What is the Difference in a Dismissal with Prejudice and Without Prejudice?
After criminal charges have been filed and the case is pending, either the prosecution or the defense may make a motion asking that the charges be dismissed. The court may grant the motion and dismiss the case either with prejudice or without prejudice.
Dismissal with Prejudice
If you are a criminal defendant, a dismissal of all charges with prejudice is the best outcome. This means the case is over and no matter what happens, the prosecution cannot recharge you with the same charges that were dismissed with prejudice. Some examples of when a court might dismiss a criminal case with prejudice include:
- Misconduct of a prosecutor who withheld exculpatory evidence from the defense.
- The prosecution has delayed its case and violated the defendant’s constitutional or statutory right to a speedy trial.
Dismissal Without Prejudice
There are times when prosecutors are not ready to move forward with a case, but are also not ready to give up on it entirely. They may decide to file a motion to dismiss without prejudice. If the court orders a dismissal without prejudice, the charges are dropped, but the defendant will still live under a cloud, not knowing if or when the charges will be refiled.
Examples of when a dismissal without prejudice may occur include, but are not limited to:
- Your motion to suppress evidence is granted and the prosecution needs more time to investigate and gather admissible evidence.
- A witness is unavailable.
The prosecution must refile the charges before the statute of limitations (SOL) runs on the particular crime. If the SOL runs, the charges cannot be refiled.
If you have been charged with a criminal offense, you need the services of an aggressive Jacksonville criminal defense attorney who has a track record of success in both Florida state and federal courts. You will find that person in Jacksonville criminal defense attorney James Davis. Contact him as soon as possible.