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Tampa Criminal Lawyer > Blog > Criminal > What Does It Mean When Your Case Ends In Nolle Prosequi?

What Does It Mean When Your Case Ends In Nolle Prosequi?


Is getting acquitted the best possible outcome in a criminal case?  Yes and no.  If you plead not guilty to criminal charges, and the jury returns a verdict of not guilty at trial, then you are cleared of the charges forever.  Even if investigators later find incriminating evidence that the prosecution did not present at your trial, the rule of no double jeopardy protects you from facing charges again for the same crime.  Criminal cases that end in an acquittal at trial are relatively rare, but that does not mean that everyone else who gets accused of a crime gets convicted or pleads guilty.  The prosecution sometimes withdraws the criminal case by filing a no information or nolle prosequi.  A nolle prosequi or no information is almost the best thing that can happen in your criminal case; it clears you of the charges without you having to go through a trial, which means that you have to live through less stress and uncertainty before the court declares you innocent.  The only thing that can go wrong after the prosecution terminates your case is that it does not trigger the no double jeopardy rule, so if the state later finds additional evidence to connect you to the crime, it has the right to charge you again.  A Tampa criminal defense lawyer can help you if you are facing criminal charges again after the prosecution previously terminated your charges.

No Information and Nolle Prosequi in Florida Criminal Cases

Florida law gives prosecutors the right to terminate a criminal case unilaterally at their discretion.  No matter the prosecutors’ reason to stop prosecuting you, the judge must honor the prosecutors’ decision, no matter how convinced of your guilt the judge might personally be.  There are two ways that the prosecution can withdraw accusations against a defendant.  If the defendant has only recently been arrested and has not yet formally received charges, the prosecution files a no information.  Normally, after an arrest, prosecutors file a charging document called an information, but if they determine that they do not have a solid case against the defendant, they file a no information instead, and the case ends almost as soon as it began.

If the case has already passed the stage of the state filing charges and the defendant entering a plea, then the prosecution can withdraw the charges by filing a nolle prosequi.  The phrase “nolle prosequi” means “unwilling to pursue.”  One of the most common scenarios involving nolle prosequi is that the prosecution can no longer use the evidence on which they were basing their case.  This might happen because the judge declares a certain piece of evidence inadmissible because the police violated the Fourth or Fifth Amendment in obtaining it.  It might also happen because a witness recants his or her testimony.

Contact Tampa Criminal Defense Attorney Bryant Scriven

A criminal defense lawyer can help you exercise your rights if you criminal case ended in nolle prosequi or no information.  Contact Scriven Law in Tampa, Florida to schedule a consultation.

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