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No Action/No Info

The best outcome in any criminal case is a dismissal of the charges before they are ever formally filed. In Miami-Dade County, this is known as a "no action." In Broward County, this is known as a "no info." They mean the same thing: the State Attorney is declining to file formal charges.

This is my favorite result because it results in the dismissal of a case early on, usually the first 30 days of a case, and it avoids the risk of a trial. Essentially, it ends the nightmare early.

If you are going to hire a criminal defense attorney, it is important to do so as early as possible so that your case may potentially result in a "no action" or "no info."

When you are arrested for a felony, you will post your bond (if it's a bondable offense) and then receive a court date. That court date is your arraignment date. That date is usually set 21 days after your arrest. Some people mistakenly believe that they should wait to see if charges will be filed before hiring a lawyer. However, it is my opinion that some of the most important work a lawyer will do occurs during the first 21 days of a case.

The prefile process is non-adversarial. That means that the prosecutor, and only the prosecutor, will decide which charges, if any, to file. They conduct their own investigation, talk to their own witnesses, and take testimony in the privacy of their own offices. Criminal attorneys are not included in this process. We don't have the right.

However, prosecutors still listen to defense attorneys in the early prefile stages of a case and will consider any evidence, observations, or impressions, that a criminal attorney has to offer. Many times, that intervention makes the difference between charges being filed, and charges resulting in "no action" or "no info."

A defense attorney may have witnesses that he or she wishes to share with prosecutors. Why wait until charges are filed? If those witnesses are made available to the prosecutor before he or she files charges, the prosecutor may have an opportunity to hear a difference side of the story and may therefore decline to file charges.

Also, an experienced criminal defense attorney may provide impressions of a case that are unique, and may cause the prosecutor to take a different look at a case.

If the defense attorney is unable to get the charges dropped completely, many times the charges can be reduced to misdemeanors.

Let me tell you a little secret as a former Miami-Dade's a lot easier to get a case dismissed in the prefile stage than it is once charges have been filed. That's because prefile prosecutors have a lot more discretion than division prosecutors. That's because prefile prosecutors are expected to make filing decisions. Division prosecutors are expected to try or plead cases.

If you want a criminal defense attorney to handle your case, don't wait to see what can happen. The wait-and-see approach rarely works. Call me to discuss your case if you are facing criminal charges in Miami-Dade or Broward.