If you have been charged with a sexual offence, you are likely to be feeling scared and anxious.
One of the most common questions asked of sexual offence solicitors in the UK is, “Can the charges be dropped before the court date?”
Experienced sexual offence solicitors can help to get your case dismissed by the CPS before it even gets to court. If this happens, you won’t have to face a judge or jury.
What does “drop the charge” mean?
If you have are suspected of committing a crime, the victim or police can bring criminal charges against you.
The charges against you will list the crimes you have allegedly committed. A specialist sexual offences solicitor will be able to explain all the charges to you in detail, and explain the likely outcome of your case.
If you are told that the CPS have dropped the charges against you before court, this means that your case has been discontinued.
There are two main reasons why sexual offence charges can be dropped. These are:
- There is insufficient evidence to prove that you committed the sexual offences you are charged with.
- It is not in the public interest to prosecute you in court. We’ll discuss the possible reasons for this below.
Will the CPS drop charges before court?
As sexual assault charges are very serious, the CPS are unlikely to drop the charges against you unless there is a compelling reason to do this.
The reasons that the CPS might consider dropping sexual assault charges against a defendant before their court date include:
- The effect on the victim’s physical or mental health.
- If the defendant is elderly or suffers with significant ill health.
- The loss or harm caused to the victim was minor, or it was a single incident.
- If the loss or harm to the victim has been put right by the defendant (although they cannot avoid prosecution simply because they can pay compensation).
- There has been a long delay between the sexual offence / charge and the trial.
- If an insignificant penalty is likely.
- If the case has already been dealt with in another way, for example in a civil court, or if the parties have reconciled.
- Public interest immunity issues. This is where the court decides to withhold information from the defence because it is in the public interest.
- A caution would be a more suitable outcome.
- The defendant is very young.
- It would be inappropriate to compel the victim to attend court
- It would be inappropriate to compel a witness to attend court.
What happens if charges are dropped before court?
If the CPS decide to drop the sexual offence charges against you because the prosecution have offered no evidence in court, you will be formally acquitted. This means you are not guilty of the sexual offence charge. It is very unusual for a case to be reopened once a defendant has been formally acquitted.
If the sexual offence charges against you are dropped because the prosecution has decided to discontinue the case against you, you will not need to attend court. However, discontinuation is not the same as formal acquittal. The sexual offence case could be reopened at a later date.
Get in touch with specialist sexual offence solicitors
For the best chance of getting the sexual offence charges against you dropped, it’s vital that you speak with experienced sexual offence solicitors as soon as possible.
PCD Solicitors are specialist sexual offence solicitors with a strong record of helping their clients to avoid charges, secure formal acquittals, and achieve not guilty verdicts in court.
Get in touch with their knowledgeable team today by calling 0151 7058488 or filling in the contact form on their website for a swift response.