What Does Dismissed with Prejudice Mean?

What Does the Term “Prejudice” Legally Mean?

First, when used legally, the term “prejudice” is not even similar to its everyday usage. In an average, simple conversation, prejudice could involve racism or preconceived opinions or judgments about any topic. However, in a court case, if your case is dismissed with “prejudice,” it states irrevocably and finally that the judge has made what’s deemed to be a final decision on your case.

Essentially, if your case is dismissed “with prejudice” (in a civil or criminal case), this legally means that the court’s decision is final and your case is at an end. If it is dismissed “without prejudice,” legally translated, it means that, although it’s currently dismissed, the case may be open to future inquiry and possibly retrial.

So, in most cases, having your case dismissed with prejudice is ultimately in your best interests; it’s permanently rejected and can’t be retried later.

However, the law is never simple, and that’s why no civil (or primarily criminal case) should be entered into without professional, experienced legal guidance. On the surface, having your case dismissed “without prejudice” may seem like the Californian court is leaving you open to being tried again or “double jeopardy.”

“Double jeopardy” refers to being tried twice for the same crime, which the Constitution expressly prohibits.

So, the ruling of your crime being dismissed without prejudice and then brought up on the exact charges again might typically seem like double jeopardy, but it’s not.

A dismissal of your case, with or without prejudice, would occur before your actual trial. So, legally speaking, you haven’t been tried at all, and if your case is filed again and moves forward, it’s your first time.

The critical thing to remember is that you would have to go entirely through your trial (ending with a conviction, acquittal, or dismissal) for the rule of “double jeopardy” to apply.

My Criminal Case Was Dismissed With Prejudice; How Am I Legally Affected?

If your civil or criminal case is dismissed “with prejudice,” it’s a good thing and would work in your best interests.

Especially in any criminal proceedings, dismissing your case with prejudice is much more desirable for you, as the defendant and your experienced and aggressive criminal defense lawyer would commonly agree and work towards that goal.

If your lawyer gets your criminal case dismissed with prejudice, the state prosecutor is wholly stopped from reopening your case and filing new charges.

Your dismissal (before you even go to trial) permanently ends your case, which works in your favor.

If your case is dismissed with prejudice, the state prosecutor usually only opens your case again by appealing the dismissal ruling to a higher court.

It’s critical to note that if your knowledgeable and skilled San Diego criminal defense lawyer gets your case dismissed with prejudice, this action occurs before you go through any arduous and stressful trial process.

One of the leading causes for your case to be dismissed with prejudice is that significant legal errors were made during your arrest or elsewhere in the proceedings. These errors often involve your constitutional rights and commonly can never be mitigated.

The second most common reason is that, as the defendant, you enter and complete a California diversion program and, therefore, avoid prosecution.

So, in any criminal case, getting your case dismissed with prejudice can make a significant and positive difference to the outcome of your case, and another critical reason to get the professional guidance and legal advice of a skilled San Diego criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. 

What Are The Legal Reasons My Case May be Dismissed with Prejudice?

If you’re brought up on criminal charges, it’s an enormously stressful and dire time for you and your family. So, if your thorough and detailed San Diego criminal defense lawyer can get your case dismissed prior to trial, and with prejudice, it will be an enormous victory and relief.

But why would the state prosecutor allow it? There are numerous reasons, and each case is unique in its details and circumstances.

The state prosecutor may first attempt to request a dismissal without prejudice. Let’s say they don’t have “their ducks in a row” yet and do this so they can refile charges against you in the future.

Legally speaking, your case being dismissed without prejudice is only a temporary fix and significantly less favorable for you.  At times, the Californian court could dismiss a case without prejudice; this may occur when there is a legal issue that the state prosecutor must first address.

This may be commonly done because the prosecutor wants additional time to pursue leads to gather new and more substantial evidence or buy them time. The state could also request dismissal without prejudice so they can investigate other charges they can make against you.

Although not always followed up on, the state prosecutor’s dismissal without prejudice allows the prosecutor to refile charges, and there will be some.

The possibility of resolving criminal charges (before trial) and by dismissal with prejudice is one of the most significant reasons why professional and skilled criminal defense representation is mandatory.

Can My Lawyer Request My Case Be Dismissed With Prejudice?

The simple answer is yes, they can. Most of the time, if your criminal defense lawyer gets called in time and “gets ahead” of the prosecution, they will always look for legal means to request that this is done.

Most dismissals are made and requested by the defense attorney. The prosecutor has the right to request a dismissal with prejudice but commonly never will, as they can never reopen your case, so it’s a rare occurrence. It’s usually only done if the prosecution doesn’t have a strong chance and must do more research and gather evidence before going to court. However, it’s hardly ever good news if the state prosecutor requests a dismissal.

Additionally, when the legal specifics demand it, the judge will decide to dismiss the case without anyone’s request.

 If you’re charged with a crime and wish to pursue dismissal,  you must obtain the professional help of an experienced criminal defense attorney; this is the only way to ensure a solid, evidence-based case for dismissal with prejudice.

I Need Help Getting My Case Dismissed With Prejudice; What Should I Do?

First, you must obtain the professional, skilled legal guidance of an aggressive San Diego criminal defense law team as soon as possible. This type of motion and defense must be initiated as quickly as possible before the state prosecution can move forward.

Your criminal defense lawyer will analyze all the facts and charges and come to a rapid determination if your case has the merits to be dismissed with prejudice. If valid legal reasons exist, your lawyer immediately files the motion to dismiss and aggressively follows that path.

The San Diego-based criminal defense lawyers at Kersey Law have a winning history of working tirelessly to fight for your rights and your freedom. Call them today at (619) 432-3712 and request a free consultation. They stand ready to fully protect your rights and stay by your side every step of the way.

Leave a Comment

Recent Legal Insights


Join Us on YouTube

Call Us 619-329-8385

Your Defense Starts with One Call

Don’t face criminal charges alone—Kersey Law is here to safeguard your rights. With a proven track record of reducing or dismissing charges, we’re committed to keeping your record clean.

Scroll to Top