What is a No Bill?
If you have pending criminal charges against you, it may seem strange if, while waiting for an indictment, you receive a “no bill.” The legal definition of this term involves the grand jury noting that there was not enough evidence to indict you on alleged crimes, or the prosecution determining the same and not pursuing your case any further. Why does a jury or state prosecutor choose to do this? There’s little to no way of finding that out, but there are a few methods to influence the prosecution’s decision to accept this finding.
The Process of Filing Criminal Charges
After an incident happens, a police officer types up a report and gives that to the state attorney’s office. When the prosecutor gets your file, he or she reviews it to determine what, if any, charges should be filed against you. If after reading the police report and it’s determined by the prosecutor that no charges can be proven or that the charge is not likely to be proven, the prosecutor may file what’s called a “No Information Notice,” or a “No Bill.”
A “No Bill” is a formal document that’s filed with the court that lets the defendant, the defendant’s attorney, the judge, and the clerk know that the prosecutor will not be seeking formal charges against the defendant. It doesn’t mean, however, that charges can’t be filed at a later date.
Example of a No Bill
An instance of when a “No Bill” may occur is after a lawyer discusses the case before the trial begins with the prosecutor. There are times when a lawyer will put together the defense of the case along with testimonies and witnesses and basically tell the prosecutor how the trial is going to develop before it even happens.
If the defense seems strong enough, the prosecutor may not even proceed because of the inevitability that the case will more than likely be dropped anyway. Keep in mind that the difference between a case being dropped and a prosecutor taking it to trial can depend solely on whether you have public or private legal counsel.
Factors That Improve Your Chances for a “No Bill”
A major consideration for prosecutors is the workload of your legal counsel compared to theirs. If a prosecutor is attempting to handle 100 cases and your private attorney only has 20 cases, the private attorney will probably have more time to put together a strong defense compared to what the prosecution was going to come through with. Knowing this alone may be enough for the prosecutor to issue a “No Bill.”
However, if you have public legal representation in the form of a public defender, the prosecutor may favor their chances of winning the case at trial as public defenders commonly have massive caseloads.
Effects of a No Bill on Your Record
While a “no bill” shows there wasn’t sufficient evidence to allow prosecution of charges, it doesn’t mean the arrest on your record or crimes you faced will go away too. This information will show up on a background check for jobs, housing, and other situations that require your legal history. This discovery could lead to uncomfortable questioning or possible lost opportunities as a result.
To avoid this embarrassment, it’s vital to speak with a knowledgeable Orlando attorney about your situation and find out if you qualify for expungement of your arrest record.
Orlando Criminal Defense Lawyers
No matter the criminal charges you’re facing, having private legal counsel has its many advantages. The Orlando criminal defense lawyers at The Umansky Law Firm have more than 100 years of combined experience. Our team has handled a wide range of criminal charges and has helped the accused reach a favorable conclusion to their case.
As members of the Florida Association of Criminal Lawyers, we dedicate ourselves to building the best defense possible to protect your future and rights. If you’re up against criminal charges, contact us online or by phone for a free case evaluation. Our attorneys can discuss your defense options and even the possibility of having your record sealed or expunged after the charges are dropped.