Defendants can file a motion to dismiss their charges in California. These motions are available for both misdemeanor and felony charges. What are you allowed to file a motion to dismiss in California? Generally, a criminal defense lawyer can file this charge after your arraignment hearing.
Motions to dismiss are generally filed before pre-trial hearings begin in Los Angeles, California. Find out more about the timing associated with criminal charges by checking out this article.
Timeline for Criminal Trials in California
We can discuss when to file a motion to dismiss by reviewing the timeline for criminal trials in California. The court system does not immediately move to prosecution individuals in front of a judge and jury. There are a number of preliminary steps in the court system. Generally, individuals face:
An Arraignment Hearing
The arraignment hearing is usually the first part of a criminal case. At this hearing, individuals first hear the charges they are facing. Individuals must enter a plea at their arraignment hearing. In California, you can plead:
- Not guilty
- No contest
A Period of Discovery
Discovery allows defense lawyers and the prosecution to gather evidence about a case. This can take varying amounts of time, depending upon the nature of the charges.
There are likely to be a number of pre-trial hearings after a criminal arrest in California. These hearings allow lawyers to make different motions. Generally, a motion to dismiss is made early on in this process, or even during discovery.
A Criminal Trial
Finally, a criminal case can proceed to trial in California. However, cases only proceed to trial if they are not dismissed or resolved out of court. Sometimes, individuals can resolve their charges by accepting a plea bargain. This reduces the penalties they could face.
Motions to Dismiss for Misdemeanor and Felony Charges
A lawyer can help you file a motion to dismiss for misdemeanor or felony charges in California. Misdemeanor charges are not as serious as felony offenses. However, they are still very serious. The court system uses:
- Penal Code (PEN) §991 for a motion to dismiss misdemeanor charges
- PEN §995 for a motion to dismiss felony charges
Some charges, like driving under the influence (DUI), are considered “wobblers.” Wobblers can get treated as either a misdemeanor or a felony. Most of the time, DUIs are treated as misdemeanors. However, drivers can face felony charges if they are accused of:
- Hurting someone else while driving under the influence
- Causing a fatal accident while driving under the influence
- Driving under the influence with three prior misdemeanor convictions
- Driving under the influence with one prior felony conviction
A Los Angeles DUI lawyer can request a dismissal for either misdemeanor or felony charges. Find out how by calling us at (310) 896-2724.
Factors to Get Charges Dismissed in California
Filing a motion to dismiss charges does not necessarily mean the court will set aside the charges. This motion only requests that a judge consider dismissing the charges. A lawyer can work to show that:
- There is insufficient cause to continue forward with a case
- Your rights were violated during your arrest or trial, requiring a dismissal
In some cases, this will lead a judge to dismiss your charges. Note that there are two ways to dismiss charges in California. Some charges are dismissed “without prejudice.” The prosecution can refile charges if your case is dismissed without prejudice.
In other cases, the court will dismiss your charges “with prejudice.” This means the court has decided not to hear your case again. The prosecution cannot charge you with the same crime in this situation.
Handle Criminal Charges in Los Angeles
Members of our team can help if you are facing criminal charges in California. We can take steps to file a motion to dismiss for you. We’ll keep you up-to-date about the timeframe for your case. We’ll make sure you don’t miss any important deadlines.
We can also stand up for you if the motion to dismiss doesn’t go through. We could work to get your charges reduced with a plea bargain. We may also work to defend you in court.
Ask a Lawyer When to File a Motion to Dismiss
When can you file a motion to dismiss? Generally, you can file this motion after an arraignment hearing. You can get exact details about when to file a motion to dismiss in your case by contacting our team. Reach us by calling (310) 896-2724. We also have an online contact form. Get information about your case from a Los Angeles DUI lawyer.
We’ll go over your situation with a free consultation.