Being charged with a crime of domestic violence in Indiana can be a complex and emotionally challenging experience. Many who find themselves facing such charges wonder if it would be possible to have their case dismissed. While Indiana law allows for the possibility of dismissal, it’s important to understand how this works and why it’s not a likely outcome.
The attorneys at the Marc Lopez Law firm are well versed in the intricacies of domestic battery cases. This blog aims to provide useful information about when dismissal of criminal charges is possible and when it isn’t.
Indiana Code on Motion to Resolve
Under Indiana law, there are certain conditions which can lead to the resolution of a case. The court may, upon motion of the defendant, dismiss the indictment or information upon any of the following grounds:
- The indictment or information, or any count thereof, is defective.
- Offenses or parties defendant have been misjoinded or multiple offenses have been alleged in the same count.
- The grand jury proceeding was defective.
- The indictment or information does not state the offense with sufficient certainty.
- The facts stated do not constitute an offense.
- The defendant has immunity with respect to the offense charged.
- The prosecution is barred by reason of a previous prosecution.
- The prosecution is not timely.
- The defendant has been denied the right to a speedy trial.
- There is a jurisdictional impediment to conviction.
So what does this all mean? While these grounds provide avenues for dismissal, they are technical, fact specific, and require in-depth knowledge of criminal procedure. The attorneys at the Marc Lopez Law Firm understand these exceptions, and they’re always looking for ways to use them to a client’s advantage.
The Complex Path to Court
The path from your home to a court hearing can be a relatively short one, but there are several steps involved. Let’s start from the phone call. Following this, a police officer will arrive to investigate. If the officer believes a crime has occurred, they file a report. This report is reviewed by a prosecutor, who determines whether to move forward with the case.
Finally, the information comes before a judge, and criminal charges are only filed if the judge is satisfied there is probable cause. This complex process involves multiple levels of professional review. In other words, to have charges dismissed, you essentially need to show that all three different levels of review–law enforcement, prosecutorial, and judicial–failed. This is not a likely scenario.
Misconceptions About Evidence and Resolution
Clients often hope that pointing out weaknesses–such as unreliable witnesses, or misconceptions about the incident–will lead to dismissal of the criminal charges. Sometimes, however, this can have the opposite of the intended effect. Highlighting flaws in the State’s case might prompt the prosecution to do something about it.
Under the Indiana Rules, the State is allowed to try and prove its case using circumstantial or otherwise weak evidence. Irrelevant evidence isn’t going to get in, but there are no rules against using circumstantial evidence to prove your case. Pointing out that the prosecution has weak evidence against you is not going to get your case dismissed.
The official rule is that evidence counts as “relevant” (and is therefore admissible) if:
- it has any tendency to make a fact more or less probable than it would be without the evidence; and
- the fact is of consequence in determining the action.
Furthermore, relevant evidence is admissible unless any of the following provides otherwise:
- the United States Constitution;
- the Indiana Constitution;
- a statute not in conflict with the Indiana Rules of Evidence;
- the Indiana Rules of Evidence; or
- other rules applicable in the courts of this State.
The attorneys at the Marc Lopez Law Firm have years of experience evaluating evidence. If you or someone you know is facing domestic violence charges, it’s crucial to hire a knowledgeable criminal defense attorney.
A Strategic Approach in Domestic Violence Cases
This dismissal of criminal charges is not something that can be accomplished by filing a motion. It requires a strategic and comprehensive approach to criminal defense, including the gathering of evidence and the deposing of witnesses. A dismissal is simply not going to happen without a thorough defensive investigation, and even then, it’s not an outcome you should bet on. This preparation may not be enough to earn a dismissal, but it should put you in a position to mount your best possible defense if the case goes to trial.
Make the Right Call
Confronting domestic violence charges in Indiana is a challenging experience. These charges carry potential long-term consequences beyond the possibility of jail time. Because of this, it’s important to understand your options.
The attorneys at the Marc Lopez Law Firm are committed to defending clients facing a variety of criminal charges, including domestic battery and other crimes of domestic violence. If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, contact the Marc Lopez Law Firm at 317-632-3642 for a free consultation, and remember–always plead the 5th!