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Can I Get My Charges Dropped Before a Court Date in North Carolina?


Facing criminal charges is intimidating and can make you worry about the future. It’s essential to remember that facing charges doesn’t guarantee a conviction. You’re innocent until proven guilty, but you might not even have to worry about a potential trial. You could have your charges dropped before going to court. Dropped charges occur for various reasons and could have significant implications for your case. 

Who Can Drop My Charges in North Carolina?

Prosecutors have prosecutorial discretion, meaning they can pursue, reduce, or drop charges. They are the only individuals to make these decisions, and certain legal factors can influence their discretion, including: 

  • The seriousness of the offense
  • The evidence’s strength
  • Charging requirements
  • The defendant’s criminal history

What Specific Factors Can Lead to Dropped Charges?

Prosecutorial discretion can only go so far, and several factors could lead prosecuting attorneys to drop your charges, including: 

  • Insufficient Evidence – A prosecutor needs evidence to prove their charges, and without sufficient evidence supporting the charges, they can’t bring a case. 
  • Rights Violations – The prosecutor could drop your charges if law enforcement or another government entity violated your constitutional rights before, during, or after your investigation or arrest. 
  • Procedural Issues– Prosecutors must follow specific procedures while bringing charges, including meeting filing deadlines and discovery requirements. Failure to meet these requirements could result in dropped charges. 
  • Arrest Warrant Issues – An invalid arrest warrant can lead to dropped charges, as law enforcement should never have taken you into custody. 

How Can a Criminal Defense Attorney Help?

criminal defense attorney is a critical ally and can help you avoid jail time. They can help get your charges dropped by: 

  • Presenting Exculpatory Evidence – An iron-tight alibi or other evidence supporting your innocence and inability to commit the accused crime can result in dropped charges. 
  • Challenging Evidence – Your lawyer can file motions to suppress evidence, weakening the state’s case and reducing the prosecution’s ability to secure a conviction. 
  • Uncovering Inconsistencies – While your lawyer investigates the case details, they may discover inconsistent witness statements or rights violations that can severely weaken the case against you. 
  • Arranging Pretrial Diversion Programs – If eligible, your attorney could argue for your participation in a pretrial diversion program, which some states, including North Carolina, offer as an alternative to the trial process. These supervised release programs intend to rehabilitate eligible defendants and typically involve attending counseling, community service, paying fines, or meeting other requirements. 
  • Negotiating a Plea Bargain – In situations involving severe charges carrying lengthy imprisonment, your attorney might be able to negotiate a plea deal with prosecutors for lesser charges. Some defendants might feel uncomfortable with a plea agreement as it involves pleading guilty to a criminal charge, even in exchange for reduced consequences. 

Contact a North Carolina Criminal Defense Attorney

If you’re facing criminal charges, you need a criminal defense attorney to defend and represent your best interests. At Greenwood Law, we serve clients across North Carolina, especially Winston-Salem, and we’re dedicated to providing a vigorous defense against your charges. 

Call us today to get started. 

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