How to Get Your Chicago Criminal Case Dismissed Without a Fight

As a Chicago criminal lawyer since 2005, I’ve met with hundreds of people who have been arrested and have urgent questions about their case. By far, the two most common are:

  • How can I get this case dismissed and prevent it from appearing on my record?
  • What is the quickest, least expensive way to do so?

I believe controlling legal costs is essential to superior service. The best solution to your case is not beating it after a long and expensive fight. The best solution is one that gets your case dismissed with the least possible risk, time, money and anxiety to you

The good news is that, in many cases, you can achieve both goals by negotiating a dismissal with the prosecutor in charge of your case. Almost always, these deals involve you doing something in exchange for the dismissal: community service, therapy, education or counseling.

Again, the mission is a dismissal of your case without you having to plead guilty, NOT “plea bargaining” which forces you to plead guilty.

Finally, the number one rule in negotiations is to deal from a superior position of strength. Knowing that you can walk away and beat the case despite the prosecutor’s opposition gives you an advantage in negotiations. The strongest position in any negotiation is being able to walk away and mean it.

Are You Eligible to Negotiate a Dismissal of Your Case?

There are several factors that affect whether or not you can get your case dismissed through negotiations with prosecutors. While this list is a good starting point, in reality, all cases are unique and the only way to get answers tailored to your case is to have a conversation with an expert:

  • Your criminal history. Have you ever been arrested before? Any arrests in your background, no matter how long ago, make it harder, but not impossible, to negotiate a settlement.

  • Who are you? Do you volunteer? Are you involved in church? Are you a veteran? Are you in school? Are you a working parent supporting children?

    These are just a few examples that could help in negotiations with Chicago prosecutors and may even tip the scale to a favorable offer. A good negotiating criminal attorney should thoroughly explore you as a person in order to gain an advantage in obtaining a negotiated dismissal.

  • The type of case. Many misdemeanors, but not all, are good candidates for settlements that get your case dismissed. This is especially true for cases that don’t involve a specific victim or accuser: shoplifting, prostitution and soliciting a prostitute to name just a few. Even some felonies, such as drug possession, are good candidates for negotiated agreements that dismiss your case without you pleading guilty.

    On the other hand, there are some types of cases that cannot be easily settled. Misdemeanors that involve a victim, such as battery or assault, cases involving a gun, selling drugs and most felonies are almost never good candidates for settlement and have to be fought. If this is you, read my How to Beat Your Case page for guidance on how to proceed.

  • The courthouse and courtroom you are in. This affects the judge in charge of your case as well as the prosecutor on duty. Some judges and prosecutors are more reasonable than others.

    It is important to know this intelligence early on because (a) it can have a massive effect on your case and (b) there are tools in place to get you out of an unfair courtroom.

Let’s Have a Conversation About Your Case

If you are dreading your next court date, fearful of what this arrest means for your future or just want to get on with your life, there is nothing like having a conversation about your case with an experienced Chicago criminal attorney. Since 2005, I, Chris M. Shepherd, have helped hundreds of people through the same thing you are now facing. If there is a way to beat your case, I will find it. If there is a way to settle your case quickly while keeping your record clean, I will find it. On the way, your phone calls and email will be answered promptly and you will have direct access to me personally.

I offer a free and confidential 15-minute consultation. Contact me online or call me at 312.396.4112.

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