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Dismissal Definition

Dismissal is the act of terminating a criminal prosecution by a judge. A dismissal can be at the parties’ joint request or over the government’s objection, in limited circumstances. The most common reason cases are dismissed is because the government cannot produce a necessary witness. If a case is dismissed “with prejudice,” it is gone forever and cannot be re-filed by the government. If a case is dismissed “without prejudice,” the prosecutor can re-file the charges at a later date. In felony cases, a district court judge has the power to dismiss felony charges if they find that the government has insufficient evidence to proceed to trial.

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