an opportunity to turn the drink in and walk away, but the police made you drive the car home and keep the drink in the car.
Show that more serious crimes were committed by the same party
The prosecutor has a lot of discretion when deciding what charges to bring against whom. If you’re charged with a relatively minor crime, but the police have evidence that you committed a much more serious crime, you should address the issue of the more serious crime. For example, let’s say that you were at a house party and a fight broke out. You broke up the fight, but in the process, one person was injured. The police came, arrested everyone for disorderly conduct, and found some drugs. You’re facing a possession charge, but the police also have evidence that another guest at the party was dealing drugs. You should let the prosecutor know that he or she has a much more serious drug problem on their hands, and that you and your lawyer are ready to help them clean it up.
Show that there is evidence of police misconduct or unlawful search
If you have evidence of police misconduct or an unlawful search of your property, bring it to the prosecutor’s attention. Let him or her know that you don’t just want this charge dropped; you want an apology and a promise to never do what the cops did to you again. The key to this is to have evidence. For example, let’s assume that you were pulled over for a minor traffic violation and the police found drugs in your car. In this case, you’re facing a possibly life-changing conviction for drug possession. But what if the police never read you your rights or informed you of the reason for the stop? It’s possible that you could get the charges dropped and even sue the police for violating your rights.
Show that you’re a victim, not a perpetrator, of any charged crime
This is a good strategy when you were charged with one crime but were a victim of another. For example, let’s say that you were charged with child neglect for leaving your child in the car unattended for about a minute. You could make the case that you were actually a victim of reckless driving by the driver who cut you off and caused you to park abruptly. This same strategy can be applied in many situations, like when you were the victim of identity theft or fraud. Let the prosecutor know that you have been wronged and are ready to do what it takes to clean up the situation.
Negotiate only if the prosecutor is already willing to drop charges
As we mentioned earlier, prosecutors have a lot of discretion in making decisions about criminal cases. You can’t just go up to a prosecutor and say, “Hey, let my friend off!” and expect it to work. However, if you already have a strong case and the prosecutor is willing to drop the charges, it’s best to negotiate a settlement. You don’t want to push the prosecutor too far and make him or her angry. It’s like dating: don’t make any big moves until they’re sure that you’re interested.
How Do I Find An Attorney That Is Right For My Situation?
- Ask your friends and family. Chances are, you know someone who knows an attorney. For example, you might have a friend whose father is an attorney or a cousin who works in the legal department of a large company.
- Check out the internet. There are lots of websites that let you search for an attorney by your location, area of law, and/or experience level. For example, www.martindale.com has a directory with thousands of attorneys across the United States where you can search by location or area of law. The website also lets you search for attorneys by name if you already have one in mind (www.martindale.com/find-a-lawyer).
- Go to your local courthouse and talk to people there about attorneys that they know or trust. Also, keep in mind that court clerks often know which attorneys are good at negotiating with prosecutors on their client’s behalf or working with clients who need special attention, such as those on probation or parole.
When you’re facing criminal charges, it’s easy to feel as though you’re up against an impenetrable wall of power. In reality, though, prosecutors don’t want to see their case fail any more than you want to see your charges dropped. By approaching the situation with a strong sense of confidence and trust in the evidence in your favor, you can convince a prosecutor to drop charges in almost any case. With the right strategy and legal counsel, the odds are in your favor.
Q: What if the prosecutor doesn’t drop the charges?
A: If the prosecutor refuses to drop the charges, you can still fight them. Speak with a criminal defense attorney about your case.
Q: Can I just plead guilty and get a reduced sentence?
A: No, pleading guilty is not an option if you want to prove your innocence. You can only plead guilty if you are actually guilty.
Q: What do I do if I’m arrested?
A: This is a question that we at Best Legal Defenders have been asked many times. The short answer is to remain silent. Although you might feel like speaking up, any statement you make can be used against you in court. Even if the police have the wrong person, it’s better to remain silent and let your lawyer handle things for you.
Q: What happens if I don’t remain silent?
A: If you speak with police or prosecutors without an attorney present, anything that you say can be used against you in court. Remember, anything that comes out of your mouth could be taken as a confession of guilt and used against you in court.
Q: Can they search my car or home?
A: If the police have probable cause to believe something illegal is going on, they can search your car or home without a warrant. However, they must show reasonable suspicion before they search your vehicle or home and must turn over anything illegal that they find as evidence to prosecutors.
Q: Can I refuse a search?
A: You cannot refuse a search when there is probable cause for one; however, it is advised that if there is reasonable suspicion for one, but not probable cause that it should not be searched at the time because evidence may be thrown out of court if the search was deemed unreasonable.
Q: Can I be searched without probable cause?
A: No, if there is no probable cause for a search, it cannot be conducted without a warrant