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Possible Outcomes If You Are Arrested

If you are arrested, it can be a frightening experience. Whether you are guilty or innocent, the experience can be stressful, time-consuming, and potentially life-changing. When you are arrested, it is crucial to understand your rights and what could happen next. The potential outcomes of an arrest can vary depending on the circumstances of the arrest, the charges against you, and other factors.

Some of the possible outcomes if arrested are you may have to deal with legal fees, potential jail time, court appearances, and a criminal record that could follow you for years. In this article, we will explore the possible outcomes of being arrested and what you can expect if you find yourself in this unfortunate situation.

Dismissal or Nolle Prosequi

criminal defense arrest by police

Dismissal, also known as nolle prosequi, is a decision made by the prosecutor where they choose not to pursue the charges against the defendant. This would be a good outcome if arrested.

A dismissal of all charges can be based on various factors, such as insufficient evidence, the relative unimportance of violation, or the unlikeliness of a conviction. In cases where the evidence is weak, the prosecutor may choose to dismiss the case to avoid a loss in court.

Your defense attorney can also request dismissal on your behalf, especially if they believe that the prosecution’s case is weak. A dismissal is not an admission of guilt, and the defendant is usually free from the charges.

Sometimes the charges are dismissed because a plea agreement has been reached between the prosecuting attorney’s office and the defendant (the accused). A plea agreement is generally a deal where the defendant agrees to plead guilty to lesser charges instead of the original charges in exchange for a reduced sentence. A good defense attorney may be able to negotiate a plea deal, so the original charges are dropped and your penalties are less consequential.


An acquittal is another outcome if arrested that is a good outcome.  An acquittal is a finding by a judge or jury that a defendant is not guilty of the crime charged after a trial has been conducted. Note that an acquittal does necessarily not mean that the defendant is innocent in a criminal case. It is a legal outcome of a criminal trial where the defendant has been cleared of all accusations, charges, and any criminal responsibility.

It is the responsibility of the prosecution to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the alleged crime. If the jury or judge finds that there is insufficient evidence to support the charges or that the evidence presented does not prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, an acquittal is issued.

Not Guilty

Not guilty in criminal law means that a defendant has been proven innocent of the charges filed against them. This is also a good outcome if arrested. Not guilty means that a defendant is not legally answerable for the charge filed against them. Like an acquittal, it is a verdict reached by a judge or jury after a trial where the prosecutor has not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. A not-guilty verdict is final and cannot be appealed or challenged later.


The worst possible outcome if arrested is a conviction. Conviction is the decision made by a judge or jury declaring the accused guilty of a criminal offense. In this instance, the prosecution has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the offense. It means that the judge or jury has found the evidence to be sufficient and convincing to deem the defendant guilty of the crime. The court will then sentence the convicted defendant to its punishment, which can be jail time, fines, or additional penalties. A conviction is the final judgment of the case but can be appealed.

Possible Penalties if Convicted

If found guilty of a crime, you may face a variety of penalties depending on the severity of the offense. If the crime is a misdemeanor, you may only have to pay fines or perform community service. However, if the crime is a felony, the penalties can be much more severe. For example, you may have to serve time in prison and/or pay large fines.

Also being convicted of a crime leaves you with a criminal record that could affect your future job prospects, housing opportunities, and relationships. It is important to remember that the consequences of a conviction can be long-lasting and may impact your life in many ways.

Contact a North Carolina Criminal Defense Lawyer

Being arrested can be a traumatic experience, and the potential penalties if convicted can leave you worried sick. If you have been arrested or charged with a crime, it is in your best interest to contact a North Carolina criminal defense attorney, like Dewey P. Brinkley. Mr. Brinkley has extensive experience in criminal defense cases, and he can outline all of your legal options. If you are arrested, do not talk with the police until your attorney is with you.

An experienced criminal defense attorney is your best bet against a criminal conviction. Mr. Brinkley will work rigorously to get you the best possible outcome in your case. He will protect your rights.

Contact the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley at (919) 832-0307