The Law Office of James Davis, P.A.

What is a Motion to Dismiss?

A Motion to Dismiss is a formal request to the court asking it to stop the prosecution and dismiss the charges against the defendant. The Jacksonville criminal defense attorney who files the motion must include all the relevant facts of the case. According to the rules for Florida Criminal Procedure, the Defendant  must swear the facts are true.

The prosecution may file a traverse or demur to the Motion to Dismiss. If the prosecution does not object to facts as presented in the defendant’s motion, the court will rule that the prosecution admitted those facts to be true. The prosecution may agree with the facts, but disagree with how the law applies to the facts. The court will hold a hearing and allow each side to present evidence on any issue of fact that is necessary in order for the court to make its decision. Both sides will argue about how the law applies.

Grounds for Filing a Motion to Dismiss

There are a number of reasons a defense attorney might file a Motion to DismissThe most common ones under Florida law are:

  • The statute of limitations has run and the time for filing charges has expired.
  • The defendant’s Sixth Amendment right to a speedy trial has been violated.
  • The charges violate the defendant’s constitutional right against Double Jeopardy.
  • There are “no material disputed facts and the undisputed facts do not establish a prima facie case of guilt against the defendant.”

Possible Outcomes

There are several different ways the court may rule:

  • The prosecution may agree to dismiss the case, but the court may order it to be dismissed without prejudice. This means the prosecution can fix whatever defects were in the information or indictment and bring the charges again within a specified period of time.
  • The court will order the charges to be dismissed with prejudice, which means the case is over. The prosecution is finished and the defendant can go home. No future charges based on the same facts can be brought in the future.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, you need to contact a Jacksonville criminal defense attorney at the Law Office of James Davis. The attorney will review the facts and circumstances of your case and determine if a Motion to Dismiss is warranted.