Case Dismissed?

Charges Dismissed

The best criminal case is the one that never goes to trial. Through hard work and due diligence, our own Carl Johnson recently secured a significant case dismissal for a client. <Click here for the Story> That got us thinking, it might be time for a blog post on the ideal outcome for criminal charges. Here’s an idea of all the avenues he could have explored in order to bring about this win.

In order to file charges, the prosecution must have probable cause to show you committed the crime. One of the first things a defense attorney will look at is whether there is a chance the case may be dismissed. While realistically it’s not always possible, here are examples of some grounds for dismissal.

Establishing an Alibi

Proving one’s location at the time when a crime occurred is a good place to start. There are different ways to provide proof such as:

Receipts with date, time, and your name, from gas stations, restaurants, and stores.
Time cards from a place of employment, proving you were at work.
Reliable eyewitnesses who can confirm where you were at the time.
A time-stamped video, showing you in another location.

Of course, all these alibis will be investigated so they must be credible. But proving beyond a reasonable doubt that you were somewhere else when the crime was committed can lead to a dismissal of charges.

Other Exculpatory Evidence

This is additional evidence that could also possibly rule out a suspect. It can include things like crime scene evidence, DNA, witness testimony, and medical records. You might have a silver Jeep Grand Cherokee, but so does everyone else in the Midwest. Are specific vehicles identifiable through plates or bumper stickers? What if you are disabled or have an illness that would physically prevent you from committing the crime you are accused of? There are many things that can be investigated to rule out a suspect.

Police Errors During Investigation

It’s possible for law enforcement to make mistakes during arrests and investigations. They may not read Miranda rights to a suspect before questioning. They might conduct a search and seizure without warrants or other proper documentation. The crime scene could be compromised before they can put up the tape. Evidence can be improperly handled, processed, or stored. The police are human, and not infallible.

Coerced Confession

The prosecution cannot use a confession if it was not given voluntarily. This means that any coercion used by the police can result in the judge tossing out a confession. Coercion can include assault or threats of assault, not allowing food and or water for long periods of time, or refusing access to legal counsel.

Prosecutors Wait Too Long

A defendant in a criminal case has a right to a speedy trial under the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A violation of the speedy trial rule means that any conviction and sentence must be wiped out, and the charges must be dismissed if the case has not reached trial in a set amount of time. However, it’s not that simple. There are many ways for the prosecution to legally extend the period of time to trial. It’s very unlikely for a serious felony case to be dismissed on extended time alone.

Sometimes Charges Cannot Be Dismissed

Even if your charges are dismissed, your case might not go away. If charges are dismissed without prejudice, prosecutors are allowed to refile the charges if the police find new evidence. As a result, you should keep in contact with your criminal defense lawyer. Having an excellent defense attorney like those at Cafferty & Scheidegger is absolutely necessary. They can use other strategies to help reduce your charges. They will do their best to win your case at trial.

Contact our experienced team of Wisconsin lawyers

From the Cafferty & Scheidegger offices in Racine, our criminal defense lawyers defend the rights of people charged with state and federal criminal offenses throughout Southeastern Wisconsin. Contact the firm to arrange a free initial consultation with an experienced defense lawyer right away. You are welcome to text us 24 hours a day at 262-632-5000.

Why Choose Cafferty


Free Consultation

From our offices in Racine and Kenosha Wisconsin, the criminal defense lawyers at Cafferty & Scheidegger defend the rights of people charged with state and federal criminal offenses throughout Southeastern Wisconsin (Racine, Kenosha, Walworth). If you or a loved one is charged with a crime, contact us today to arrange a free initial consultation with an experienced Racine federal criminal defense attorney right away. For urgent matters, you are welcome to call or text us 24 hours a day at ‪(262) 632-5000.


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The attorneys at Cafferty & Scheidegger have excellent knowledge of the state and federal court system throughout Southeastern Wisconsin. They are aggressive trial lawyers that are recognized for integrity and hard work. Our law firm’s strength lies in our exceptional pre-trial investigation and case preparation. We come to the prosecutor’s office prepared with the facts and ready to help you get the best possible outcome for your charges. Our priority is always to keep you out of jail and avoid a conviction on your record, whenever possible.

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Proven Experience

The dedication of the team at Cafferty & Scheidegger to client service and their record of success has earned them listings as Wisconsin Super Lawyer® from 2008 through 2022. In addition, their reputation for high standards has earned them an AV Distinguished rating by Martindale-Hubbell. Cafferty & Scheidegger is backed by more than 28 years of trial skills and courtroom experience.

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