Filing a Pre-Trial Motion to Dismiss Criminal Charges
An effective criminal defense attorney will not wait for a case to go to trial before mounting a defense of his client. For example, the attorney might consider filing a pre-trial motion to dismiss the charges. The motion must be filed within a reasonable time after the defendant has been arraigned and can be filed before or after entering a plea.
The motion must be based on one of the following grounds for dismissal:
- Every defendant has a right to a speedy trial . If the trial is not commenced within the statutorily determined time frame then that is grounds for dismissal.
- A defendant may be prosecuted for several criminal offenses in the same trial. However, if the prosecution knows about these offenses and they all fall within a single court’s jurisdiction, then the offenses (usually) must be prosecuted in a single prosecution. If the state initiates a subsequent prosecution based on the defendant’s previous criminal conduct then that is grounds for dismissal.
- The prosecution is likely barred if the defendant was already prosecuted for the same offense, based on the same facts.
- If charges are not brought within a specific crime’s statute of limitations – or extended limitations period, if applicable – then that is grounds for dismissal.
- In some cases the defendant might be immune from criminal prosecution, which would also warrant dismissal. For example, a material witness in another criminal case may be granted immunity from prosecution based on his testimony.
- The charges can be dropped if the indictment was returned by a grand jury that was improperly selected or acted contrary to Illinois law and resulted in substantial injustice to the defendant.
- The court will dismiss the case if it does not have jurisdiction.
- The case may be dismissed if the particular county is not a proper place to hold the trial.
- If the charge does not state an actual offense then that is grounds for dismissal.
- If the indictment is based solely on the testimony of an incompetent witness then the charges will be dropped.
- If the defendant is misnamed in the charge and the misnomer results in substantial injustice to the defendant then the court can dismiss the case.
- Felony charges cannot be brought unless the defendant receives a preliminary examination or an indictment by a grand jury. If the prosecution does not comply with these requirements then that is grounds for dismissal.
Contact Us Today
There is no need to incur the expense or emotional toll of a trial if the criminal charges should not have been brought in the first place, or if the prosecution violated Illinois laws of criminal procedure. Our Will County criminal defense attorneys will pursue these and other procedural avenues as part of your defense. Contact us today for a consultation. We can assist those in Frankfort, Joliet and the surrounding area.