If you don’t have any experience with the criminal justice system, you might assume everything is black and white. In other words, the charges you’re facing are the charges – nothing more, nothing less. But this isn’t true. There’s a lot of variability and flexibility in criminal cases. This means charges can actually be reduced or dropped after the fact. 

As attorney Ryan Beasley says, “Many people do not fully understand the seriousness or the urgency of criminal charges. If you have been arrested or investigated in connection with a crime, it is important to act quickly.”

Here are a few tips for acting quickly to potentially get your charges reduced or dropped:

1. Hire an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney

Find a good lawyer who specializes in criminal defense. The importance of this step can’t be overstated. A skilled attorney understands the law inside and out and knows how to navigate the complex legal system. They can talk to prosecutors, argue in court, and help you understand your rights. Sometimes, they might even have connections or insights into the local legal landscape, which can be very useful. 

The right lawyer can make a big difference in how your case turns out. It’s not that they know how to manipulate the system – they just understand how it works and can steer your case in the right direction based on the circumstances. You benefit as a result.

2. Understand the Details of Your Charges

You need to know exactly what you’re accused of, otherwise you can’t effectively fight back. Take the time to sit down with your attorney and go over every part of your charges. Ask questions, including: 

What law did I allegedly break? 
What evidence do they have against me? 
How serious are these charges? 
There are no stupid questions in a situation like this. Understanding your situation allows you and your lawyer a better chance to find ways to challenge the charges. They might be doing the heavy lifting, but you’re a team and your cooperation is required.

3. Consider Plea Bargaining

Plea bargaining is when you agree to plead guilty to a lesser charge in return for a lighter sentence or for other charges to be dropped. It’s a common way to reduce the impact of criminal charges. This can be a good option if the evidence against you is strong and going to trial seems risky. 

If you think this could be an option, your attorney can negotiate with the prosecutor on your behalf. They’ll work to get the best possible deal for you, which could mean less time in court, lower fines, or even avoiding jail time altogether.

4. Show Mitigating Circumstances

Mitigating circumstances are any factors that might lessen the severity of your actions. This could be something like having a clean record before this incident, acting out of necessity, or maybe you were under duress when the crime was committed. 

For example, let’s say you’re facing an assault charge. However, the reason you assaulted someone was because of self-defense. This would be a mitigating circumstance that, if brought to light, could lead to the charges being reduced or dropped.

If there are reasons why you acted the way you did, your lawyer can present these to the court. This doesn’t excuse the crime but can help in reducing your charges because it shows the judge or prosecutor that there are reasons to be more lenient with you.

5. Challenge the Evidence

If there’s any doubt about how the evidence against you was collected or if it’s legally valid, your lawyer might be able to challenge it. For instance, if evidence was gathered during an illegal search, it might not be admissible in court – meaning they can’t use it against you. This can significantly weaken the prosecution’s case and could lead to charges being reduced or even dropped entirely.

Adding it All Up

Just because you’re facing criminal charges doesn’t mean you have to give up and accept the charges. As this article shows, there are plenty of different ways to get charges reduced or even dropped. This all starts with hiring an attorney who can help you navigate the specific circumstances of your case, so make sure you begin there. Good luck!