What Does It Mean to Be Charged With A Crime But Not Convicted

We have all heard the stories of people who have been charged with serious crimes and even jailed for crimes they didn’t commit.

No one wants to be on the receiving end of a visit to a jail or inside a courtroom as the defendant; however, it happens everyday.

You may have been at the wrong place at the wrong time and charged or arrested for a crime that you had nothing to do with.

The best thing that you can do for yourself at the moment is hire a lawyer who specializes in criminal defense.

The worst thing you can do is expect this to work itself out.

 As we all have seen, people have even gotten the death penalty for crimes they had nothing to do with.

It’s scary to think that anyone at any time can be charged with a crime.

Most of the time, police and investigators are not just pulling random people off the street and holding them accountable for random crimes.

In many instances, a witness may mistakenly identify the defendant or provide false testimony.

If you are ever charged with a crime and arrested the first thing you need to do is call The Defenders. Having an attorney can put an end to false accusations or false criminal charges before it gets too far.

What Does It Mean to Be Charged with a Crime?

Being charged with a crime means that the state or federal government has accused you of committing an offense against their laws. This can range from minor infractions, such as assault without a deadly weapon, to serious felonies like murder or sexual assault.

Being charged with a crime does not necessarily mean that you have been found guilty or convicted of the offense; it simply means that there is enough evidence for the government to pursue legal action against you.

What Is Being Charged With A Crime vs. Indicted For A Crime In Nevada?

Many people think that being indicted and charged with a crime are the same thing.

There are however significant differences between the two.

When you are indicted for a criminal charge, a prosecutor brings all the evidence they have against you in front of a grand jury to vote on whether or not you should be charged with the crime.

Being charged with a crime on the other hand is when the prosecutor officially charges you with a criminal offense. These charges are not brought against you from a convened grand jury.

The most significant difference between the two is that grand jury indictments can only be brought against you for felonies. Charges can be brought against you for misdemeanors and felonies.

Charged with a Crime But Not Convicted Of Criminal Charges

From what we have seen, people can be charged with a crime at any time.

Most people don’t end up facing charges for no reason but it has happened.

Getting criminal charges dropped in Nevada can be difficult depending on the charges and how far along in the case you are.

Getting charges dismissed depends on various factors, including the strength of the evidence against you, potential misinterpretation of the law, and whether dismissing the case serves the interest of justice.

This is if the case has not gone to court yet.

If the case is further along in the criminal process, the prosecutor may have to seek the courts permission to drop the charges.

The prosecutor acts as the officer of the court and part of their job are to ensure that justice is served regardless of winning or losing.

If you present a compelling case to have the case dismissed with evidence, the prosecutor is bound to act.

If the prosecutor doesn’t agree with your and your defense attorney’s views, then you may make your case before a judge but it will require a court hearing.

Why Might Charges Be Dropped Against You?

The basic premise of the criminal justice system is that to obtain a conviction of a crime, authorities must present evidence that proves a person guilty of that criminal charge beyond a reasonable doubt.

If prosecutors are unsure about whether or not they can meet that burden of proof at any time during the case, they are obligated to dismiss the charges.

This applies to both felony and misdemeanor charges.

There are some factors that can lead to charges being dropped:

  • There are witness accounts that contradict the official narrative of the case.
  • A witness changes their story or refuse to testify
  • The court decides that your case involves violations of your constitutional rights, such as continuing to interrogate you even after you have asked for a lawyer
  • The defendant offers to provide evidence that helps resolve other criminal matters that are often on a larger scale, like a street level drug dealer giving evidence against the supplier.
  • The prosecutor determines that the defendant has no previous record and deserves a second chance. This usually occurs for smaller misdemeanor violations

Can Criminal Charges Be Refiled?

Just because charges have been dropped or dismissed does not mean that you are in the clear.

Depending on the circumstances and the charges against you, charges can be refiled against you at a later date.

In some cases, the prosecution will drop the charges “without prejudice.’’

In legal terms, this means that charges against you can be refiled if new evidence is brought to light.

On the other hand, dropping or dismissing charges “with prejudice” means that changes cannot be refiled.

Some cases can be dropped or dismissed with or without prejudice leaving it open for interpretation.

Each case is different.

Since murder charges can only be tried once and not a second time, when someone is charged with murder and the charges are dropped or dismissed, they will most likely be without prejudice so the defendant can be charged again.

Does A Dismissed Criminal Charge Stay On Your Record?

Most criminal charges are public record; therefore, a charge against you automatically generates a public record that isn’t automatically erased even if the charges are dropped either before court or after a court date.

In  Nevada, it’s up to you to have the records sealed from public view.

To have records sealed you must file a petition with the court that the original case took place in.

The petition should include all the records related to your case including from the arrest or charges and leading up to the dismissal.

If a case was charged and then declined for prosecution, the law allows for court records to stay open for some time to allow for charges to be refiled.

Time is the only way this goes away and it is either 8 years or when the statute of limitations of the charged case comes up.

Having a petition to have to have records sealed is the defendant’s responsibility even if they weren’t convicted of the crime.

The court will need all the information and what records are to be sealed.

Getting this done is not something you should take on yourself. You should consider hiring a defense lawyer who knows how to have records sealed. If you miss even one thing it could result in the records not getting sealed and all that work was for nothing.

What Happens If I’m Charged With A Felony But Not Convicted?

Charges can be brought against for everything from misdemeanors to felonies.

Felonies are the most serious criminal charges a person can face and include the most serious crimes like murder.

Everyone charged with a felony is entitled to a jury trial.

If you avoid jail by accepting a plea or felony probation, you will have a criminal record that may hinder employment and residential prospects.

To have felony records sealed, you must wait between 2 to 10 years, and in some cases, it may never be possible.

Facing felony charges opens up several options, such as negotiating for lesser charges or reduced sentences. Felony charges can be dropped, dismissed, or postponed until sufficient evidence supports the accusation. However, getting felony charges dropped is significantly more challenging, as they typically involve the most serious offenses.Facing Criminal Charges? The Defenders Can Help

The takeaway is, the criminal justice system is a scary place that no one wants to be part of, especially if you haven’t committed the offense you’re charged with.

People dread jury duty, let alone sitting at the defendant’s table for a crime they didn’t commit.

As we’ve said, people have spent lifetimes in prison for crimes they didn’t commit.

Once you end up in the court system, it is difficult to almost impossible to get convictions overturned or cases heard.

Before any court date, whether a bail hearing or arraignment, it is crucial to have legal counsel present. Entering a court appearance without a lawyer can result in getting entangled in the legal system, which may take years to resolve.

Even if the charges against you are dropped, dismissed or you’re acquitted, they don’t automatically disappear. You are responsible to have the records sealed to avoid it following you around.

The paperwork and subsequent court hearing can be daunting and one error can cause another set of issues.

You should always have a lawyer to help you get records sealed even if you weren’t convicted of a crime.

If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, whether it’s a DUI, theft, or even murder, The Defenders can help. Our experienced criminal defense attorneys have successfully defended thousands of cases in Nevada and will fight tirelessly to protect your rights and ensure you receive a fair trial. Contact us today for a free consultation and let us defend you against the charges you face.

It’s important to note that if you are facing criminal charges, time is of the essence. It’s urgent to seek legal representation as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the entire process.

Your future is at stake and having an experienced lawyer by your side can make all the difference in achieving a favorable outcome in your case.

Contact our office today for a free case evaluation.

The Defenders Criminal Defense Attorneys - Best of Las Vegas Gold Winner

Practice Areas