In the criminal justice system, the term “nolle prosequi” is often heard but not always understood. In Maryland, nolle prosequi is a legal term that can significantly impact a criminal case. This article will explain what nolle prosequi is, how it can affect a criminal case, and what it means for defendants in Maryland.
What is Nolle Prosequi?
Nolle prosequi, often abbreviated as “nol pros,” is a Latin term that means “to be unwilling to pursue.” In the context of criminal law, nolle prosequi is a decision by the prosecutor to drop the charges against the defendant. Essentially, nolle prosequi is a way for the prosecutor to dismiss the case and stop pursuing the charges against the defendant.
In Maryland, prosecutors have the discretion to nolle prosequi criminal charges at any time before the verdict is rendered. This means the prosecutor can drop the charges at any point in the criminal proceedings, including before or after the trial has started but before the verdict has been reached. However, the prosecutor cannot nolle prosequi the charges once the verdict has been rendered.
Why Would a Prosecutor Noell Prosequi a Case?
There are many reasons why a prosecutor might choose to nolle prosequi a case. One reason might be that new evidence has come to light that weakens the prosecutor’s case or exonerates the defendant. In this situation, the prosecutor may decide that it would not be in the interest of justice to continue pursuing the charges.
Another reason why a prosecutor might nolle prosequi a case is if there are legal issues with the case that make it difficult or impossible to prosecute. For example, if the evidence was obtained illegally, or if there are issues with witness credibility, the prosecutor may decide that it would be difficult to secure a conviction and choose to drop the charges.
Sometimes, a prosecutor may nolle prosequi a case as part of a plea bargain agreement with the defendant. In this situation, the prosecutor might agree to drop some of the charges in exchange for the defendant agreeing to plead guilty to a lesser charge or to cooperate with the prosecution in other ways.
How Does Nolle Prosequi Affect a Criminal Case?
When a prosecutor nolle prosequi a case, the charges against the defendant are dismissed, and the case is essentially over. The defendant is no longer facing criminal charges and is free to go. However, it is essential to note that nolle prosequi is not the same as an acquittal.
When a defendant is acquitted, they have been found not guilty of the charges, and the prosecution cannot retry the case. Nolle prosequi, on the other hand, does not prevent the prosecutor from bringing the charges again in the future. Moreover, the prosecutor can refile the charges before the statute of limitations expires.
Additionally, nolle prosequi does not prevent the defendant from facing other legal consequences, such as a civil lawsuit or administrative action. For example, if the defendant was accused of committing a crime while on the job, they could still face disciplinary action from their employer even if the criminal charges are dropped.
What Does Nolle Prosequi Mean for Defendants in Maryland?
For defendants in Maryland, nolle prosequi can have both positive and negative implications. On the one hand, it means that the defendant is no longer facing criminal charges and is free to go. But on the other hand, this can be a huge relief for defendants who have been through the stress and uncertainty of a criminal trial.
On the other hand, nolle prosequi does not mean that the defendant is entirely off the hook. The prosecutor can still bring the charges again, which means the defendant may need to be prepared to face criminal charges again. Additionally, the defendant may face other legal consequences, such as administrative action or civil lawsuits.
How Does Nolle Prosequi Affect Non-U.S. Citizens?
It’s important to note that nolle prosequi can also have implications for defendants who are not U.S. citizens. For example, if a non-citizen is charged with a crime in Maryland and the charges are nolle prosequi, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the non-citizen is in the clear. Depending on the circumstances, the non-citizen may still face immigration consequences, such as deportation.
Still Have Questions? Contact Jeremy Widder Law
Nolle prosequi can have a significant impact on a criminal case in Maryland. Therefore, defendants and their attorneys must understand what nolle prosequi means and how it can affect a criminal case.
The team at Jeremy Widder Law has years of experience working with clients who have been charged with offenses ranging from DUI to murder. We will listen to your story and help you decide on a favorable outcome and then work towards it.
Contact us today if you’ve been charged with a criminal offense.