In some cases, a defense lawyer may be able to get your case dismissed before trial. For example, I won the dismissal of a felony child abuse case by proving that the prosecutor inserted false information into the complaint; I won the dismissal of three different felony sexual assault cases by demonstrating that the complaints were too vague to satisfy my clients’ due process rights; I won the dismissal of two drug cases by proving that the police obtained the evidence in violation of the Fourth Amendment; and I won the dismissal of a fraud case and a computer crime case by demonstrating that the complaints failed the "probable cause" standard.
Most cases resolve by plea bargain, which can include the dismissal or reduction of charges. For example, in one felony case I negotiated the dismissal of a “solicitation to commit murder” charge, and a felony sex charge, in exchange for the client’s plea to a single, unrelated misdemeanor resulting in a fine. For other clients I have negotiated the dismissal of entire cases in exchange for non-criminal ordinance tickets. In many cases, including several domestic violence cases, I have demonstrated to the prosecutor that the accuser's allegations were false and convinced the prosecutor to dismiss all charges outright.
However, even though most cases resolve by plea bargain, the best plea bargains are obtained when the prosecutor knows the defense lawyer is ready, willing, and able to go to jury trial. It is easy for a defense lawyer to advertise that he or she is “tough” or “aggressive,” but the proof can be found in the lawyer’s actual trial experience in criminal cases.
I have tried 32 criminal cases to juries as sole or lead counsel. The cases have ranged from simple misdemeanors to serious, multi-count felony trials. In 22 of those trials, the state has failed to convict on even a single count, or I obtained favorable outcomes that were better than the state's pretrial plea offer. Below are the details of those 22 trials, with the most recent listed first.
In addition to the above jury trials where I was sole or lead counsel, I have also been "second chair" in four trials that included intentional homicide, sex-related crimes, and drug-related crimes.
Keep in mind, however, that every case is different and every client is unique. Just because a lawyer has obtained a dismissal, a good plea bargain, or a good trial outcome in one case does not mean that he or she will be able to obtain the same results in your case.