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How can I get my criminal charges dropped?

How can I get my criminal charges dropped?
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Legal Aid Ontario (LAO)

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How can I get my criminal charges dropped?
This question has an answer and 3 steps
November 20, 2017

You can't do anything to get your criminal charges dropped. It is not up to you.

And sometimes the complainant wants the charges dropped. But that doesn't matter. Often the Crown won't withdraw the charges, even if the complainant asks them to.

The Crown decides if your charges will be dropped.

The Crown will be more likely to consider dropping your charges if you've done things that will help you understand and stop the behaviour that led to the charges. For example, if you've been charged with uttering threats, taking an anger management class might convince the Crown that they don't have to prosecute you.

Withdrawn charges

Having your criminal charges dropped is the same as having your charges withdrawn. If the Crown withdraws your charges:

  • you won't have to go to court anymore about the charge
  • you won't have a criminal record if you didn't have one before
  • they can't prosecute you again later for the same incident

Stayed charges

The Crown might also decide to stay your charges. If your charges are stayed, the Crown has decided not to prosecute your case for now. But they can change their mind and start the prosecution again within one year of the date the charges were stayed. In some cases they can re-commence your prosecution even after a year passes.

Factors involved

The Crown might decide to withdraw charges if:

  • You have completed diversion.
  • You have entered into a peace bond.
  • The Crown agreed to drop some charges if you plead guilty to other charges.
  • The Crown decides that there isn't enough evidence to convict you.
  • The Crown decides it's not in the public interest to continue prosecuting you.

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