Charges Dismissed Vs Dropped

When you are charged with a felony or a misdemeanor crime, life gets disturbed in almost every respect. Accordingly, to avoid the troublesome court processes, you start looking to get the charges dropped or dismissed. But you need to know whether dropping or dismissing charges is most suitable for you and what are the main differences between the charges dismissed vs. dropped.

In this respect, I’m here to help you understand the whole scenario with legal terms in the easiest way. First, let’s look at the overview of the Charges dismissed vs. dropped and then dive into the details.

The main difference between the drop vs. dismissed charges is that the drop of charges takes place at an earlier stage before the court. On the contrary, dismissal of charges may occur later in the court.

In the same way, the drop of charges is decided by the officer who arrested you or the prosecutor. In comparison, the judge can only decide the dismissal of charges in the court trial.

charges dismissed vs dropped
Charges Dismissed Vs Dropped

Besides their differences, the reasons causing both the drop as well the dismissal of charges are mostly the same.

In the underneath section, you will find detailed answers to the topic and its related terms.

What are Dropped Charges?

It means that the prosecutor decides to stop the charges against you, preventing the case from moving into the trial session. If he does not drop charges, you should know about How To Convince Prosecutor To Drop Charges.

A hearing is set to discuss the case when a person is arrested with a proper legal warrant. During this hearing, it’s decided whether to file the charges against you (defendant) or not if they are strong and sufficient enough. The prosecutor takes this decision.

The prosecutor holds exclusive rights to either drop or dismisses the case. After examining the case, if a prosecutor finds out the case cannot be moved ahead, they cancel it. Sometimes in case of a practical reason or insufficient changes, the prosecutor decides to drop the charges. So then, let’s look ahead to know the multiple reasons which make the charges drop.

Reasons to Drop the Charges

Nobody wants to miss the opportunity of dropping charges and reach the troublesome trial sessions.

With that said, most of the time, you are lucky enough to drop the charges against you in case of the following conditions.

1. Insufficient Evidence

When the criminal charges either claimed or filed against you are not enough to support the case, the prosecutor has no option but to drop the charges.

2. Clerical Issues

Law enforcement officers should follow simple steps while collecting your (defendant’s) personal data, such as your name, address, crime location, etc.

 Sometimes, when in a hurry or for any other reason, the officers lag in submitting your correct details resulting in spelling mistakes or entirely different and wrong details. These errors are not allowed in the law. Therefore the prosecutor will drop the charges even before passing the case to trial.

3. Cooperate in other cases

The prosecutor is most likely to drop the charges if the defendant agrees to help the prosecution find evidence against the other defendant or assist them in another case.

You (the defendant) can also choose to do voluntary tasks. They prove helpful in creating a good image in the prosecutor’s eyes.

See Also: Can Charges Be Dropped After Indictment?

4. Violation of the Fourth Amendment Law

It means the evidence obtained by violating the constitutional rights of the citizens so if any evidence is obtained illegally, such as the police breaking into your house without a legal warrant.

Then in this situation, you have full right to claim for the drop of your charges. Even if the prosecutors know that the law enforcement violated the fourth amendment law, they will drop the charges themselves without your claim for the drop.

5. Insufficient Resources

The prosecutors have many essential cases to handle. That is why they thoughtfully give their time to a case, based on how much time a case needs. Accordingly, sometimes they are stuffed with so many important cases that they may drop your charges due to insufficient resources to carry it on.

What is the Dismissal of Charges?

If a case is dismissed without prejudice, it means that it has been brought before a court, but the charges have been dismissed for practical reasons, such as lack of evidence or procedural errors. In this situation, the judge has the sole discretion to make the decision, and prosecutors are not involved in the process.

When it comes to the ease of the charges dismissed vs. dropped procedures, the drop of charges is quite a more convenient process than the dismissal of the charges. So knowing this could be beneficial to you that although your charges are dismissed at the court by the judge, they are still present in the criminal history in some files.

Reasons to Dismiss the Charges

The reasons responsible for the dismissal of charges are the same as that for the drop of charges such as:

Reasons to Drop the Charges
Reasons to Drop the Charges
  • Insufficient evidence.
  • Illegal arrest.
  • Clerical issues.
  • Cooperation in another case.

The mere difference between these reasons is that in the case of dropping charges, they are required before the trial, whereas for the dismissal of charges, these reasons are required later in the formal trial of court.

You May Also Like: How To Get Charges Dropped Before Court Date

Charges Dismissed vs Dropped, Which One Is Preferable?

As you are here to find the significant differences between dropped and dismissed charges, you should also know which is preferable.

 First of all, generally, both the drop and the dismissal of charges could be helpful to avoid any conviction afterward in the future. But they don’t wholly remove your criminal record. That is why you may find slight difficulties when applying for a job or visiting an abroad country because these things will be shown clearly in your background.

However, now some professional attorneys can help you even cope with this issue through a procedure known as file destruction. Through it, your attorney could remove all of your criminal histories from legal criminal records.

Let’s talk about which one is better for you. As you know, none of these two situations hides your criminal background. But going for the dismissal of charges could prove profitable for you.

The reason is that the dismissed case cannot be reopened in the future once it’s closed by the judge. However, in contrast, cases of dropped charges can be reopened when any new evidence or witness is discovered. In this way, the dismissed case helps you continue a peaceful life by avoiding overthinking your future arrest, etc.


Can a judge drop the charges?

Irrespective of the case category, the judge doesn’t drop the charges. Basically, a prosecutor or law enforcement officers have the authority to drop the charges against you.

Does the dismissal of the case mean the drop-off charges?

If your case is dismissed, it does not mean that your charges are dropped altogether. Instead, it means you will no longer be convicted of the current crime.

What does it mean to reduce the charges?

It simply means to reduce your charges through a plea bargain agreement.

Can charge be dropped before they are filed?

Yes, charges can be dropped before they are filed by a prosecutor.

What is the primary difference between the disposition and dismissal of charges?

The significant difference between the disposition and dismissal of charges is that the dismissed charges mean cases are closed without taking a proper decision. Whereas the disposition of charges means a case is closed after taking thoughtful decisions.