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Officer's failure to show up in court results in dropped charges

If you are accused of a crime, you need to understand that you are innocent until proven guilty. In order to prove guilt, prosecutors will collect evidence and have witnesses testify. However, if there is insufficient evidence or if witnesses with specific knowledge do not show up to testify in court, prosecutors may not have what they need to pursue a conviction and the charges can be dropped.

This is what happened recently for two young men who were facing charges of solicitation. According to reports, they were accused of offering an undercover officer money in exchange for sexual acts. 

However, the charges against the two men were ultimately dismissed without prejudice because the police officer who had signed them did not show up in court for the hearing. Because the officer was not present to answer questions about the case and his or her knowledge of it, there apparently was not enough evidence to move forward.

Officers are often called to testify in criminal cases. However, for a variety of reasons, this doesn't always happen. In some cases, there are unavoidable conflicts that prevent an officer from attending a hearing; in other cases, an officer may decide that attending a lengthy hearing during or after work hours without being paid is not something they want to do.

This can and does result in criminal charges being dropped or dismissed. But this is not necessarily something that should be counted on in terms of your legal defense if you are accused of solicitation in Florida. You should be prepared to challenge the evidence and claims against you in the larger context of the case and not pin your hopes on something you have no control over.

In order to build your defense, it can be wise to work with an attorney who is familiar with criminal charges stemming from alleged sex offenses. With preparation, resources and the legal knowledge to challenge the claims against you, you and your attorney can seek a reduction or dismissal of charges.

Source: NJ.com, "Charges dismissed against ex-Rutgers guard Myles Mack and ex-Seton Hall forward Fuquan Edwin," Keith Sargeant, Jan. 14, 2016

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