Defendants are filled with relief when criminal charges are dropped. Once the excitement of the ruling fades, though, it is typically replaced by the anxiety associated with questions like, “Is that really it? Can those dropped charges ever be brought back?” The Double Jeopardy Clause prevents some charges from being brought back, but it doesn’t apply in all situations.
You should discuss your situation with a criminal defense lawyer in Clemson. Contact Boatwright Legal for a free case evaluation.
Discuss Dropped Charges With a Defense Attorney
One of the most important duties of a defense attorney is to keep their clients informed before, during, and after a criminal case. Therefore, your attorney should be your first call if you have any questions regarding the status or aftermath of your case.
He or she will have the pertinent details to offer information tailored to your specific case instead of vague responses found in general discussions. This will help to provide you with the knowledge and reassurance you need long after the judge closes your case.
Understanding the Double Jeopardy Clause
The Double Jeopardy Clause prohibits a defendant from facing prosecution twice over the same crime. The provision under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution doesn’t apply to all dropped criminal charges.
The defendant is considered “in jeopardy” once the jury is sworn is sworn in. After being found not guilty, a defendant can’t be retried for the same crime. A mistrial does not stop the government from prosecuting the case again. However, in some situations, double jeopardy may apply after a mistrial if there was misconduct by the prosecution.
When Can Dropped Charges Be Brought Back?
There are certain situations when dismissed charges can be brought back.
Conditional Agreements of Deferred Prosecution
The prosecution may drop criminal charges if the defendant agrees to specific conditions – such as completing an anger management course or rehabilitation program. The charges can be revived if the defendant fails to meet the conditions of this agreement.
Dismissal Without Prejudice
The phrase “without prejudice” essentially keeps the door of opportunity open for the prosecution after a case is dismissed. It means that the prosecution could file the same charge(s) by “curing the defects that led to dismissal.”
If charges are dismissed with prejudice, they can’t be refiled by the prosecution. Charges dismissed without prejudice can be brought back.
Unlike other states, South Carolina doesn’t have a statute of limitations for any type of crime. So there isn’t a time limit on how long the prosecution has to bring charges.
Charges may be dismissed without prejudice due to insufficient evidence before a trial begins. The prosecution could refile charges later if new evidence is found to support the case.
You should discuss the details of your specific case with a criminal defense attorney in Clemson, SC to find out what is and is not applicable.
What Role Does Legal Precedent Play?
There are other legal precedents specifically within South Carolina that define the potential revival of dropped charges. For example, there was no legal precedent created in the case of State v. Goodson in 2014. The Court ruling specified that the State could reopen the prosecution’s case since those charges were dismissed without prejudice.
This makes it clear why criminal defense attorneys strive to at least attempt to get a dismissal with prejudice to establish legal precedent and keep that door of opportunity closed. Once again, this is something that can be discussed in detail with your attorney when reviewing the aftermath of your case and any applicable steps or conditions that must be taken or met.
Call a Clemson Criminal Defense Attorney Today
It is true that the Double Jeopardy Clause provides considerable protection against repeated prosecutions for the same offense. However, there are exceptions to that protection that should be considered and discussed in detail with your criminal defense attorney in Clemson, SC.
Schedule your free consultation with Boatwright Legal today to start reviewing the details and circumstances of your specific case.