Charges Dropped – Does it happen?

Yes. Not always, easily or immediately, but yes.

Client’s will often ask whether their charges can be ‘dropped’ and if so, when and how.  In answering these questions, it is helpful to have an understanding of what it means to have charges dropped. Charges are ‘dropped’ when the prosecution make an application to the Court to have the charges discontinued. This will happen before the charges are formally determined at a trial by a Magistrate, Judge or Jury.

One of the most common reasons a decision is made to discontinue charges is when the prosecution considers that there are no reasonable prospects of a conviction being secured. This can happen when a prosecutor reviews the evidence, obtains more evidence, or is provided with a submission from a lawyer.

In circumstances where a client has been charged with an offence they may have committed, or an offence which the prosecution can’t prove, a lawyer may send a submission inviting the prosecution to discontinue the charge. In circumstances where the charge is more onerous than the actual offence which a client has committed, or the client wants to have matters resolved without the need for a trial, a lawyer may also send a submission requesting that the charge be ‘downgraded’ to a less serious offence.

There is no limit to what charges can be dismissed by the prosecution after a submission is made. This can range from sexual assaults, drug offences and property offences to physical assaults, driving matters and offences involving threats. An example of some matters which I have recently dealt with, which have been resolved by negotiating with the prosecution, are highlighted below:

  1. Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Sell or Supply 10 pounds (4.54 kg) of Cannabis – DISCONTINUED.
  1. Possession with Intent to Sell or Supply 7.62 grams of Methylamphetamine, Possession with Intent to Sell or Supply 208 grams of Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB), Fail to Comply with a direction to provide police with a pin code, Possession of Stolen of Unlawfully Obtained Property ($7,970 cash) – ALL DISCONTINUED.
  1. Possession with Intent to Sell or Supply 12 grams of Methylamphetamine – AMENDED to simple possession.
  1. Robbery – AMENDED to Common Assault and sentenced to a fine.
  1. Stealing as a Servant x 19 – DISCONTINUED.
  1. Steal Motor Vehicle, Reckless Driving and No authority to Drive – DISCONTINUED.
  1. Aggravated Assault Occasioning Bodily Harm – AMENDED to Common Assault and sentenced to a fine.
  1. Possession with Intent to Sell or Supply 7 grams of Methylamphetamine – DISCONTINUED.
  1. Possession with Intent to Sell or Supply 3.5 grams of Cocaine – DISCONTINUED.
  1. Burglary in a Dwelling and Stealing – DISCONTINUED
  1. Stealing x 31 – 26 charges – DISCONTINUED, defence costs paid, client fined and granted a spent conviction.

If you or someone you know has criminal charges and would like to know if a submission can be made, call our office now on (08) 9386 5200.

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