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Criminal Law Blog

Possible Outcomes of A Criminal Case

March 24, 2023

If you have been accused of a crime, you may be feeling extremely overwhelmed and stressed—especially when it comes to the results of your case. What could happen? Will you be convicted? What type of sentence will you get? These are all valid concerns, and it’s normal to be apprehensive about the outcome of your case. However, an accusation isn’t an automatic conviction. There are many potential outcomes to legal cases, with some being more advantageous than others. Working with an experienced attorney like Janet Altschuler can help ensure that your rights are fully protected throughout the process.

Possible Outcomes of a Criminal Case in Arizona


A dismissal is often considered to be the ideal outcome. If a dismissal occurs, it means that the charges against you will be dropped, and you will be free. You may be able to get your case dismissed if there is not enough evidence to prove that you committed the crime, or if there are not enough witnesses. This decision could be made by the judge, or you could get a dismissal as part of a plea agreement.

Nolle Prosequi

Also called nolle prosse, a nolle prosequi means that a case is dismissed without prejudice. This differs from a dismissal in that the case could still be brought up again later. This could occur if the prosecution does not have enough evidence, but could get more in the future. The victim may also decide to not move forward with the case. If a nolle prosequi occurs, there is a specific amount of time in which the charges can be brought up again and will depend on the severity of the crime.

Not Guilty

If a defendant is found not guilty, it means that their guilt could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The defendant cannot be charged with that particular crime again if they receive a not guilty verdict.

General Continuance

General continuance means that the defendant may be technically guilty, but there are enough mitigating factors that the judge allows a general continuance of a criminal case. The case may continue for a period, with certain conditions for the case to be dismissed. This can happen only if the defendant has no prior convictions.

Deferred Finding

Certain offenses have provisions that can result in a deferred finding. This outcome is like general continuance with one key difference. When a defendant winds up with a general continuance, it is possible for the crime to be expunged from their record. With a deferred finding, the criminal charge may never be struck from your record if the judge finds there isn’t enough evidence to convict.

Plea Agreement

A plea agreement occurs when the defendant and the prosecution come to an agreement. The defendant will plead guilty, usually to a lesser charge in exchange for reduced sentencing. A plea agreement includes the imposed sentence, and the judge can accept or deny. In a plea and recommendation, the prosecution can recommend a sentence, but the final decision is up to the judge.


A defendant can be found guilty if it has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that they committed a crime. After the verdict, the judge will select a sentence. Possible sentences can include: 

  • Prison or jail time
  • Probation
  • Fines
  • Community service
  • Home electronic monitoring

How a Criminal Attorney in Tucson Can Help

Navigating the criminal justice system without the right guidance can be a daunting task. Working with an experienced attorney like Janet Altschuler can help ensure that your rights are fully protected throughout the entire process.

Janet has over 20 years of experience in criminal law. She will work closely with you to understand the specifics of your case and craft the best defense strategy. She will be able to advise you on the best way to approach your case and work with the prosecution to get you the best possible outcome.

Contact Janet Altschuler Today

No matter what crime you have been accused of, you will need aggressive representation to help you defend yourself. Janet Altschuler is a Tucson criminal defense attorney who can provide the professional guidance and legal advice you need. Contact our office today for a free consultation to discuss your case.

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