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Can a criminal defendant in Upper Marlboro get charges dropped?


This past month local media outlets have been reporting on criminal charges brought against a local political candidate. Michael Hethmon, a 60-year-old Republican from Upper Marlboro, had his career put in jeopardy when he was charged with child molestation. His criminal defense team immediately denied the charges, but the implications were damning.

On October 2, however, the charges were suddenly dropped. According to reports, Hethmon had hired a woman to help him care for his elderly father. This woman then accused Hethmon of inappropriately touching her daughter, who she brought by his residence. The woman, however, had previously been caught making other false accusations as Hethmon came out publicly stating that it was an extortion plot all along.

With a political career seemingly salvaged, the case brings up an interesting question of how criminal cases are dropped in the first place. While many may be concerned that improper influence or power resulted in the dropped charges, the truth is anyone can get the same fair shot.

If charges are built on nothing more than an unfounded allegation by a notorious scam artist, there is a good chance of getting charges dismissed. Charges may also get dismissed based on misconduct by police or a misinterpretation of the law by the state. While getting criminal charges dismissed is not always a possibility, the right criminal defense approach can help anyone unjustly charged with a crime end the ordeal in an efficient manner. Alternately, the right approach may result in reduced penalties in the event the prosecution or court requires a case to move forward.

Source: Gazette.net, "Sex offense charges dropped against Dist. 23B candidate," Kirstin Peterson, October 9, 2104

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