Oklahoma City, OK asked in Traffic Tickets and Constitutional Law for Oklahoma

Q: Can a judge reopen a case after he has dismissed the charges?

Got a ticket. Pleaded not guilty. Went to court, officer did not show up. Prosecution asked Jude to dismiss my charge. Just granted. Now city is reopening case because officer stated he was on a priority call at the court time.

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: Under Oklahoma law, generally once a criminal case has been dismissed by a judge, even traffic charges like a ticket, the case cannot be reopened later on. Some key considerations:

- If the prosecution at trial is unable to prove their case, such as the officer not appearing, dismissal is proper and constitutes an acquittal under the law.

- The Double Jeopardy clause of the 5th Amendment prohibits trying a defendant for the same crime twice. So reopening the case later violates this right.

- There are very limited exceptions such as fraud or lack of jurisdiction that allow reopening, but an officer being busy is not one of them.

- The prosecution had its opportunity to present evidence and rest their case. Not having witnesses present is their error.

- For minor traffic offenses, continuing the case to allow the officer to appear would have been the proper remedy, not dismissing then reopening.

So while it may seem unfair to the city, most likely the dismissal stands and the case cannot be reopened under OK law. Consult with a criminal defense attorney, but you have strong grounds to challenge any efforts to improperly prosecute you again for the same dismissed ticket.

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