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JB Umphrey
JB Umphrey, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 20231
Experience:  Handling criminal and probation matters for over 14 years.
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What prompts a criminal case to be reopened Charges were

Customer Question

What prompts a criminal case to be "reopened" Charges were brought against my wife for illegal trespass and forceable entry with a firearm but the charges were dismissed by the county. Now 3 months later when we think alls well she has to go appear in superior court. Why ? my wife forced her way into a home of 2 young males looking for our daughter who was missing, she didn't have a gun but had a cell phone. can she go to jail what's the worst that could happen, she had no record...just a concerned mom.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for using JustAnswer!

Why did the county dismiss the charges the first time around?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
i think because the complaintifs didn't want us to persue rape charges against one of the boys ( 19 years old) our daughter is 14. unbeknownst to us she had been raped back in february , she ran away and the wife got word that she might be at this persons house so the wife went in to see if our daughter was in there. We were told on the rumor mill....texts, phone calls that they were scared we'd pursue rape charges so they dropped everything. We took our daughter to be checked out and to verify the attack. she had been violated but too much time had elapsed for physical evidence.
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 3 years ago.
From the facts you've described, it's not possible to speculate why the charges were re-authorized. You can return to the court and ask to view the court file of the original charge and see what was noted as the basis for the first dismissal. Most likely, the charges were dismissed "without prejudice" because of that unknown reason. When a case is dismissed "without prejudice" that means that the prosecutor can later re-file them. And that's what has occurred here.

Anytime a person is charged with a crime, there's always a chance of jail if there is a plea or finding of guilty. At this juncture, without the necessary information, it's impossible to predict what can/will happen. If you go to the arraignment on the new charges, the judge will inform her of what the possible penalty can be.

Good luck and best wishes for better days ahead. I hope that you find this information to be helpful and this answer to be ACCEPTable!

Edited by JB Umphrey on 8/9/2010 at 3:14 PM EST
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
i just had a thought.....when the charges were all dismissed she was told she had to be good and stay out of trouble. about 2 weeks ago she got in a car wreck and was given a ticket for failure to yeild during a storm when the lights were blinking red. ( were goin' to fight this one) is it possible the ticket promted the "reopening" of the criminal case?
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 3 years ago.
It's really not possible to speculate. If she hires an attorney or asks for court-appointed counsel, they can request a copy of the police reports and those may shed some light on things.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
any suggestions on how to choose an attorney? Court appointed attoneys......are they really any good, will they have my wifes best interest at heart ?
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 3 years ago.
Like everything in life, there are goods ones and not good ones. You can spend $10K on a criminal attorney and they're no good. The point is that it's not the label that determines whether or not the attorney is effective.

Go to court and court-watch. Watch the attorneys in action. You'll be able to size up who seems to have their act together and who doesn't.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
ok but once again.......any hints on how to pick one......and what about the court appointed ones are they any good or should i stay away from them?
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 3 years ago.
I don't have any hints to offer. If you don't know of any, consider asking family/friends for recommendations. Some court appointed attorneys are good; some are not. It depends upon the individual.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
should i get one that specializes in criminal law or is there another area of expertise that i should be looking into as well.
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 3 years ago.
Criminal law is the one you want.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
what happens at the arraignment and will there be another court appearance besides this.
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 3 years ago.
Yes there will be other court appearances. At the arraignment, the charges are read to her, she can plead not guilty, ask for court appointed counsel, and a bond will be set.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
a bond ? that would be assuming jail time up front .......right? the first time around they released her ....with no bond, no jail, no fine then recieved a written letter a short itime later saying the charges had been dismissed.
Is it possible the court system where we live is just slow and they somehow didn't realize the dimissal paperwork had been sent out? ( it was dismissed by the county back in june and we just got the notice to appear in susperior court this last week).
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 3 years ago.
No, a bond does not assume jail time up front.

I can't speculate as to the paperwork. Again, I encourage you to go to the courthouse and review the original file.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
what does a bond mean ? what's it for?
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 3 years ago.
A bond is an amount of money that the court sets to assure the defendant's appearance at future court dates.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
do i need an attorney at the arraignment or is this just a reading of the charges then on the next court date is when the attorney is present?
Expert:  JB Umphrey replied 3 years ago.
You can have an attorney at the arraignment if you want. It can happen either way, with or without.

Hope you found these answers to be ACCEPTable!

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