What is the Difference Between a Dismissal and a Retirement?

I am often asked what is the difference between a retirement and a dismissal? In short, the short term looks a lot different between these two things, but the long term looks the same.

What is a Dismissal?
A dismissal is exactly what it sounds like; the State dismisses the charge against you. In Murfreesboro criminal cases, for General Sessions and Circuit Court, the District Attorney may decide to dismiss charges for a number of reasons. A dismissal means that the State has decided not to pursue charges against you and will end the case at that time.

What is a Retirement?
A retirement is best described as a delay with a dismissal at the end. A retirement means that the case will be continued, which means we will pick a new court date in the future, for a certain period of time. After that period, if you have complied with certain requirements, then the case will be dismissed (see dismissal definition above).

What is the Difference Between a Dismissal and a Retirement?
The difference between a dismissal and a retirement is what happens in the short term during the first six months to a year after your court date. Under a dismissal, there is no immediate actions that you need to take. Under a retirement, you may be required to perform certain tasks or conditions.

If a case is dismissed, it is over, which means that you have no restrictions on your behavior and no conditions you have to complete. In the short term, you are free to act however you wish, just as you were prior to being arrested and/or charged. In the long term, your case is dismissed and expunged from your record.

If a case is retired, then the case is not over. Instead, you have a new court date, likely one year away, and you have a signed agreement that you will complete certain conditions during that year. If, and only if, you complete those conditions, then the case will be dismissed. In the long term, like a dismissal, your case is dismissed and expunged from your record.

As always, if you have questions about Murfreesboro criminal cases, consult a Murfreesboro criminal defense lawyer about your case.

Murfreesboro Crime: Will Resetting My First Court Date Hurt My Case?

I am often asked will it hurt my case if I reset my first court date? The answer is almost always no.

In Rutherford County General Sessions Court, the first court date is often called the Initial Appearance. At an Initial Appearance, you will have several choices. One of those choices is to ask for a reset to hire a lawyer. Of course, you can try and settle your case that day or try to move your case to another court date, but a few options involve resetting your case to another day: asking for time to a hire a lawyer; or asking to have a public defender appointed for you.

In General Sessions Court in Murfreesboro and Smyrna, each side typically gets the right to one reset. By that, I mean that any defendant can ask the court to reset the case at least one time for any reason. Similarly, the State can ask the court to reset the case one time for any reason. The court allows these requests equally.

In a typical criminal case in Rutherford County, the case is reset several times. The defendant may request a reset to hire a lawyer, to prepare for his defense, or to allow time to do a number of things. The State may request a reset to subpoena a witness, to allow the arresting officer to appear, or to allow the State to prepare evidence.

In short, asking for a reset on your first court date is unlikely to hurt your case. Asking for a reset is a very common occurrence at a first court date. The judge is used to people asking for a reset and the State is used to it as well.

Of course, if you ever have concerns about whether a reset will affect your specific case, it is wise to consult with a criminal defense lawyer who is experienced in your area. My office is happy to help in criminal cases in Murfreesboro, Smyrna, and all of Rutherford County.